Washington DNR replaces Malden fire truck that was destroyed in wildfires
MALDEN, Wash. — Christmas came early this year for the small town of Malden.
On Thursday, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz drove to the Eastern Washington town to deliver a new fire engine. The community’s only fire truck was lost when the town was devastated by Labor Day wildfires. The Babb Road Fire burned around 80 percent of the town.
“It takes my breath away to know that an entire town can be destroyed in just a matter of minutes – before anyone can even get to a fire engine and before residents could grab personal items or a change of clothes,” Commissioner Franz said. “I’m honored to be in a position to lend help, to give this community the support they still need. While this engine is a small step in the enormous task of rebuilding Malden, it’s absolutely essential to be able to protect what is rebuilt.”
Commissioner Franz drove the engine into Malden and handed the keys over to Mayor Dan Harwood near the fire station’s former site.
“A Christmas fire truck? Not many kids actually get that. I’m back being 12 years old again,” Mayor Harwood said. “For the kids and families that lost homes, it’s going to be a different Christmas. So on behalf of the town of Malden, I want to thank you. You made a promise, and you delivered.”
Commissioner Franz also called on the federal government to follow through on aid for the town, which has not been appropriated three months after the wildfire.
Gov. Jay Inslee declared a major disaster in the wake of September’s wildfires, which freed up millions in federal aid for temporary housing, cleanup efforts, and replacement infrastructure among other things. Despite aid being granted for California and Oregon, no such aid has been approved for Washington.