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Bellingham firefighter called a ‘mayday,’ but it’s not clear why

Bellingham Fire crews are shown at the Christmas Day fire in the Rowan Grove Apartments on 20th Street in the Happy Valley neighborhood of Bellingham.
Bellingham Fire crews are shown at the Christmas Day fire in the Rowan Grove Apartments on 20th Street in the Happy Valley neighborhood of Bellingham. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A Bellingham firefighter apparently wasn’t seriously injured after calling a “mayday” in a Christmas Day fire at an apartment complex in the Happy Valley neighborhood, according to fire officials and emergency radio broadcasts.

Fire was reported about 12:25 p.m. Monday at the Rowan Grove Apartments, 925 20th Street. After the first-alarm units arrived, two additional engine companies were dispatched, followed by a request for a full second alarm.

It wasn’t immediately clear what happened to prompt the mayday call, which occurred about seven minutes into offensive firefighting operations. Fire was brought under control and the second alarm was canceled about 12:45 p.m.

The injured firefighter was rescued and received medical aid at the scene.

Bellingham Fire officials weren’t available to comment Tuesday, but officials tweeted Monday there were no injuries in the fire, which damaged a vacant unit whose residents weren’t home.

Mayday, mayday. Need a crew to assist. That was Engine 2.

Bellingham Fire dispatcher

“Fire out, cause remains under investigation. Occupants out of the area for the holidays. No injuries,” the tweets said.

No damage estimate was available.

Broadcastify, an online service that transmits and archives police and fire dispatches, recorded dispatchers and firefighters discussing the Christmas Day incident, but the mayday call itself was not available on the recording archived by Broadcastify.

The exterior of the building was scorched and burned above a dumpster labeled “cardboard only.”

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty\

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