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August 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM
The Seattle Fire Department is reviewing water-rescue training protocols and is considering adding rescue swimmers to some engine companies following the death of a 27-year-old Washington State University student whose drowning in a downtown Seattle hotel swimming pool last month went undiscovered by a fire crew.
Tesfaye Girma Deboch apparently foundered in the pool’s deep end and submerged. Officials believe his body was held underwater by a drain pump whose emergency shutoff failed.
Earlier reports said that the water was so cloudy that firefighters could not see the drain at the bottom of the deep end of the 25-foot-long pool. However, a Fire Department report says that, while the water was hazy, the crew reported that “visibility was good” and that firefighters could see the drain, although no victim was seen. The crew decided not to put anyone in the pool, and a water-rescue and dive team dispatched from the Sodo District was canceled.
As an explanation, the report cites a 2007 study showing that lifeguards can have difficulties spotting submerged victims even when the bottom of the pool is visible. Chief Gregory Dean said the Fire Department will look into training some engine company members as rescue swimmers, review its water-rescue protocols and provide additional search-and-rescue training.
Deboch was one of 14 graduate students from WSU’s School of Economic Sciences who were in Seattle June 30 to attend the Western Economics Association International Conference. He and friends went swimming at the end of the day, and he disappeared below the surface. Firefighters were first dispatched at 5:35 p.m. but were unable to locate anyone in the pool. According to the report, the crews cleared from the scene after 17 minutes.
An autopsy indicated Deboch drowned.
The crews were dispatched again at 8:12 p.m. when a retired firefighter who was staying at the hotel joined in the ongoing search by Deboch’s frantic friends and found the body in the water using a pole. The report says firefighters found the water much hazier during their second response.
Dean said crews will likely receive updated training on underwater rescues in pools and close to shore — along with training about the difficulties of underwater searches. The report concluded that the “crew did not understand how challenging it is to see a submerged victim even when it appears that the bottom of the pool is plainly visible.”
June 25, 2013 at 6:51 AM
Bullet pierces a Seattle hotel room wall. A big bang gave the willies to a family spending Monday night at a hotel in South Lake Union, especially when the father found a bullet next to his daughter’s bed the next morning. Turns out a teen in an adjacent room had a gun, it went off and the bullet went through the wall where the family was staying. Policed talked to some of the teens who had been in the room, but the gun-toting teen already had taken off, police said. Whoa, this could have been much worse.
So long Redskins: You can only applaud the Port Townsend School Board decision last night to drop “Redskins” as a team name and mascot for their high school.
Another 8-year-old boy drowned last weekend: The boy drowned in the White River at a campground in Mount Rainier National Park. Ahmad Asiri, from Saudi Arabia, was visiting the Seattle area with his family when he fell off a log into the water, The News Tribune reports. An 8-year-0ld boy drowned Saturday in Lake Roesiger in Snohomish County while swimming to a platform. His identity hasn’t been released as yet.
Hate your job, do you? KING5 this morning recalled the results of a Gallup poll released last week that said most folks don’t like their jobs. Duh? How about you? Do you like your job? Vote in our poll.
Weather: In a word – showers, showers, showers. National Weather Service forecast
Most-read stories on seattletimes.com:
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Memo light: Between Friends | By Sandra Bell-Lundy
Nick Provenza: 206-464-2142 or firstname.lastname@example.org
November 30, 2012 at 5:32 AM
The Associated Press
Three police officers fought with three suspects early Friday at a motel in Edmonds.
KIRO-TV reports the officers had responded to a report of a trespasser about 1:30 a.m.
They found three men in a stairwell who became violent. One dropped drugs during the fight.
Officers arrested one man at the scene and used a helicopter and search dog to find the two other men hiding in bushes.
Two of the suspects were treated for minor injuries and all three were jailed for investigation of drug and assault charges.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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