The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has fined Pullman $2,700 for safety violations that occurred during the city’s efforts to rescue people from the April 9 flood on Grand Avenue.
According to a statement from the Pullman Fire Department, the city’s finance department has paid the fines after the city determined it would not appeal.
On April 9, heavy rain caused the Missouri Flat Creek along Grand Avenue to overflow, trapping people at businesses along the busy roadway. As first responders worked to rescue 22 people from the flood, they used a front-end loader to reach people in the three-feet deep floodwaters and relocate them to safety.
There were no injuries during the flash flood. Among the 22 people rescued that night were an infant and a person with a diabetic emergency.
According to the fire department’s statement, the first Labor and Industries violation, which carried a $900 penalty, was for a fire department commander allowing a maintenance employee to operate the front-end loader with three firefighters in the bucket at four locations.
The second $900 fine was handed down because the fire department had personnel in fire bunker gear and rubber boots while riding in the bucket of the loader without a personal flotation device or appropriate helmet.
The city was hit with a third $900 fine for not requiring the use of appropriate safety devices and safeguards, including allowing an employee to ride unsecured in the front bucket.
The flood heavily damaged businesses and forced them to close down. Mayor Glenn Johnson signed a declaration of emergency in response to the weather event.