EATONVILLE, Wash. (KOMO) - An off duty volunteer firefighter was the first one on the scene of a blaze in downtown Eatonville Sunday night.
Lucas Mayne was enjoying a perfect evening after a trip aboard the Polar Express in South Pierce County where his life changed forever.
“Everything went perfectly, she said yes,” saidMayne, a resident volunteer firefighter with South Pierce Fire and Rescue, who proposed to his now fiancé, Summer Holst, aboard the train.
Little did the couple know about the adventure Mayne’s proposal would turn into while driving home thought downtown Eatonville.
“We saw flames just starting to roll out the front window on the right hand side of the building as we were approaching it,” said Mayne.
So the 26-year-old volunteer firefighter jumped into action when he saw the fire burning at the liquor store on Mashell Avenue.
“We both looked at each other and said, Station 84 is right there, we don’t see the lights on and no movement,” said Mayne.
South Pierce Fire and Rescue’s Station 84 was just a few blocks away from fire. But, budget constraints combined with staffing issues meant doors were closed and locked up tight
That didn’t stop Mayne from grabbing a fire truck at the station –all by himself – and being the first firefighter to respond to the fire.
“I’m really glad he was here and that his fiancée was so understanding about the circumstances,” said Chief Lloyd Galey with South Pierce Fire and Rescue.
Chief Galey acknowledges it’s dangerous to send one firefighter on an engine to a fire, but said his 26-person department needs more volunteers to safely cover their 140-mile coverage area that includes 25,000 people.
“There are times when the calls come in right on top of each other and they tax our resources,” said Chief Galey.
He added that volunteer firefighters are fading away nationally and at the local level. But he’s looking to reignite the passion that's found in volunteers like Mayne.
“The biggest thing would be support, hopefully we get a few new members,” said Mayne.