Crew saves dummies from drowning in Federal Way

Residents along North Lake in eastern Federal Way were buzzing about a drowning this week.

This file photo shows South King Fire and Rescue's water rescue team training at Steel Lake.

Residents along North Lake in eastern Federal Way were buzzing about a drowning this week.

About 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jerry Graham and his son James spotted rescue workers pulling a body from the lake. They watched the action through binoculars from about 150 yards away.

The body, it turns out, was a dummy — one of four dummies used in a training drill by South King Fire and Rescue’s water rescue team.

Graham’s family has lived on North Lake, near the Weyerhaeuser campus, since 1927. No drownings have been reported in that time. Other members of the North Lake Improvement Club were initially shaken by what Graham witnessed.

“It was not a good feeling when I thought someone passed away,” Graham said, adding that a notification about the rescue team’s drill may have prevented the confusion. “I’m really, really happy to hear it was training.”

The water rescue team practices throughout the Federal Way area, including North Lake, Five Mile Lake, Steel Lake and the Redondo area.

“Now’s the time of year when we get more people on the lakes,” said assistant chief Gordie Olson, noting that the unit is a surface water rescue team, not a dive team.

And what about the four dummies pulled from North Lake?

“They all survived,” Olson said.


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