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Sheriff fights fire

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Okanogan County sheriff’s officials pulled double duty this week when they saved a home from the by Buffalo Lake Road Fire near Elmer City. The home belonged to the parents of Undersheriff Joe Somday.

Sheriff Frank Rogers and Sgt. Kevin Arnold were on duty and monitoring the fire’s progress from a spot along Peter Dan Road on Wednesday when the wind picked up and started pushing the flames toward houses. They knew that Somday’s parents’ home along Highway 155 was in that area, so they went to see if they were OK.

“The fire was moving so fast it got there (to Mike and Maria Somday’s house) before we did,” Rogers said.

The flames were about 30 feet from the house when Rogers and Arnold picked up garden hoses and began sprayed down the shrubs and trees in their yard. They were able to hold the fire back until a fire truck arrived.

“The firefighers were still trying to get their trucks in there and they had called for an air drop on the house,” Rogers said. “We got Joe’s parents in their car and told them to drive to Elmer City. We told them we’d save their house for them.”

Rogers added, “Godalmighty, it was intense. The fire was just going from one house to the next. I have to give a lot of credit to the firefighters. They saved every one of those houses.” Rogers said Arnold singed the hair on his knuckles. “We were so close to the fire,” he added.

A camera crew for KREM television in Spokane captured footage of the officers in action.

Rogers said his officers were called in similar fire duty in 2003, when fire burned up a hillside above Okanogan County and burned homes.