Volunteer operates fire station out of his house
'Station 96' responded to its first structure fire last month since it opened in 2008
By Emily Gillespie
BEAR PRAIRIE, Wash. — Pulling up to a blue, one-story residence in rural Bear Prairie, firefighter Frank Billington is met by a Little Tikes plastic car in the yard, a basketball hoop in the driveway and a burly golden Labrador-retriever mix wagging its tail as it approaches. Opening the door to his vehicle, Billington said: "Welcome to Station 96."
It's not your typical fire station. There aren't garage bays filled with 40-foot-long red firetrucks. There isn't a large sign and an American flag standing outside. And, Billington said, "There's no fire pole. One of the first questions I get is, 'Do you have a fire pole in your house?'"
Billington, a 40-year-old man with jet-black hair, is a resident firefighter with East County Fire & Rescue. He lives with his wife, Wendi, and five of their six children at the agency's Bear Prairie Fire Station -- which is really a house. The firefighters call it "Fort Billington."