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
The Columbian

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."

Full story: Volunteer firefighter operates out of a rural home in Bear Prairie 

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