Calls for service surged in the summer

PENDLETON – Fire Chief Jim Critchley says calls for service dropped dramatically in March and April, probably due to people hesitating to go to hospitals for fear of exposure to the novel coronavirus. That didn’t last long.

“As soon as that got over with, we started picking up speed,” he said. “We had one of the busiest July, August, and September that we’ve ever had.”

Pendleton Fire & Ambulance averages about 3,000 calls for service a year, and Critchley said that about 80 percent of those are for medical issues. For July, August, and September they were receiving 300 to 400 calls a month.

“For the department that we have here, that will rival the call load that many metropolitan cities have,” Critchley said.