Handmade Tunnel Near Everett Freeway Offramp Leads To Big Technical Rescue Response

July 15, 2021

Everett Fire, Police Blotter

The initial entrance was fairly small and covered with rocks.

Technical rescue crews from Everett and Snohomish County begin unpacking special equipment.

A device to measure air quality was lowered into the tunnel.

Chiefs from Everett Fire, Snohomish Fire and South County Fire discuss rescue plans.

Rescue Technicians are briefed by command staff.

Multiple agencies responded and worked together at the site.

WSDOT started with a small excavator.

Everett Public Works brought in a vacuum truck and large backhoe.

A crew from Seattle Fire brought up a special camera to view inside the tunnel.

A remote robot with mounted camera usually used in SWAT operations was also used to try and look into the tunnel.

A look at the tunnel about halfway through the operation.

Everett Public Works crews used a vacuum truck at the tunnel entrance to remove debris.

A larger backhoe is used as the tunnel was found to be longer than expected.

Items removed from the tunnel include a baseball bat, boots and skis.

After six hours crews were able to confirm the 45-foot long tunnel was clear.

Haz-Mat and Technical Rescue units from Everett Fire prepare to leave after a long day.

A three-alarm technical rescue brought every available trained technician in Snohomish County to the northbound I-5 offramp to Pacific Avenue in Everett, Washington Thursday morning.

Around 8:15 AM crews with WSDOT found recent activity in the dirt next to the offramp. They took a closer look and discovered what appeared to be a tunnel that may have collapsed. DOT workers Wednesday night had reported someone popping out of the bushes in that same spot.

Due to a concern over the possibility a person could be inside, a three-alarm response was started.

Agencies from throughout Snohomish County responded including Everett Fire, Snohomish Fire, South County Fire, Marysville Fire, Naval Station Everett, Paine Field Fire, Everett Police, Snohomish County Sheriff, Lake Stevens Police, Washington State Patrol and Burlington Northern Police among them.

In addition a crew from Seattle Fire responded with special video equipment. Everett Public Works assisted along with WSDOT crews with heavy equipment.

After six hours, rescue crews were able to safely access the entire tunnel and determine there was no one inside. The tunnel was about 45 feet long running alongside the freeway offramp.

Technical Rescue personnel used a very deliberate process to maintain safety. Multiple cameras and even a camera-equipped robot was used to try to safely explore the tunnel.

Nearby Burlington Northern train traffic was suspended during the operation.

Throughout the day several items were removed from the tunnel including shoes, clothes, a backpack, industrial face mask, a baseball bat and even a pair of skis.

There was no damage to the roadway and WSDOT crews were able to safely fill in the tunnel and reopen the off-ramp by 4 PM.

Here are a few photos taken throughout the day. Click to enlarge.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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