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Washington Fire Department celebrates first pancake day in new station

Union photo by Gretchen Teske

Karl Jones and Yale Jarvis stand together in the Washington Fire Station on Wednesday, Jan. 8. 2020 marked the 50th year the pair have been working together to serve the dinner and donned tuxedos for the celebration.
Union photo by Gretchen Teske Karl Jones and Yale Jarvis stand together in the Washington Fire Station on Wednesday, Jan. 8. 2020 marked the 50th year the pair have been working together to serve the dinner and donned tuxedos for the celebration.
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WASHINGTON — Yale Jarvis and Karl Jones were arguably the two best dressed during the Washington Fire Department’s annual pancake day on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

This year marked the 50th pancake day for the pair and in order to celebrate they donned tuxedos with red bow ties. Jarvis said he was not sure how the tradition got started but dressing up for pancake day was always in vogue.

“We always dressed up back here and I had an old tux so we thought we’d rent another and see if we could keep up with everybody,” he said.

Jarvis said he was on the fire department for 11 years before leaving to focus on law enforcement. Jones left to take over the ambulance service and is responsible for founding the quick responder system in the county.

Jarvis said this marks the third fire hall the pair have mixed batter and flipped flapjacks in. He said seeing the new one together and filling with people was something the be proud of.

“Really today we’re here for ceremonial reasons, but my heart has always been with any fire department,” he said.

The new fire station stands in place of the old one and is nearly triple the size. The 14,000 square foot building now has a meeting room, fitness room, gear room and added floor space for the departments trucks and equipment.

Packing the nearly 2,000 visitors the department has every year for the annual feed used to be a challenge, said firefighter Joe Redlinger, but in the new space there isn’t much of a problem at all. He said the department begins prepping about three days in advance and estimated they make more than 6,000 pancakes in one day.

“It was a trial and error how we were going to set it up, but we’re learning on the first one,” he said with a laugh.

He said between members of the department and volunteers in the community, 36 people come together to serve both in house and carry out orders. Although the meal was not officially served until 11 a.m., there was a line all the way around the inside of the building as hungry locals lined up.

“People look forward to it in Washington because when we have lines, they talk to people because they might not see them again for another year so they reunite with their friends in here,” he said.