Deck Watch: Coast Guardsman saves lives on and off duty in Alaska


Ken Lawrenson, a volunteer firefighter with Capital City Fire/Rescue as well as a fishing vessel safety coordinator for the 17th Coast Guard District, stands in his response gear Jan. 9, 2010, in Juneau, Alaska. Lawreson was one of many firefighters to respond to the Gastineau Apartemnts fire in Juneau Nov. 5, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Walter Shinn.

In this week’s Deck Watch, Ken Lawrenson, the Coast Guard 17th District commercial fishing vessel safety coordinator and a volunteer firefighter with Juneau’s Capital City Fire/Rescue, describes his response to the largest fire of his career at the Gastineau Apartments in downtown Juneau, Alaska. To listen to the interview, click here.

In other Coast Guard news:

Nov. 3 – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, welcomed Laura Rokey, a former Coast Guard SPAR, and her family aboard the ship in Petersburg, Alaska, Saturday. The women who served in the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve in the 1940s were nicknamed SPARs for embodying the Coast Guard’s motto Semper Paratus, Always Ready; the cutter SPAR is named in their honor.  Rokey served in the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve for three years in the early 1940s. She discussed her time in the service with the crew and toured the ship. Rokey, now 94, was one of more than 11,000 women to serve in the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve during World War II.

Nov. 4 – The Coast Guard rescued two men and their dog from two 39-foot vessels lashed together in Gem Cove 23 miles east of Ketchikan Sunday. The two men were taken to Herring Bay and transferred safely to emergency medical services by a Station Ketchikan 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew after one of the men reportedly began exhibiting heart attack symptoms. The Coast Guard was initially notified of the case by the Canadian command center in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The men aboard the vessels had reported that they were taking on water in Gem Cove. The Coast Guard launched a Station Ketchikan MLB to respond but the crew was unable to come alongside due to on scene conditions and shallow water depth. The Station Ketchikan RBS crew was sent to assist. The RBS was able to get alongside the vessels and transfer to two people and their dog to safety. Weather on scene was reportedly 35 mph winds with gusts to 58 mph and 3-foot seas.

Nov. 5 – Coast Guard personnel assisted Capital City Fire/Rescue fight a fire at the Gastineau Apartments in downtown Juneau Monday. The fire, which caused no reported civilian injuries or deaths, allegedly started at the Gastineau Apartments Monday evening and burned for several hours before being extinguished. At approximately 8 p.m. Monday, Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders received a request for assistance from Capital City Fire/Rescue. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka launched and transported six Sitka-based firefighters to Juneau Monday night to help fight the fire. Additionally, Ken Lawrenson, the Coast Guard 17th District commercial fishing vessel safety coordinator and a volunteer firefighter, responded to the fire shortly after completing his Coast Guard workday and remained on scene until approximately 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, when he was relieved by other firefighters. The Juneau area Coast Guard Enlisted Association and the Chief Petty Officers Association plan to make a financial donation to the Red Cross to help those affected by the fire.

Tags: , , ,