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Ellensburg, WA 98926-2887
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Kittitas (pronounced 'KITT-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
Kittitas County, WA -
The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma from falls.
The body of Deputy Fire Chief Jay Schreckengost was transported home to Seattle today by members of the Seattle Fire Department in Fire Department vehicles. A forensic examination of the Chief ordered by the Kittitas County Coroner revealed numerous injuries including a broken wrist and broken spine. The autopsy concluded the cause of the Chief’s death was multiple blunt force trauma. Further investigation in the field led investigators to believe Chief Schreckengost fell down steep hillside or cliff faces more than once before coming to rest where he was found last Sunday.
It’s known there was snow on the ground when Chief Schreckengost went scouting for Elk on the morning of Tuesday, 11/2—creating slick conditions in that already rugged and dangerous terrain. The location where he was found was near the bottom of a sharp, broken slope about 700 feet in elevation, north-northeast from the end of spur rd 553 off Forest Service Rd 1703 in the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest near Cliffdell. It’s believed the Chief slipped or fell down a part of that slope into terrain where he could neither climb back up nor safely descend. Another fall brought him near the bottom of the slope and caused a fatal spinal fracture.
The area where the Chief came to rest was covered in thick brush and could not be safely navigated by searchers without technical climbing equipment and expertise. The team that located him on the afternoon of Sunday, 11/14, included members of Mountain Rescue Teams from Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and the Olympic and Central Mountain Rescue Teams. These teams of skilled and trained volunteers mountaineers searched miles of cliff bands in the search zone near the Chief’s last known location before finally locating him.
The Mountain Rescue Teams and other Search and Rescue volunteers were part of a monumental effort spurred on by the dedication of Seattle Firefighters and other emergency workers from around the state. The coordination and commitment of everyone who participated in the search was a tribute to the Chief, and we hope that his final voyage home provides some comfort to all who loved him.
Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.