YAKIMA, Wash. — First responders in Central Washington are working to find Seattle Fire Department Deputy Chief Jay Schreckengost, who is missing in Kittitas County.
Schreckengost was last seen at the Squaw Rock RV Resort and Campground in Naches, where he stayed to go hunting, according to family.
Now there is a race against Mother Nature as bad weather on the way could hinder search efforts.
Search efforts continued Saturday morning, with over 100 searchers, canines and drones participating in the effort.
In the Cliffdell area of Kittitas County, “The area being searched includes several square miles of extremely rugged terrain in difficult conditions, with periods of snow over the last two days,” Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office wrote on its Facebook page.
“He did text his wife, says I’m going to go hunting and I’ll talk to you later and she hadn’t heard from him since after that,” said Casey Schilperoort with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.
On the day Schreckengost went missing, he headed over into Kittitas County, where he had planned to go elk hunting.
Schilperoort said they knew something was wrong when his truck was found up the road where he was last seen on State Route 410.
“Normally, people don’t leave their vehicles unattended for a long amount of time,” said Schilperoort.
An area around the truck has become the epicenter for the search and rescue operation.
As of Thursday morning, more than 50 volunteers have been on-site, including dozens of firefighters from the Seattle Fire Department searching for him.
There are seven search and rescue crews, four K-9 teams, drones and infrared technology being used in the search.
“We’re there to help people and now we have to help one of our own. And so there’s a big push for help and it’s real touching,” Schilperoort said.
Now they are up against the clock as a weekend of nasty weather makes its way over the site of the search and rescue operation.
“Not only do we have to fight the weather, the cold, the wind and the rain, and of course it had been snowing up there just a little bit. But then it takes a toll on all of the folks that are up there trying to search for him,” said Schilperoort.
Schreckengost’s family is also over at the site with search and rescue crews trying to find their loved one.
The Seattle Fire Department released a statement Thursday saying they are hopeful and praying that he is found safe and well.