Flood-prone Tacoma house used for SWAT training

A flood-prone house owned by Pierce County was used for a Tacoma Police Department SWAT team training exercise Friday before...

A flood-prone house owned by Pierce County was used for a Tacoma Police Department SWAT team training exercise Friday before it will be ultimately demolished by county crews and returned to a natural floodplain.

The SWAT team practiced various tactical exercises at the house, located at 4303 47th Ave. E., in the Riverside neighborhood between Tacoma and Puyallup. Neighbors noticed noise and activity during the training, which ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We appreciate the opportunity to use this property to train in a realistic setting,” said SWAT Commander Lt. Ed Wade of the Tacoma Police Department. “This type of training is valuable in order to practice tactical skills for situations we may encounter in the future.”

The property was purchased by the county in December following frequent damage due to flooding as part of the county’s flood buyout program. The county is able to purchase river-related, flood-prone and flood-damaged properties from willing sellers primarily using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant funding.

“These buyouts provide a permanent solution to the risks and damages of repetitive flooding,” said Harold Smelt, Public Works and Utilities surface water manager. “They also significantly reduce the costs to the county, state and federal agencies associated with clean-up, evacuations, insurance claims, and more. We’re pleased to make this house available to the SWAT team for their training.”

More information about the flood buyout program, including a film featuring homeowners that participated in the program, is available online at piercecountywa.org/flood.

A video of the SWAT training exercise is available online here.

Ledena and Antonio Mendiola, Jr. stand in front of their flood-prone Tacoma home that was purchased last year by Pierce County as part of a flood buyout program. On Friday, the home was used for a Tacoma Police Department SWAT team training exercise before it will be ultimately demolished by county crews and returned to a natural floodplain. (PHOTO COURTESY PIERCE COUNTY)
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