continued from page 2B
Lorentz, secretary; Steve Peterson, treasurer; Will Helmbrecht, Todd Jude, Beth Colbenson, Roger Manuel, Roger Wurm Jr., John Erger, Bill Fobbe, Joe Rassat, Bill Ditter, Bill Blizil, Mike Peterson, Bob Rolfzen, Clifford Blizil, Tom Neu, Tom Lauer, Rob Mills, Ken Bruns, John Peterson, Tom Blizil, Mark Rassat, Chris Northenscold and Tony Weiss.
From a beginning with one cart and one hose, the Maple Lake Fire Department now has 11 vehicles: two engines, three tankers, a water/ice rescue trailer, a heavy rescue and light rescue truck, a grass unit, an ambulance and an ATV for fighting grass fires.
Through a fundraising effort, the fire department also acquired a LUCAS device that is used to perform chest compressions during CPR. Maple Lake has one of two fire department-based ambulances in Wright County and provides mutual aid to all 15 of the Wright County fire departments.
New in 2012 was a rescue truck purchased from Custom Fire Apparatus of Osceola, WI, at a cost of $266,000, which was paid from money set aside in the fire department budget.
The gear worn by firefighters has also changed over the years. Rubber coats and boots gave way to nomex coats and bunker pants, providing firefighters more protection from intense heat. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs) provides protection from the smoke and gases caused by a fire.
The MLFD is staffed by 31 volunteer firefighters and 18 EMTs. In 2011, they responded to 397 calls, which included 294 ambulance calls, 42 rescue calls and 61 fire calls.
The fire department has a monthly business meeting on the second Monday of each month. Fire training takes place on the third Monday and ambulance training is on the fourth Monday, providing Maple Lake area residents with a highly-trained group of volunteers who are proud to serve as members of the Maple Lake Fire Department.
Required duties as a Maple Lake Firefighter and EMT are as follows:
Attend business meeting every second Monday of the month, fire drill training every third Monday of the month, EMT training every fourth Monday of the month
Requirements to become a Maple Lake Firefighter and EMT are as follows and must be met in the first two years of service:
*80 hours Firefighter 1 School plus state certification
*110 hours EMT Training, plus re-certification every two years
*12 hours active driving course training
The fire department also participates in community activities such as providing fire safety presentations for students, participating in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and past Days of Old celebrations, conducting mock crash presentations for students at Maple Lake High School, assisting with maintenance of the winter skating rink at the city park, and providing fire truck rides for top student readers at Maple Lake Elementary and St. Timothy’s School.
To show their appreciation for the Maple Lake Fire Department, the Maple Lake community hosted the Firefighters & EMT’s Appreciation Gala on September 13, 2003. And in 2004, the Maple Lake Fire Department was presented with the double distinction of serving as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade grand marshals and receiving the 2004 Commodore’s Award for Volunteer Service presented by the Minneapolis Aquatennial.
Fire department members who have also served as past grand marshals include Leo Dircks, Ken Hennen, Harold Brutlag, Clay Mooney, Ed Raiche, Russ Baker, Al Dircks, Dave Manuel and Ray Muller.
There have been many reasons given over the years for the success of the Maple Lake Fire Department, but Al Dircks summed it up best in a story written for Maple Lake’s Centennial in 1990 that still holds true today.
“It’s the dedication of the members,” he said. “It’s unbelieveable what those people do and what they give up to perform this charitable service. White shirt or overalls, it doesn’t matter. When the whistle blows, they go.”
Compiled with information from past issues of the Maple Lake Messenger and the Maple Lake Centennial History Book