West Fargo Fire Department to focus on training as calls surge
West Fargo is no longer a small town, and its fire department is trying to keep up with the big-city changes. The number of calls the fire department responded to in 2015 increased and so did the call type. The fire department saw the number of calls jump 63 percent over five years as the population swelled to 30,000. Fire Chief Dan Fuller released the department’s first-ever comprehensive annual fire report in January. He found the volunteer department responded to 379 calls for services that included 56 fires, 26 accident calls, 35 hazardous materials incidents, 136 “bells” or alarm system calls, 24 smoke or odor investigations and 63 calls were canceled. There were no deaths or injuries related to fires in 2015. Of the calls of service, 334 were inside West Fargo city limits and 45 calls were in rural areas. The department covers all of West Fargo, Reile’s Acres, North River, Barnes, Mapleton, Reed and Raymond townships. Fuller said many calls tend to happen around 6 p.m. but no day of the week seems to have more calls than others. Fuller said the high number of rescues, which can be include rescuing people from ice, water, vehicles, even elevators, and high number of alarm calls show that his department along with the city is modernizing and growing. “We’re going towards a metropolitan department rather than a small-town North Dakota fire department anymore,” Fuller said. To keep up, training will be a priority in 2016. Fuller was able to buy about eight new sets of ice rescue equipment and two new boats that will be placed at each end of the Sheyenne River in town for easy access. He is also working with Minnesota State Community and Technical College on a water and ice rescue training program that will start in March. “After that, we’ll go to looking at way of operating and making sure what we do is right for the type of city we have,” Fuller said.
West Fargo Pioneer
Careless smoking blamed for early morning deck fire in Fargo
PHOTO: A deck fire caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette caused minor damage a home in Fargo's Golden Ridge neighborhood early Thursday. Fire crews were called out shortly before 4 a.m. to 906 26th Street North. Firefighters got a quick knock-down, limiting damage to the rear deck and exterior wall of the home. Fire Captain Jason Mehlisch says if a neighbor had not spotted the flames and called 911, it wouldn't have taken much longer for the fire would to have spread into the house.
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