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Editor’s note: LeAnn R. Ralph serves as a supervisor on the Otter Creek Town Board, and in the absence of Mark Warner, chair of the Otter Creek Town Board, represented the township at the fire board meeting.
By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Community Fire District Board has allocated $20,000 toward the purchase of a pickup truck and an ultra-high-pressure fire fighting system.
The Colfax Community Fire Department applied to the Otto Bremer Foundation for a $45,000 grant to purchase a pickup truck and the ultra-high-pressure system, but the Bremer Foundation is changing how grants are funded and no longer funds the requests at 100 percent, said Don Logslett, Colfax fire chief, at a special meeting of the fire board June 6.
“They want to see the organizations donate some money and make an investment,” he said.
Logslett said he had met with a representative of the Bremer Foundation the previous week and had been told that if the fire board would allocate one-third or even half of the grant request, the Colfax fire department would stand a better chance of getting the grant.
“Fifty percent would just about guarantee that we would get the grant,” Logslett said.
The $45,000 would be used to purchase a used pickup truck with a topper and a new ultra-high-pressure fire fighting system.
The Colfax fire department, along with fire departments from surrounding communities, gathered at Tom Prince Memorial Park in Colfax the evening of March 21, 2018, for a demonstration of the Hydrus Droplet high-pressure system.
The ultra-high-pressure system condenses a stream of water to the size of a BB that works to cool a fire fast using very little water.
Three cars were set on fire at the ball park, and the ultra-high-pressure system put out the fires in about 15 seconds using only eight gallons of water.
The ultra-high-pressure stream has a reach of about 35 feet.
The impact of an ultra-high-pressure system for a rural fire district would be “huge,” Logslett says, because the pickup truck with the high-pressure system would be able to reach a fire faster than the regular fire trucks and could start to fight the fire before the other equipment arrives.
Logslett said he also would like to purchase a smaller ultra-high-pressure system for the fire department’s new Polaris Utility Terrain Vehicle on tracks and said he believes he would be able to make all three purchases with the money available if the Bremer Grant is awarded to the Colfax fire department.
The Tainter Trail Tamers, the Colfax Sno-drifters, Dunn Energy and the Colfax Fire Fighters Association all contributed money toward the purchase of the UTV following a fatal snowmobile accident outside Colfax in early February that claimed the life of 29-year-old Brenden Shutts.
The new/used pickup truck for the ultra-high-pressure system would replace two of the trucks currently owned by the fire department, a 1984-85 brush truck and a 1996 pickup truck with four-wheel drive, Logslett said.
If the fire board allocates $20,000, but the fire department does not receive the Bremer grant, “we do not lose any money,” he noted.
The fire department equipment fund has a balance of $139,000 and does not include the 2019 allocation of $20,000 to the equipment fund and also does not include the $8,300 left over from the 2018 budget.
Dean Logslett, representing the Town of Colfax, noted the fire department also would receive some money from selling the two other trucks.
The Colfax fire board unanimously approved allocating $20,000 for purchasing a pickup truck and the ultra-high-pressure system(s).
The Colfax fire district includes the Town of Colfax, the Town of Grant, the Town of Otter Creek and the Village of Colfax.
Scott Gunnufson, Colfax village president, was unable to attend the meeting.
Mark Dietsche, chair of the Town of Grant, represents Grant on the Colfax fire board and is currently chair of the fire board.