Fire crews helped protect home from nearby blaze

To the editor:

When I dressed in the gear firefighters wear to compete in the fitness challenge in Embarrass, I had no idea I would be seeing the real heroes in action this week when I was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a fire right behind my house and called 911.

I watched nervously as the flames shot up until the first firetruck arrived and was relieved to see that first stream of water aimed at the fire. I live just two blocks from the fire station, but it seemed like an eternity for the trucks to arrive.

Later, several more fire departments arrived, all dressed in that heavy, bulky and warm gear plus 45-pound air tanks. The Red Cross was on hand with coffee and breakfast sandwiches (sorry, none for dogs), but I shared mine between the three of them.

Until I experienced this fire threat to my home firsthand, I didn’t fully appreciate these volunteers getting up in the middle of the night and staying at the site of the fire for hours, and then having to go work at their regular jobs. I was told they have to be able to put on that gear in two minutes. We asked about that last weekend as we dressed for the contest. Fortunately, our timing did not start until we had put on the entire outfit.

For those who don’t know, my dad and his family built the long building that was totally destroyed by the fire in about 1940. It was used by FWD during World War II to build the motor toboggans that later became known as snowmobiles. Later, it housed the high school ag and manual training classes. Then my dad used it to store his “toys,” steam engines, etc.

My sincere thanks to those volunteers who worked so hard and saved my house and garage. The utility workers were called out to turn off the power before water could be sprayed on the building. The communication workers and utility workers were on duty late that night and again the next day.

The house belonged to my grandfather, then my dad. I am the third generation to occupy it. I am so glad it continues to stand as the only residence on the block.

Mary-Beth Kuester,

Clintonville