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Regional fire departments receive grants for equipment

ST. PAUL -- Several local fire departments in central and west central Minnesota received grant funds from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division to purchase fire gear washers and dryers.

Erica Dischino / TribuneA firefighter uses a hose to extinguish a fire Monday afternoon at a house on 194th Avenue in Roseland. Multiple fire departments, including Willmar, Prinsburg and Raymond, responded to the scene.
Tribune file photo While fighting fires, a firefighter's gear can become soiled with cancer-causing toxins. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division has awarded 73 state departments with $600,000 in grant funds to purchase gear washer and dryers that can help remove those toxins.

ST. PAUL - Several local fire departments in central and west central Minnesota received grant funds from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division to purchase fire gear washers and dryers.

The fire departments in Appleton, Atwater, Benson, Belgrade and Redwood Falls all were awarded funds. In total, 73 state fire departments shared $600,000 in funds.

The mechanical turnout gear washers and dryers will remove carcinogens left on a firefighter's gear after a fire. Exposure to those carcinogens can cause lung damage, chronic bronchitis and cancer.

"Minnesota's firefighters put their lives on the line to save others. There is no reason they should further risk their lives when they return to their fire stations and go home to their families," State Fire Marshal Bruce West said in a news release announcing the grant awards. "This equipment is necessary to ensure the safety of Minnesota firefighters."

The grants are funded through the Minnesota Fire Safety Account. Since 2015, the State Fire Marshal Division has awarded $1.1 million in grants to 145 Minnesota fire departments to purchase gear washers and dryers, which can be too expensive for departments to purchase on their own, the news release said.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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