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Ellendale Council OKs new turnout gear

Ellendale, fish fry, turnout gear
Kay Fate, Staff Writer

The Ellendale Fire Department learned its lesson.

Last year’s first Lenten fish fry lasted just 40 minutes – the 15 cases of fish didn’t stand a chance at the annual event.

For the next Lenten fish fry, four weeks later, organizers ordered 23 cases. That would have been a sellout, too, but they simply couldn’t fry the fish fast enough.

This year, there were two new deep-fryers – and 40 cases of fish – at the March 10 meal.

The wildly popular event is just one indication of the community’s support of its volunteer fire department.

Another indication came at last week’s Ellendale City Council meeting.

“I’m glad you’re all sitting down,” Fire Chief Logan Busho told the members.

He was joking – kind of – as he shared a few updates.

The department wants to buy seven new sets of turnout gear – the protective equipment firefighters wear as they battle fires – but it doesn’t come cheap.

“There’s seven guys that are needing gear,” Busho said, “whether it’s new guys that don’t have gear that fits or guys that have gear that’s reaching the end of its life.”

The department settled on seven sets, he said, “because that’s where the price break is. If we buy seven sets, we save $400 per set.”

Another factor, Busho told councilors, is to get ahead of a price increase that’s coming in April.

“If we purchase now, we can lock in at the current price,” he said. “If not, it goes up another $4,000.”

Even with the discount, the total hits $27,000.

But in the understatement of the night, “Gambling donated quite a bit,” Busho said of the charitable gambling committee.

“Quite a bit” was actually “$10,000 last month, then $17,000 this month,” said Josh Otto, maintenance supervisor for Ellendale, as well as a volunteer firefighter.

“So it should just about cover it,” Busho said.

Two potential new firefighters are nearly finished with training, he said. The city can apply for a grant through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Fire Hire program. If accepted, the funding could pay for one or both sets of turnout gear for the new members.

Busho also asked the city council to approve the purchase of a rescue strut kit, which features adjustable bars for vehicle stabilization.

“In the event of a rollover, it keeps the vehicle from moving while we get the people out,” he said. “It’s safety for them, safety for our guys.”

Though cable barriers on Interstate 35 have helped reduce the number of serious crashes and rollovers, “if they’re in the cable, it’s pretty unsafe not to have” the stabilization,” Busho said.

Council members approved the purchase of a three-strut kit for about $3,600.


Support Ellendale Fire

• Fish Fry: March 31, 5 p.m. until fish run out

• Free-will donation: diners served all-you-can-eat batter-fried cod, firehouse beans, coleslaw, and a beverage. Chicken strips are available for those who don’t eat fish.

• Profits: All go to the Ellendale Fire Relief Association and are typically used for fire-fighting equipment.

• Service: Ellendale Fire serves seven townships and the city of Ellendale.

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