Janesville74.4°

Plows come first, fire trucks second

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Catherine W. Idzerda
February 8, 2008
— The Edgerton Fire Department responds to 35 active fires a year.

That’s about one every 102 days.


On Wednesday, when the snow was coming down in waves and the wind was blowing drifts over icy streets, the department had to slog to three fires.


“I figured we’d be out for car accidents,” said Capt. Adam Walton of the Edgerton Fire Department. “I never thought we’d be out for that many fires.”


In each case, city or county plow drivers had to lead the way.


“Both the city and the county plow drivers responded almost as fast as we did; they really got out there,” Walton said. “There was excellent cooperation between agencies.”


The fires were small but could have been more serious.


At 10:25 a.m., firefighters put out an electrical fire at 103 York Road. An electrical box had ignited the insulation between the walls of a home.


At 12:33 p.m., firefighters responded to a car fire in a parking lot in the 1300 block of Winston Drive.


At 5:04 p.m., an attic fire started around the fireplace flue at 10101 North Kidder Road. The homeowner “breached a hole in the ceiling and was able to put some of it out,” Walton said. The insulation between the walls was on fire, and firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to detect hot spots.


The plow’s assistance was especially important for the afternoon fire, Walton said.


“We had to drive down Ellendale Road, down by the river,” Walton said. “There were practically whiteout conditions down there.”


The Edgerton Fire Protection District serves 100 square miles of rural Rock, Jefferson and Dane counties. If the fire is outside of city limits, firefighters depend on the county plow drivers to help them out.


“We do that quite often,” said Michael Turk, Rock County Department of Public Works shop superintendent.


During regular hours or on a busy evening, the plow closest to the fire’s location is sent to clear the way, Turk explained.


If the plows have been pulled from county roads and are just working on Interstate 90/39, the county has a plow on standby that can be used.


Volunteer firefighters take to ATVs during storm

What’s the best way to cap off a day of fighting fires?


Driving up and down Interstate 90/39 in the middle of a snowstorm on ATVs.


Dane County Emergency Management asked members of the Edgerton Fire Department to help with stranded motorists on the Interstate.


Capt. Adam Walton and three other volunteers spent the night checking on motorists and making sure people had enough gas to stay warm. They also looked for a family with children that had run out of gas, but it appeared the family already had left the Interstate. Another agency transported a motorist having a diabetic reaction to the Edgerton Oasis. From the Interstate to the Oasis, the patient rode on a snowmobile; at the Oasis, the patient was picked up by Edgerton EMS.



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