RLFD Burn Tower Celebrated

Thursday, June 9, 2022
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Above volunteers with the Red Lodge Fire Department enter the training facility through the balcony to fight a ‘fire.’

By Alastair BakerNews EditorMany people turned out last weekend to witness the official opening of the Red Lodge Fire Rescue’s burn tower training facility off Highway 78, west of the town.The state-of-the-art facility is the only one in the immediate region and will be available to all surrounding fire departments to use including those in other counties.Strenuous fundraising efforts turned the million-dollar venture into reality.Past and present Fire division, EMS, and Red Lodge Fire Rescue personnel took part in the ribbon-cutting with the 2021 EMS Provider of the Year. Cody Gross; the 2021 Fire Division Provider of the Year, Katy Purcell; and the 2021 Search and Rescue Provider of the Year. Randy Mesce. being tasked with the job of cutting.Will Bernard, a Captain with Red Lodge Fire Rescue and the President of the Red Lodge Fire Rescue Foundation, spoke of this project being already “well-rooted when I joined the department 18 years ago.”“We talked about it for years. Finally today, we can cut the ribbon, and serve the needs not only of the fire division but the EMS, and Red Lodge Fire Rescue,” he said. “On behalf of the Board and Foundation we were extremely pleased we were able to work with the Red Lodge Fire Rescue on this project.”Bernard thanked Todd Daily for working with the contractors, Fire Facilities, Inc. who supplied the building, and Berriochoa Construction, Inc. who erected the building.Bernard particularlypraised the efforts of Sarah Ewald, Executive Director of the Foundation, who he said should get the MVP award.“If I could, I would hug every single one of you,” responded Ewald. “Consider this a hug.”Ewald said this started as a dream among the volunteer firefighters and none could imagine standing here 25 years later.“It took everybody to do this. We met for hundreds of hours. We finally came up with the fundraising goal and we didn’t think we would make it, but we did,” she said.She saluted the volunteers and the community for getting this project done.See more on the story online or at news stands.

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