South Metro Assists with Fire at Historic Swing Bridge

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010
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Story and Photo by: Peter Matthews/Firehouse.com

Firefighters in Inver Grove Heights battled a smoky blaze at a historic swing bridge that stretched several hundred feet over the Mississippi River Thursday afternoon.

Crews responded to the fire at the Rock Island Swing Bridge at approximately 2 p.m.

The former double-decker railroad and auto bridge connected Inver Grove Heights on the West bank of the river with South Saint Paul on the East bank. It was built in 1894 and has been closed to all traffic for more than two decades. It is currently in the process of being converted into a public recreational pier.

"As soon as I arrived, I requested boats from St. Paul, St. Paul Park and South Metro Fire Departments," Inver Grove Heights Fire Chief Judy Thill told Firehouse.com. She said that construction crews had already been using hoselines from a nearby tugboat to play water on to the fire.

As fire crews arrived, Thill estimated that they stretched 500 feet of four-inch hose along the bridge to supply several handlines. "Our initial attack was two 1 3/4 handlines that were concentrating on protecting the fire on the old part from spreading to the deck on the new section." She said there was a six-inch gap between the two.

The three fire boats used their master streams to help knockdown the flames as they consumed the wooden trusses. Thill said the current and gusty winds hampered the boats efforts. "They were struggling because of the current and the wind was blowing the water streams around."

At one point, the South Metro fire boat tethered to the tugboat to keep itself in place close to the gap between the new and old sections of the bridge.

A tugboat was also called to position at a nearby barge alongside the bridge. Once in position, crews placed portable master streams under the fire.

Thill didn't know the cause of the fire, but investigators were on scene Thursday evening.



South Metro Battles Two Blazes on Haskell Street

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010
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Photo by: Peter Matthews/Firehouse.com

At 1:30 am on Thursday, October 14th, 2010, South Metro Fire was called to a house fire in the 200 block Haskell Street East in West St. Paul. On arrival fire crews found the front deck and entire exterior front wall of the house on fire, with fire extending into the front living and attic areas of the house.

The residents were already evacuated, though firefighters did assist with letting two dogs out of the house and later rescued two cats. Crews were able to quickly knock down the exterior fire and then move inside to extinguish the fire in the front living area and the attic. It took about 20 minutes to control this fire, with more time to completely extinguish.

Along with the fire damage to the front of the house, there was smoke damage to the entire home. The residents, two adults and an infant, are staying with neighbors and the Red Cross was called to provide additional assistance. The cause of this fire remains under investigation, but is not believed to be suspicious. There were no Injuries. In total there were 22 fire personnel on scene, along with HeathEast paramedics and police officers.

This was the second fire on Haskell Street in approximately three hours. Earlier in the evening crews battled another, unrelated house fire in the 400 block Haskel Street East. The cause of the first fire is believed to be the result of a failed fireplace chimney, where a fire in a wood-burning fireplace extended through holes in the chimney and ignited roofing materials. Damage was minimal and there were no injuries.



Another Successful Safety Camp

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009
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Under the watchful eye of Safety Camp participants, South Metro firefighters remove a car door during a vehicle extrication demo.

Safety Camp, a cooperative effort of the communities of Mendota Heights, South St. Paul and West St. Paul since 1992, is held every August at Kaposia Park in South St. Paul.

This year over 100 children of the approximate age of ten participated in the three-day event help August 11th, 12th and 13th . Parents drop their children off in the mornings and pick them up in the afternoons. The children are monitored by camp counselors, including South Metro Firefighters, who lead them from station to station. At each of the stations, the campers learn about varying aspects of everyday safety. Some of the topics include drug and gang awareness, stranger danger, 911 use and fire safety. In between these learning sessions, the campers play games or practice their safe camp songs. On the last day, the campers and their parents are treated to an outdoor barbecue.

Safety Camp is organized by the local Parks and Recreation Departments and is supported by South St. Paul VFW Post 295 and area police and fire agencies. Many local businesses donate funds and/or resources to make the Safety Camp experience a memorable one. If your child would like to partake in next year's Safety Camp or your organization would like to make a donation, please contact the local Parks and Recreation Departments in South St. Paul, West St. Paul, or Mendota Heights.



Firefighters Fill the Boot for MDA

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009
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JULY 2009: A South Metro firefighter collects a generous donation from a Concord Street driver in South St. Paul.

On June 16th, 17th and 18th, 2009, South Metro Firefighters took to the streets of South St. Paul and West St. Paul as part of the annual Fill The Boot drive to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This year, with help from the community, firefighters raised $14,357.

The money raised goes to help local muscular dystrophy patients with medical supplies, free clinics, and Fill the Boot donations help to cover the expense to send dozens of children to a summer camp especially for those diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

Last year's efforts raised $11,994.

South Metro Firefighters and the MDA thank you for your continued support.



South Metro Responds to Memorial Day Fire

Posted: Wed May 27, 2009
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Firefighters from Engine 1 perform a quick knockdown from the exterior before stretching a line inside the building

On the afternoon of Monday, May 25th, the South Metro Fire Department was called to the 1000 block of Seminole Ave for a deck on fire as a result of a propane tank explosion.

Fire crews arrived to find the home well-involved in fire. At first it was unknown if there was anyone inside the home. Fire crews made a quick initial search of the residence and were unable to locate anyone before being forced to back out due to heavy fire conditions. The fire was brought under control in about two hours. Assistance was provided at the scene by the two crews from the Mendota Heights Fire Department.

The Inver Grove Heights Fire Department also assisted by providing two crews to help cover additional calls in South St. Paul and West St. Paul.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.