New firefighters complete house burn drill

Deb Moldaschel
Sleepy Eye's newest firefighters posed for a picture after completing the house burn drill, from left: Colten Borth, Aaron Bruggeman, Tyler Heiderscheidt, and Logan Zuhlsdorf.

The Sleepy Eye Fire Department’s four newest firefighters were joined by area classmates from this winter’s firefighter certification classes at a house burn on Saturday morning, June 27, in rural Sleepy Eye. The drill was the final piece of their certification. Fire Chief Ron Zinniel said they completed Firefighter 1, Firefighter 2, and Hazmat certification for the State of Minnesota.

Firefighters from New Ulm, Springfield, and Courtland, along with Sleepy Eye firefighters Logan Zuhlsdorf, Aaron Bruggeman, Colten Borth, and Tyler Heiderscheidt, worked in groups of three to enter the burning house and find and extinguish interior fires.

The four Sleepy Eye men agreed the experience of entering the burning house put what they learned this winter in a new light. “It all makes sense now,” said Heiderscheidt.

They attended classes two or three nights a week from December until the pandemic shut down in person classes and then completed the remaining courses individually, online.

Bruggeman said they feel ready now to fight an actual structure fire, but hope that doesn’t happen to anyone.

During the house burn training on Saturday morning, Sleepy Eye Fire Chief Ron Zinniel and Assistant Chief Jeff Zinniel (the two white-haired firefighters) spoke with several of the firefighters who were completing their certification during the drill.