Sleepy Eye Fire Department appreciates past community support, takes a year off from fall benefit event

Deb Moldaschel
Firefighter Scott Krzmarzick (left) and Sleepy Eye Fire Department Chief Ron Zinniel display the new rescue equipment partially funded by proceeds from the 2018 and 2019 fall Fire Department benefits.

The Sleepy Eye Fire Department has decided due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will not host their traditional fall benefit this year.

“We feel with the financial hardships that have fallen on local businesses and citizens it would be wrong to ask for contributions this year,” said firefighter Scott Krzmarzick, chairman of the benefit committee. “We thank everyone for all the wonderful support in the past.”

Krzmarzick, also chairman of the equipment committee, said the proceeds from the 2018 and 2019 benefits helped the fire department purchase new rescue equipment. He said, “With vehicles getting lighter they are being built with stronger alloys. We needed to upgrade our equipment in order to dismantle cars during accident calls and emergencies.”

The equipment the department purchased is the Genesis tool system — a jaws of life and a cutting system that run on lithium batteries. Krzmarzick said features of the Genesis equipment include no gas engines to fuel or maintain and also no dangerous high pressure hoses to worry about.

“The tools are not tethered back to a power supply, so the range and mobility are greatly increased,” Krzmarzick said. “These tools run on Milwaukee batteries we can buy locally if needed and with our four batteries we have about two hours run time with both tools.”

Krzmarzick said the new equipment also frees up their old equipment for use in emergency situations, such as being called to two accidents in the same time frame, something the department has experienced in the past. Now they have the equipment available to meet the needs of this situation should it happen again.

Krzmarzick said other features of the new rescue equipment include being stronger and faster, cheaper to maintain, and allowing the department to keep up with new car construction.