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    Fort McCoy firefighters serve Soldiers, community in multiple ways

    Best friends serve together at Fort McCoy fire station

    Photo By Sgt. Kevin Long | David Chizek, left, and Brian Butzler, firefighters for the Fort McCoy Fire...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Nicole Baker 

    Exercise News Day

    FORT MCCOY, Wis. – Almost a year after heavy rain caused flash flooding in several areas of Monroe County, the crew at Fort McCoy Fire Department reflects on their service to the community during routine equipment checks at FMFD Station One on Aug. 12, 2019.

    The department operates two fire stations that serve the 60,000 acre Army installation and its surrounding cities through various firefighting and emergency capabilities.

    Cole Stanek, a firefighter at Station One, said while many fire departments just respond to structure fire calls, their mission on Fort McCoy allows them to play a larger role.

    “We'll respond to regular structural fires, any other fires like grass fires on the ranges and carbon monoxide alarms … we're also EMS (emergency medical services),” said Stanek.

    The department's Station Two is on Fort McCoy's south post adjacent to the airfield. This allows them to respond to emergencies on the installation and the nearby Sparta/Fort McCoy Airport.

    “We also have ... a big firefighting truck that's specifically designed for aircraft,” said Stanek. “So that's another thing that many fire departments don't have – the capabilities to do crash firefighting.”

    The department has mutual aid agreements with surrounding cities within 20 miles, like Oakdale, Tomah and Sparta. The agreements allow emergency responders to assist each other outside of jurisdictional boundaries.

    “Last year, during the flooding, we had our boats out and were rescuing people from houses that were flooded,” explained Stanek.

    The department has a search-and-rescue team with divers that does mutual aid for drown victims other water-related emergencies.

    Stanek, one of the few members of the crew who isn't a military veteran, was a police officer with the Fort McCoy Police Department for 16 years and a volunteer firefighter with Union Center Fire Department for four years before joining FMFD two years ago.

    Stanek said this wasn't his original career path, but he wanted to make a difference and is rewarded by being part of the Fort McCoy team.

    “Just getting to work with different people and getting to see the work that everybody puts in … it's humbling to see how much it really takes,” said Stanek.

    Stanek, a native of Hillsboro, Wisconsin, said he's grateful to serve the community where he lives and grew up, while supporting the Soldiers on Fort McCoy.

    “I obviously respect everything that Soldiers have done for us or do for us,” said Stanek. “That really comes along with working out here. You get to see all the hard work put in, and I definitely appreciate everything – just happy to work among them.”



    Date Taken: 08.13.2019
    Date Posted: 08.13.2019 15:56
    Story ID: 335739
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 
    Hometown: HILLSBORO, WI, US

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