Statistics from the 2011 West Fargo Fire Department activity report for both city and rural areas have been released showing 270 total city responses and 26 rural calls, findings West Fargo Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider describes as "an average year."
The West Fargo Fire Department with three employees and 43 volunteer firefighters contracts for services with the city of West Fargo, and the rural townships of Reed, Raymond, Mapleton, and Barnes, as well as the cities of Reile's Acres and North River.
The switchover to a new tracking system did result in several more general false alarm calls being reported totaling 74, that were documented before they could be categorized as cancelled, a method that worked with the prior system.
Schatschneider said there was no increase in severe fires with 14 structure fires reported in both residential and commercial areas at a dollar loss respectively of $322,500 and $550,000. The largest fires occurred to a house on 9th Avenue West and to The Galvanizers business on 7th Avenue with their loss alone estimated at $500,000. Total estimated dollar loss was $897,700 which also included $19,700 for nine vehicle fires and $5,500 for other fires.
Other in city calls were: rescues, accidents - 6; false alarms - 74 (the higher than normal number generated by the change of system); mutual aid - 2; hazardous materials (spills, leaks) - 18; other hazardous responses 20; and other general responses - 119.
The report breakdown for the rural calls included: structure and other fires and false alarms - 1 each; vehicle fires, hazardous material and other hazardous responses - 2 each; rescues, accidents - 3; mutual aid - 4; and other responses - 10.
Seven calls were made to Reed Township, 9 to Raymond, 5 to Mapleton, 2 to Reile's Acres, and one each to Barnes Township, North River and assisting another agency.
Total estimated rural dollar loss was $50,000 for structural fires and $10,500 for vehicles. The structural blaze was a barn fire earlier this year in Harwood.
"Overall, we had some pretty well standardized calls," Schatschneider said. "The dollar loss was up a bit because of The Galvanizer fire, which was a single high-value loss."
Mentioning fire responses so far for 2012, he added that the department has received calls for a couple of minor fires on decks of apartment buildings caused by people improperly discarding smoking material. "I don't know how many of these we have to go through? People need to start using common sense when doing that. If they discard their materials in plastic containers or boxes of course they are going to burn."
Also mentioning the recent Brookwood Mobile Home fire where a young family escaped thanks to a working fire alarm, Schatschneider also emphasized the importance of checking smoke detectors on a regular basis.