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You always remember your first. Brand new fire department is criticized for response to very first blaze.

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There are differing opinions in and around Richmond, Minnesota on how the Chain of Lakes Fire Department handled its very first fire. Despite Chain of Lakes' chief being the department's only experienced member and the chief not being on the response, Chain of Lakes officials think the fire was handled well and dispute claims about the length of time it took to get water on the fire. But two nearby jurisdictions, including Richmond, which provided service to the area for 157 years until a financial dispute with neighboring townships paved the way for the creation of Chain of Lakes FD, believe the new department needs training and experience.  

Here are excerpts from Scott Wasserman's very detailed report on KMSP-TV:

”I think the fire was way advanced before they got there and there was little they could do,” Fire Chief Jerry Vossen said.

”They need more training and they need a shadowing program going or something,” Richmond Fire Chief Merten said. “They need somebody to help them along someone with experience.”

That lack of experience is causing major concern for many in this community.

“People are calling and asking if they can request Richmond fire and rescue service, and the answer is no, they cannot,” Richmond Mayor Jim Hemmesch said.

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