Burlington Fire Department Adapts - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Burlington Fire Department Adapts

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A Halloween tradition will continue one more night in Burlington tomorrow.

A haunted house that has been set up inside the Rural Fire hall will spook kids young and old alike...but this is the final year.

Why?

Increased activity for the department is making it tough to staff and keep running.

Perry Olson explains.

For a good spook Halloween night, you might want to swing the kids by the Burlington Rural Fire hall. For seven years it has done exactly that...but Thursday night will be the last...

(Karter Lessman - Burlington Rural Fire Chief) "It is too much time to bring them in and get them set up and then find enough people to come in and work it. It takes about 25 people to come in and run it each night."

Now the department isn't afraid of some work -- its work that is bringing this tradition to an end for now. Calls are up -- about 300 percent over the last few years in fact. It means this staff of 28 is called to respond more and more, stretching everybody.

(Karter Lessman - Burlington Rural Fire Chief) "It is nice to do fund raisers and make the money to get better equipment and gear but at the same time we need to take care of our families and each other."

They have purchased new equipment -- like this upgraded truck that seats six responders. As the energy industry stretches further east, departments like this are called on to handle more. Lessman says they've recently undergone training for high elevation rope and grain bin rescues that can be used on a frac sand site in their area. It is this education though that is pulling these volunteers away more and more.

(Karter Lessman - Burlington Rural Fire Chief) "It is endless hours of training. We can't cover everything in the 12 training meetings we have every year so we count on state fire school, regional fire school, sending people off to classes."

They have to be ready for everything...and that means more work than ever before. In Burlington, Perry Olson, KX News.

The haunted house is open Halloween night from seven until midnight.

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