Storms Bring More than Rain

LightningAs severe storms rolled through Eden Prairie last night, they brought heavy rain, hail and lightning, along with several fire calls that kept Eden Prairie Fire Department crews busy.

Shortly after 7 p.m., dispatch received a call about a fire caused by a lightning strike to a home on Dartmouth Avenue. The on-shift duty crew responded within two minutes from the nearby Fire Station 2. Additional resources responded from other Eden Prairie stations as well as mutual aid from Bloomington, Minnetonka, Excelsior, and Edina.

Just after the Dartmouth fire was extinguished, a 911 call came in from a resident on the west side of town reporting another fire from a lightning strike. Crews responded to Geisler Road just before 8 p.m. Additional resources from Minnetonka and Excelsior responded as well. The exterior of the home near the gas meter had been struck by lightning and fire spread up the exterior vinyl siding. The quick response of fire crews meant that the fire was knocked down quickly and the fire didn’t extend to the attic or interior of the home.

Crews were beginning to clear the scene on Geisler at 8:45 p.m. when another fire was reported on Peep Oday Trail. This fire was not weather-related, but the result of inattentive cooking.

At 8:52 p.m. another call about smoke in a garage came in from Vogel Farm Trail. Crews split between Peep Oday and Vogel Farm in order to cover the needs of the two calls. The Vogel Farm call was another weather-related lightening strike to a nearby tree, leading to the lawn sprinkler system box to be blown out in the garage.

Lots of action in a very short time for our dedicated firefighters and mutual aid partners, and dispatchers who keep it all straight and remain calm throughout the storms!

We want to take this opportunity to remind everyone to have working smoke alarms, so you can be alerted to fires in your home.

Search and Rescue

On Tuesday, June 20 the Eden Prairie Police and Fire Departments were called to True Friends at Camp Eden Wood, a camp for special needs adults and children, for a lost 9-year-old boy.

Camp Eden Wood

The child had run into the marsh area that borders the camp property. Firefighters, police officers, camp staff and members of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Water Patrol broke into small groups and fanned out from the area where the boy was last seen. There were many complicating factors, with the terrain being a marsh with tall grass and small swampy areas and the child being nonverbal.

After nearly an hour of searching, the State Patrol helicopter arrived and assisted with the search from overhead, and within 10 minutes of scouring the area, the helicopter pilot located the child who was safe in a swampy section of the marsh. Police and fire crews were directed to the boy by the chopper and spent another 20 minutes trying to safely navigate the route back out of the marsh with the child.

Firefighters Becki White and Jason Albers leading the boy through the marsh. Photo used with permission from Fox 9 News.

Once on dry land, the child was evaluated by Hennepin County Medical Center paramedics, who cleared him of injuries.

The Eden Prairie Fire Department appreciates its close working relationship with the Eden Prairie Police Department in the unified effort to find this child and many other emergency calls that we jointly respond to.

We also would like to thank our mutual aid partners from the Minnesota State PatrolHennepin County EMS, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the nearby Three Rivers Park District.

Partnerships

The Eden Prairie Fire Department works closely with our neighbor and partner agencies on a daily basis, so that we can work seamlessly on an emergency scene.

Last night brought together a few examples of these great working relationships all at once. Each year the Fire Department runs a recruit academy that teaches college level classes to our new firefighters.  From September until April, two nights a week recruits attend classes on various topics that they need to know to be an all-hazards responder. We partner with neighboring cities to host this academy, and the cities of Bloomington, Chanhassen, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka and St. Louis Park send firefighters and/or instructors to the academy each year.

This year’s group of recruits is finishing up their academy with two regional response topics: Active Shooter/Mass Casualty and On-scene Safety and Rehab

Last night the recruits attended the Active Shooter/Mass Casualty training. They received instruction from training experts from Golden Valley Fire, Edina Fire and Eden Prairie Police. They broke into small groups and ran mass casualty scenarios with police officers from Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins and Minnetonka. It was a great show of support from our partner police agencies and showed our new recruits how well we work together to ensure the safety of the citizens we serve.

We appreciate our partners in public safety and their willingness to help educate our new firefighters.

Brush Fires

There are a lot of nature areas nestled into Eden Prairie neighborhoods, which is part of what makes it such a great place to live.

Nature areas also bring the possibility of brush and wildland fires, which people usually equate with more wooded or rural areas. Though we aren’t generally at risk for the catastrophic destruction that wildfires can bring, with the dry vegetation and gusting winds, brush fires in our nature areas have the potential to spread quickly.

Yesterday, the Fire Department responded to two separate brush fires, one at the boat launch area near Staring Lake and the other near Edenvale Park. The fire near the wooded area of the boat launch was caused by a discarded cigarette, which ignited the dry vegetation and spread quickly. The fire near Edenvale Park was caused by a recreational fire on private property that was left unattended. Both fires were discovered right away and the Fire Department was able to quickly extinguish them.

Protect your family and your neighborhood. Make sure you understand and abide by Eden Prairie’s recreational fire guidelines. If you are a smoker, please extinguish your smoking materials properly.

For more information on brush and wildland fires, visit the National Fire Protection Association website.

Close Your Door!

Because of the increased use of synthetic materials in furniture and construction, fire is spreading faster. So you should take every precaution you can to protect your family from the heat and smoke produced by a fast-moving fire.

A simple habit that could save your life in a fire is to sleep with your bedroom doors closed. A closed door limits oxygen flow, which may help prevent a fire from growing.

These pictures were taken by the Franklin Fire Company in Pennsylvania and illustrate the fire damage caused on one side of a bedroom door, with the other side of the door practically unscathed. A closed bedroom door provides a layer of protection between you and a fire, which is especially important at night when family members may be vulnerable, disoriented with little time to react.

Learn more about the benefits of closing your door and join the Closed Door Crew pledge at closeyourdoor.org.

Be safe and close your door!