Apr 06, 2021 7:25 PM

Beer: Praise for team effort in fighting wildfires

Posted Apr 06, 2021 7:25 PM
File Photo: Hutchinson Fire Chief Steven Beer
File Photo: Hutchinson Fire Chief Steven Beer

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Hutchinson Fire Chief Steven Beer had a lot of people to thank at the City Council meeting on Tuesday for their help with taking care of his staff last week.

"A lot of times, the fire department gets the glory at the end," Beer said. "There's a lot of people in the back end that make us successful and I think it's important that you know that. I want to first start out with our IT department. The computers that we have in my pickup trucks and the stuff that my staff have and we didn't have years ago, help us mitigate these situations. Joseph from the IT department, he keeps us running every single week."

Beer also praised the dispatchers.

"Our dispatchers are phenomenal people," Beer said. "We had over 80 fire trucks, units on scene and helping through mutual aid compacts. There's a lot of communications that go down. It's just an overwhelming experience, if you've ever been in a dispatch center."

Beer also praised Hutchinson police.

"Whatever we need, any time, day or night," Beer said. "That partnership is stellar."

Beer also said the city's engineers were a big help.

"Our GIS department is top of the world, top of the class," Beer said. "The maps and the data that they can give us on the lines when we're fighting these fires and stuff like that, coming right to the command post and assisting us, you literally can't put a price on that type of stuff."

Also, the firefighters needed to clear trees, that's where Public Works director Brian Clennan comes in.

"We needed bulldozers," Beer said. "Obviously, the fire department doesn't have bulldozers. He made a call to the city here for our bulldozer, here, he made a call to the county and we had four bulldozers running lines during these incidents."

Beer also praised those who keep his department's equipment running all the time.

"Our fleet mechanics are out in the field, they're coming right to the scene with our broke down trucks," Beer said. "They're fixing them so we get back to the other fire on the other side. They were literally out there in the black burnt out areas and stuff, working with us side by side through these whole incidents. On a daily basis, they're the true heroes in this whole thing that keep us up and going 24-7."

Beer also thanked all the community members who provided food and beverages and water to the firefighters throughout.

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