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Lester Prairie Fire Department and First Responders

The Lester Prairie Volunteer Fire Department/First Responders is a group of trained firefighters and first aid personnel members serving the Lester Prairie area.

Anyone may apply to join the department, but he/she must meet physical and training standards, as well as pass a background check & drug test. The candidate must be validated by a committee and go through orientation. More information is available by contacting any fire department member.

After acceptance into the department, the new member is required to successfully complete a Fire Fighter 101 course supplied by the fire department.

The fire department conducts regular monthly business and training meetings and also any special training meetings deemed necessary by the department.

For more information, or to request an application for membership, contact any fire department member, write to PO Box 911, Lester Prairie, MN 55354, or e-mail .

Firefighting techniques have changed, but the Lester Prairie Fire Department has maintained its commitment to protecting the community since 1892, and has developed so well that it has achieved a class 6 insurance rating for the city.

Located at 36 Redwood Street North, the department has approximately 30 volunteer members.

In addition to responding to fire emergencies, the department is also trained both in first response and hazardous material emergencies.

The volunteer department covers the city proper, the majority of Bergen Township, and a portion of Winsted Township.

In the community, the department has always maintained a policy of prevention over suppression. The department facilitates many activities in the community to make citizens aware of the dangers of fire.

One such activity is a program with school children, grades K-5, which emphasizes prevention and includes a poster contest. Children are taught such techniques as “stop, drop, and roll,” how to find fire exits, how to use a fire alarm, and how to call 911.

The department also hosts open houses and, at times, makes use of a smoke trailer to demonstrate smoky conditions in a house fire.

The members of the department receive training through a vocational system, as well as from in-house instructors Matt Tonn and Chris Bahr. The training includes Fire Fighter 1, 11, and III instruction, and live burns, which are planned fires set for training purposes. There is additional firefighter training once per month, First Responder training three times a year, plus special training. The members are required to take three one-day refresher courses every year.

The department has a business meeting on the first Monday of each month, and training meetings the third Monday of each month.

The fire department is funded largely by tax monies. Contributions and donations to the fire department have allowed them to purchase additional equipment for the fire protection area, at little or no additional cost to taxpayers. Recently, a 3,500-gallon Mack water tanker was added, funded by donations. Volunteers continue to work hard to keep the equipment in top working order.

Current roster:

Matt Tonn, Fire Chief 1; Dave Horsman, Fire Chief 2; Steve Dietel, Fire Chief 3; Scott Christenson, Captain 1/Fire; Keith Christen, Captain 2/Rescue; Chris Bahr, Captain 3/Training Officer; Tifanie Shimanski, Secretary; and Paul Christensen, Treasurer.

Relief Association officers are: Nick Fosdick, President; Mike Lindberg, Vice President; Keith Christen, Secretary; and Paul Christensen, Treasurer.

Current members of the Lester Prairie Fire Department and First Responders include:

Don Artman, Josh Artman, Chris Bahr, Keith Christen, Paul Christensen, Scott Christenson, Kevin Danielzuk, Paul Dhoore, Shadd Dial, Steve Dietel, Chris Ehalt, Mallory Feltmann, Jeff Forcier, Nick Fosdick, Josh Foust, Tyler Hoese, James Hoof, Aaron Hoover, Dave Horsman, Mat Karschnik, Dan Kroells*, Josh Lamp, Mike Lindberg, Luke Meyer, Chris Mike, Fred Pawelk, Dustin Reid, Dan Ruschmeier*, Mike Schauer, Tifanie Shimanski, Matt Tonn, Maurice Tonn, and Max Zitzloff.

* Reserve Members
Reserve Members are members of other local fire departments, but work within the city of Lester Prairie.  Current reserve members Dan Kroells and Dan Ruschmeier serve with the Green Isle and New Germany Fire Departments, respectively.


Contact: Matt Tonn