Oct. 1, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend Fire Department handed out a couple of citizen awards during the Monday night Common Council meeting. This is the 2018 Fire Department Citizen Appreciation Awards.
Deputy Fire Chief Charles Beistle recognized Washington County Sheriff Deputies Timothy Dexter and Justin Jilling and Kewaskum volunteer firefighter Josh Harter were recognized for helping at a house fire in Dec. 20, 2017.
On December 20, 2017, Deputies Jilling and Dexter were enroute to serve a warrant when they noticed an unusual amount of dark colored smoke coming from a residence in the area. Upon investigation they found dark colored smoke originating from the rear of a residence. Already on scene was Josh Harter (a volunteer firefighter from Kewaskum) who works in the area and saw the smoke himself. He stated that he had already called 911 and was attempting to alert the occupants. Deputies and Mr. Harter attempted to alert residents who were not home. They also used extinguishers to attempt to put out the fire. Through the efforts of all the individuals involved they helped reduce the property damage by early notification of fire department and Deputies using their extinguishers. With their efforts they also saved the lives of family pets inside the house, that were later rescued by the fire department.
Steve Eklund and his wife were also recognized for contacting the WBFD about faulty lighting on their Christmas tree.
On Monday January 8, 2018, Steve Eklund and his wife were taking down their artificial Christmas tree when it began to smoke. It gave off a choking electrical smell which filled the room. He unplugged the tree which took away any further hazard. He contacted the fire department after investigating and found the LED wiring system had failed and began to overheat. He brought his findings and tree to the fire station and reported his findings. All information was passed on to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Mr. Ecklund was willing to put in the extra interest and effort to try to make sure this doesn’t happen to somebody else. If this would have happened during the night or other times when adults were not right there, I believe it would have been worse results possibly even fatal.