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Great River Energy makes final payment to JRFD for equipment

Jamestown Rural Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Paulson, left, shows some of the department’s new equipment to Great River Energy Spiritwood Station’s plant engineer Paul Solomonson. Great River Energy provided the JRFD with $15,000 over two years to help the department update its equipment. (David Luessen/The Sun)

By David Luessen, The Jamestown Sun

Representatives from Great River Energy presented a $7,500 check to Jamestown Rural Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Paulson on Thursday. The check was the final installment on a $15,000 grant GRE provided as part of a 50-50 cost-share grant with the North Dakota Forest Service matching the other half to purchase $30,000 worth of equipment for JRFD over a two-year period.

Paulson said the fire department is now more prepared to respond in the future as several industrial construction projects are expected to begin this year in Spiritwood Township, part of JRFD’s territory.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg for some of the growth we’re going to experience,” Paulson said. “This is a great way to get moving in a new direction — and the growth for us, to have the stuff right from the get-go to be where we need to be to respond properly.”

Paulson said he approached GRE with the grant opportunity because the department needed updated equipment to meet the demands of a possible fire at the GRE Spiritwood Station. Paul Solomonson, plant manager at the station, said he hopes to maintain a good relationship with the JRFD.

“We hope never to make that call, but if we ever need fire department support this is where we’ll call,” he said. “They related to us a couple years ago that they didn’t have all the equipment they’d like to have to help support us in that case, so we committed to donations for a couple years to help offset the cost of some of that hardware that would be necessary for them to help us out.”

Lyndon Anderson, the communications supervisor for GRE, said his company aims to build positive relationships in the areas it operates in.

“We’re glad to support the communities at all our power plants,” Anderson said. “We do the same when we contribute to the ambulances, fire departments and the rescue departments. It’s important for us to be part of the community and involved.”

While all the equipment has yet to arrive at the fire station, one piece of equipment Paulson was eagerly anticipating is a state-of-the-art ground monitor from Task Force Tips, a worldwide company that produces firefighting equipment. A ground monitor works as an oscillating sprinkler. Paulson said a typical ground monitor has to be secured to the ground to be used safely, because it can “walk away” on its own, while continuing to shoot hundreds of gallons of water per minute. The new model the department is getting has an automatic kill switch if something goes awry.

Paulson said such equipment enhances the safety of firefighters, and said the Dec. 30 train derailment in Casselton is a perfect example of why ground monitors are important.

“When you’re in a hot zone like that, life safety is the ultimate goal, and you can set that up and walk away. If it goes south on you, you’re out some equipment, not people,” Paulson said.

Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at