The city of Jamestown accepted a donation of $50,000 from Cavendish Farms for its ladder truck fund. A ceremonial presentation of a check took place Monday at the Jamestown Fire Department.

"On behalf of Cavendish, I'd like to say it is nice to have this kind of equipment here," said Mark Urquhart, director of western agriculture for Cavendish Farms.

The ladder truck allows firefighters to work from above fires and also would be necessary for situations where people are stranded on the upper floors of a building. The Jamestown Fire Department took delivery of the new piece of equipment in November after several months without a ladder truck.

Urquhart, a retired volunteer firefighter himself, recognized the need for a ladder truck in a community like Jamestown.

“The Jamestown Fire Department is an important community partner for us. We conduct hazardous materials training together each year for the safety of our operations and employees," he said. "We also have several employees who are current or retired volunteered firefighters.”

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The Jamestown Fire Department had previously used a ladder truck owned by the state of North Dakota under a memo of understanding with the North Dakota State Hospital. That truck failed and state voided the memo in 2019. The new truck has been purchased by the city of Jamestown with the intent of raising money through donations and possible funding through the North Dakota Legislature.

The city of Jamestown used money from its equipment replacement account and then set about replenishing the money through private donations and possible state funding. The city has continued to solicit funds through the pandemic although opportunities to hold ceremonies to commemorate the donations had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, said Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich, previously.

"I want to thank Cavendish Farms for their generous donation. It helps us get closer to covering the cost of this critical piece of equipment,” said Jim Reuther, chief of the Jamestown Fire Department. “We’re hoping additional community partners will join with Cavendish Farms to show their support for the work we do.”

Heinrich also thanked Cavendish Farms for the contribution saying it was a "good day for Jamestown" when the company began operations here.

Cavendish Farms, part of the J.D. Irving Group of companies, purchased the Aviko Potato operation in 2005 and has operated in Jamestown ever since. The company processes and distributes frozen potato products.

"Today just illustrates that statement," he said.