Around the Circle This Week: March 8, 2019

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Rescuing the Rescuers: Many people and organizations are coming together to help the La Pointe Fire Department and ambulance service after it burned to the ground earlier this week on Madeline Island. The services were back in operation by Thursday evening, a little more than a day after an explosion and fire destroyed the fire hall, along with vehicles and equipment. The La Pointe Police Department said on Facebook that they “returned to full service” at 6 p.m. Thursday. “This was not possible without the generous help of neighboring departments.” According to Michelle Jensen’s story in the Ashland Daily Press, the Wisconsin DNR delivered two 19,000-pound trucks over the ice road between Bayfield and Madeline Island on frozen Lake Superior. Lisa Potswald, La Pointe town administrator, told Michelle that Pomasl Fire Equipment of Antigo, Wisconsin, is renting an ambulance to the town, and the fire department is taking back use of a pumper it sold recently. It’s also getting 10 sets of fire-resistant suits and air equipment for firefighters. The early Wednesday morning fire remains under investigation. A state fire marshal and insurance investigators were at the site Friday. The building contained seven fire vehicles and two ambulances, including a new ambulance received in November, according to a story by Adelie Bergstrom in the Duluth News Tribune. No one was injured in the blast and fire, although a town police officer had left the building less than two hours before it was reported.

Local photographer and island resident Hannah Stonehouse Hudson started a GoFundMe campaign for expenses not covered by insurance, and as a thank you to the Madeline Island emergency services workers who helped recover her husband, a guide who died when he plunged through the ice into the Lake on his snowmobile in 2003. As of Friday afternoon, $5,132 has been raised, but the hope is to raise the equal of an anonymous $100,000 matching grant made in memory of Barb Rogers, a fundraiser for many causes and people on Madeline Island. Other donations include an ambulance and two pumpers from the Fire Department in Tomahawk and a training trailer, air packs and cascade system from WITC-Superior. Several residents have offered space in their homes for the police officers, who do not live on the island but stay overnight. The town also may rent a home until the fire hall is rebuilt.

Holding Steady: The recent U.S. Army

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