LAKE PARK, Minn. — It wasn't that long ago that Lake Park firefighters battled an elevator fire in the middle of town. The small town in Becker County has a full roster of 24 volunteers, and like many towns in lakes country, this fire department is looking for some dedicated men and women to join.

"The thing is, when somebody calls and we are their call for help, we have to answer," said Lake Park fire chief Dave Coufal.

On Wednesday, June 9, Lake Park, Detroit Lakes and six other departments will host open houses to recruit volunteer firefighters. Terry Fullerton of Lake Park is one of the newer members of the department that started in 1908.

"I like everything about it, the people I am here with, the people you help, for me it is just like a second family," Fullerton said.

The fire department pays for all the training, and that training is needed because these firefighters never know what they will face. They may be called to pick up a senior off the floor at one call, help at a car crash on Highway 10 on the next call and put out an elevator fire after that.

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During the application process, a volunteer's family is involved to make sure all are on board with the decision to join. Small towns survive on volunteerism, and these fire departments can save both towns and lives.

The following fire departments will be having open houses on Wednesday from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.:

  • Lake Park.
  • Detroit Lakes.
  • Audubon.
  • Callaway.
  • Frazee.
  • Wolf Lake.
  • Elbow-Tulaby Lakes.
  • Carsonville.