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Communities feeling firefighter shortage

Fires over the weekend in Albert lea and Austin is shining a light on the need for firefighter volunteers.

Posted: Dec 10, 2018 9:50 PM
Updated: Dec 10, 2018 9:51 PM

ALBERT LEA, Minn.-When there’s a fire you call 911, but the Austin and Albert Lea Fire Departments are experiencing fewer applications than in years past.

“It can be the stress of the job,” said Austin Fire Chief Jim McCoy.
Over the weekend there were two fires in the neighboring cities.

In Albert Lea, Fire Rescue and Albert Lea Police Department responded around 8:00 p.m. to the 600 block of East 5th Street.

A person passing by made the call after seeing smoke and fire coming from the home.
When first responders arrived, smoke and fire was showing from the house on the south and east sides.
Authorities say entry was difficult because the fire had burned through a portion of the first and second floors.
Glenville Fire was called in to assist with the crew.
Crews remained on scene for about six hours to fully extinguish the flames.
No one was home during the fire, so no injuries were reported.
The house is considered a total loss and the damage estimate comes to roughly $100,000.
We're told the Red Cross is assisting the family with temporary housing.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

In Austin, Another house is destroyed after a fire Sunday morning.
Austin Fire Department responded around 6:45 a.m. to the 500 block of 8th Street NE.

Commander Tom Schulte says a man who lives there was home at the time, but was able to get out safely.
The house is a total loss, and the man is now displaced.
Fire officials say there cause was a man drying his pants with a heating device in a deep freezer in his basement. There were no injuries.

“We can always need extra hands during a incident,” said Albert Lea Fire Chief Jeff Laskowske.

To help out Austin and Albert Lea contact the fire station to see how you can give your time.

Albert Lea-(507) 377-4340

Austin-(507) 433-3405

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