MABAS system helps stop fire in Onalaska recycling facility

The smoke pouring out of Dynamic Lifecycle in the town of Onalaska this morning was ominous looking. The Holmen Fire Department was quickly called, but those firefighters were not alone.

“We activated the box alarm, so that gives us active help instead of calling out to the unit,” explained Fire Chief Frank Garrow of the Holmen Fire Department.

With some help from the La Crosse Fire Department, fire crews were able to contain the fire in under a half an hour, and they agreed to send in a certain number of firefighters and trucks long before the fire started.

“The system is set up by each department pre-determining what they want from each type of fire,” said Assistant Chief Jeff Murphy of the La Crosse Fire Department.

In this case, departments set up who they’re going to call, and how many they’re going to call in for a large commercial building. And like in this situation, the town’s fire department isn’t always the first to respond to a fire in their area.

“We don’t want to pull all the resources from the immediate area, so if they have an incident they’re not struggling for help,” explained Garrow.

Making sure departments aren’t stretched too thinly is also why several departments are called in.

“When you create the box, or the cards, you never go too deep into one department,” elaborated Murphy.

Because the system heavily relies on the manpower of neighboring departments, there is an understanding in place.

“There is an agreement between the communities that the communities wouldn’t take advantage of the system, but at the same time we’d be available to each other at no charge,” said Murphy.

While firefighters are helping each other within the system, ultimately they’re helping those who need them the most.

“Everybody’s safe. That’s the most important thing. Nobody was injured,” said President of Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations Curt Greeno.

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