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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

TOWER FIRE DEPARTMENT

City, Greenwood business owner seek answers in fire truck incident

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 7/15/20

TOWER— City officials and a Greenwood Township business owner are seeking resolution to a July 10 incident during which the Tower Fire Chief struck and damaged a building at the Red Rock …

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TOWER FIRE DEPARTMENT

City, Greenwood business owner seek answers in fire truck incident

Posted

TOWER— City officials and a Greenwood Township business owner are seeking resolution to a July 10 incident during which the Tower Fire Chief struck and damaged a building at the Red Rock Mini-Storage facility with the city’s primary fire engine.
The chief initially reported the incident, which caused damage to the PT-1 fire engine, to members of the fire department and her supervisor, but did not initially report the accident to Red Rock owner Scott Kregness.
Kregness discovered the damage to a corner of one of his buildings this past weekend. When he replayed security camera footage to see who might have caused the damage, he saw footage of the city’s main engine enter his premises and travel around a set of buildings before exiting the property and continuing north on Cty. Rd. 77 a few minutes later. It appears the engine was too large for a tight corner and ended up striking the building, pushing a crash pylon into the corner and damaging a portion of the building’s eaves.
The security footage did not reveal the driver of the vehicle, but Chief Paige Olson acknowledged that she had been driving at the time. A second member of the department was a passenger at the time.
The purpose of the truck’s visit to the mini-storage is unclear. Chief Olson did not respond to questions from the Timberjay about her reasons for driving the city’s truck to Greenwood, although she did say in a statement that Red Rock was not her destination and she had apparently turned into the facility by mistake. There was no mutual aid request from Greenwood at the time and it does not appear to have been a training exercise.
In either case, said Kregness, the fire department had no permission to enter his property. “There was absolutely no reason for them to be there,” said Kregness, who has served as Greenwood Fire Chief in the past. “I was completely shocked when I watched the videos.”
Kregness reported the incident to the St. Louis County Sheriff this past Sunday. Sheriff Ross Litman confirmed on Wednesday that the incident is under investigation, but few details were available.
As of Monday, Kregness said no one from the city had contacted him about the incident, which has been a source of frustration for him. “A courtesy phone call would have gone a long way,” he said.
Mayor Orlyn Kringstad, after meeting with Chief Olson on Tuesday to hear details of the incident, did speak to Kregness to assure him that the city will take responsibility for the damage. “The city is weighing its options and working with the property owner to resolve the situation and comply with any regulations that might apply,” said Kringstad.
Kregness said Chief Olson also contacted him about the incident on Tuesday and the League of Minnesota Cities insurance trust has also been in touch, alerting him that the city has reported the anticipated claim.
In her statement, Olson indicates she was not aware of any damage to Kregness’s building until Sunday when she received a call from the sheriff’s office. She said she contacted the city’s insurance carrier on Monday to report the incident. Olson said she believed the damage was limited to the truck’s running boards, which impacted with a crash pylon located at the corner of the building. She said it was not clear to her that the crash pylon had been damaged from the impact with the truck since she did not know its original condition.
The Timberjay will update this story if and when more information becomes available.

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  • jlh

    Those Greenwood people are a bunch of Gol Darn"Nit Pickers" Like the ones from "Eaglets Nuts" were before they divided the Township of Breitung. Pury pettiness from disgruntled residents with an ax to grind about everything. Hey --Where in Crisis Pandemice for pete sakes. Lighten up everyone we are all in this together. "Keep your stick on the Ice.. Be well and be safe. I am still pulling for ya. Very entertaining...

    Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Report this

  • I agree, soon Marshall will be reporting that someone was looking at somebody funny!

    Thursday, July 16, 2020 Report this