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RFD firefighter receives oil-fire training

Rosemount firefighter Bruce Sword was among a group of four area firefighters that received a scholarship through Flint Hills Resources for specialty training.

The firefighters traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas and received training in industrial emergency response. Sword explained that refinery fires differ from what he sees on a daily basis as a member of the Rosemount Fire Department. Specifically, he said there are special considerations when dealing with petroleum products.

“The refinery is a different animal. It was good to get more experience and training on those types of fires,” said Sword.

The three-day sessions included hands-on instruction in all aspects of industrial emergency response. During the sessions Sword and the other firefighters had the opportunity to battle live, pressurized petroleum fires.

Sword said the training was very physical and required a lot of teamwork. He also had the opportunity to train at night, which was a much different experience.

While challenging, Sword said the training provided him with a lot of knowledge that he will bring back to the department and share.

“It was well worth it,” said Sword.

Flint Hills offers the training to departments that provide mutual assistance to the refinery. The refinery staffs its own fire department but from time to time calls in other departments for help.

The refinery also sent Jamie Stevens from the Hastings Fire Department, Jon Kemp from the Eagan Fire Department and Corey Rosendale from the Inver Grove Heights Fire Department. Flint Hills covered all travel, lodging and meals for the four men.

“This scholarship program is important to us because it helps prepare firefighters in our area for types of fires that — though rare — require more specialized skills,” said Pete Herpst, deputy fire chief at Flint Hills Resources.  “We want to help strengthen our local fire departments by allowing firefighters to gain experience through realistic simulations.”

Flint Hills Resources operates a refinery in Rosemount. Additionally the company has refineries in North Pole, Alaska and Corpus Christi, Texas.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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