May 7, 2014

Hazen Fire a matter of volunteers

By Lee Coleman

Being a firefighter is considered perhaps the most dangerous job anyone could have. In Hazen, that doesn’t matter. The entire staff does it because they want to help. From Fire Chief Dan Wettstein throughout his entire roll of 33 firefighters, they do it because duty calls.
And because they love their community. The entire staff of the Hazen Fire Department are all volunteers.
“It has a lot to do with community,” said Wettstein, a firefighter since 1989. “We are in a pretty devoted community where you find these people in rural North Dakota.”
A new firefighter is screened by a committee that makes recommendations whether or not to put a guy on. If accepted, the firefighter must clear one year of probation before he is voted completely in.
“The tough part is the certification,” Wettstein explained. “The state and the federal people mandate the training and the firemen need to go through it but it makes it tougher all the time. It is a major commitment.”
The department has one rescue unit to work nearly a 1,000 square mile area.


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