Oto Fire Department receives support from Battle Creek Fire Department after equipment freezes

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OTO, Iowa (KCAU) – An unexpected power failure during the extreme cold this past week forced the Oto Fire Department to go out of service.

The Oto Fire Department found all of their trucks were filled with ice due to the freezing of the water inside.

The 15 member volunteer department spent days removing the ice that had rooted the rigs to the floor. The freeze resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

“She told me that everything in the fire station was froze, and it was all broke, and the thoughts that ran through my mind of not being able to protect the community that we serve,” said Oto Fire Department Chief Jason Weber.

The department wasn’t alone, surrounding townships stepped in to cover their 60 square mile area. Battle Creek even loaned them a spare engine, so they could get back to helping others.

“About 15 years ago, we had the same thing happen to us, and at that time, we had a couple departments step in. Ida Grove and Galva each let us use some trucks, so we knew exactly what we were gonna do in this situation. They need the help, and we’re gonna get it to them,” said Justin Reitz with the Battle Creek Fire Department.

Like many volunteer fire departments, the Oto Fire Department depends on donations and grants to survive. The cost of repairing the trucks will be much more than their normal operating budget, and they said they are looking for all the help they can get.

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