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Fundraiser helps firefighters get new gear

ARLEE – Caleb Clark, 6, cracked another egg onto a pan and waited for it to cook so it could be dished out to one of several hundred people at the Arlee Volunteer Fire Department’s annual pancake breakfast fundraiser on Wednesday, July 4.

“I like to cook for people,” he said with a smile as he adjusted the oversized gloves on his hands.  Firefighters, emergency responders, and other volunteers cooked hundreds of pancakes and breakfast items during the morning including about 1,000 eggs.

The department’s chief, Sean Parson, said funds from the event are going towards the purchase of new gear for firefighters. “We would like to purchase new coats, pants, helmets and gloves,” he said. Last year, the funds were used to purchase thermal imaging cameras to help firefighters detect heat sources. Volunteer Drew Hendrickson said the event was also about bringing the community together.

Emergency Medical Technician Katie Parson took a moment from dishing up food to share some exciting news. She said the Arlee ambulance crew delivered a baby in the parking lot of Wilson Foods at 3:33 a.m. on June 30. “It was the most amazing thing to happen,” she said.

Katie said the mother was on her way to the hospital along with the baby’s father when they realized they weren’t going to make it. They pulled over at the grocery store and called emergency dispatch. Katie responded to the scene. “The dad was yelling to hurry,” she said.

Katie found the mother in the passenger seat of the truck and realized the baby boy was coming quickly. 

Several more EMTs responded to the call including Timarah Ivanoff and Deb Little. Robert Fisher was the firefighter volunteering to help EMTs transport the mother and child to the ambulance. Dane Morigeau was driving the new ambulance. 

Morigeau said the Arlee emergency responders have helped take women in labor to the hospital, but he doesn’t think they’ve ever delivered a baby. The crew took the mother and baby to the hospital and reported that they were both healthy.

Ivanoff said the crew usually responds to things like car wrecks where they are helping people in danger of losing their lives. She said it was thrilling to be on the opposite end of life and help a baby come into the world.

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