Ann Lundberg is mainly known around campus as a writing and rhetoric professor, but in her spare time, she fights fires in Orange City.
Although Lundberg played with fire truck toys as a little girl, she became interested in joining the fire department when she was asked to attend training. After Lundberg went out to a couple small fires, she was hooked.
Upon moving to Orange City, Lundberg was featured in the Capital Democrat about her fire department service. Afterward, NW math professor, Tim Huffman, also a volunteer firefighter, asked if she was interested in joining the OC fire department. Lundberg has been there ever since.
Lundberg’s favorite part about this job is the camaraderie between the team members.
“I remember just feeling impressed by how well we worked together,” Lundberg said. “We did things that had to be done and used judgment on where we would individually best serve in this particular fire. The operation went well, and the majority of the house was saved.”
The certification process takes an average of about 15 months. The process includes filling out the application, interviewing and submitting recommendations from coworkers. Applicants then receive three months of specific training and put in countless hours of field experience.
Nathan Westphal is currently going through this process. A freshman from Hartley, Iowa, he also has experience in the firefighting field.
Westphal’s desire to help people within the community inspired him to join the Hartley and Orange City fire departments.
“One fun thing is just being in the truck,” Westphal said. “[It’s fun to] ride between the station and the fire scene with the adrenaline rushing through you.”
Westphal encourages anyone who has the chance to volunteer with any organization to do so.
He explained that this experience has brought an inexpressible joy and has taught him the true gift of giving.
While everyone is running out of the burning buildings, these firefighters are running in to save people.
An example of this is the chemical fire at Vogel Paint store that occured last week.
Westphal and Lundberg were placed on the second-due apparatus and did not get off the truck at the scene.
However, OC chief Dennis Vander Wel explained the fire was outside the structure and was contained to the aerosol propellant pump.
The pump had a leak they were not aware of, but Vogel employees were working on the pump. The pump was cold so they were heating it with a torch, which caused the ignition of the propellant.
Vogel employees were able to extinguish the fire with several fire extinguishers before OC’s arrival.
One employee did receive minor burns. Le Mars and Sioux Center were placed on stand-by until firefighters were able to assess the situation.
Thanks to volunteers like Lundberg and Westphal, small towns like Orange City can remain safe.