The Rice Lake Fire Department has hired one of its paid on-call firefighters to full-time employment. 

Eric Mattmiller was hired Feb. 20 and will have his first shift March 11. Mattmiller has been an on-call firefighter for the City for about 15 years, Chief Jim Resac said. Resac said the hiring raises staffing levels to 12 on-shift firefighters plus himself. 

Resac also stated that the fire department would be switching its Class B  fire suppression foam to an agent that would meet new state requirements for use of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are contaminants that can seep into the water supply.

Governor Tony Evers signed a bill earlier this month that restricts the use of foam containing PFAS to emergency situations only.

“I will say that in my nearly 28 years as the fire chief in Rice Lake, I can count the number of times we have used Class B foam on one hand, the last being the aircraft fire which occurred at the airport coming up on 2 years ago,” Resac wrote in an email.

“As far as training goes, we have not used the actual foam concentrate but instead use a dish washing soap solution to simulate the foam,” Resac wrote.

An additional, Republican-led bill that bans the use of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) was passed by the State Assembly just before the close of its legislative session. 

The bill will be sent to the State Senate, which is expected to meet once more before adjourning, before being sent to the Governor.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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