The Superior Fire Department is taking one thing off the list of worries that comes with the job.
"Every time we go into a fire, there are carcinogens we are exposed to," Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger said. He said under normal circumstances, the firefighters clean their gear and the byproducts of combustion are washed away.
That wasn't the case after the Husky Energy refinery fire.
The byproducts were "sticky and gooey" and couldn't be cleaned from the gear, Panger said..
So now the Superior Fire Department is replacing 30 sets of turnout gear - pants and jackets worn by firefighters - paid for with a settlement with Husky Energy.
Superior's City Council waived bid requirements Tuesday, Oct. 2, to allow the fire department to replace turnout gear for firefighters who responded to the Husky Energy refinery fire April 26.
Husky reimbursed the city almost $106,592 to cover the costs.
"The intent of the funding is to immediately replace current turnout gear," Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger wrote in a memo to the City Council. "The funding will be sufficient for the purchase of new turnout gear for every firefighter that responded to the Husky Fire."
Panger said that firefighters have been required to use backup gear. He cited firefighter safety as the reason for expediting the purchase.
"It is important that replacement of this frontline gear not be delayed any further," Panger stated in the memo.
The proposed gear will be purchased from Jefferson Fire and Safety for a total of $90,450.
The balance of the settlement will be used for future purchases, Panger said, adding it will help pay for boots that were ruined as a result of fighting the fire.
"I really want to take that off the list," Panger said.