Burlington fire dept. in running for top prize

BURLINGTON The Burlington Rural Fire Department is one of 20 finalists for a top prize of $10,000 in Johnsonville Sausage’s second annual “Best of US” contest.

The contest honors unsung heroes from volunteer fire departments nationwide.

From now until June 20, people can cast their vote online for the Burlington Rural Fire Department at (

bestofus). The top 10 winning volunteer fire departments will be announced on or around June 24.

Johnsonville’s annual contest received 256 nominations, with many firehouses nominated multiple times by members of their community.

Karter Lesmann is Burlington fire chief and Darren Kabanuk, assistant fire chief.

Jennifer Schaefer, safety officer for the fire department, said if they win the contest, they would use the money for training equipment.

Information on the Johnsonville Sausage’s contest website about the Burlington Rural Fire Department includes that the department was established in 1951 and has 25 firefighters, four junior firefighters and one dispatcher. Over the last several years, the department’s mission has changed to include heavy rescue and extrication, rope rescue and water and ice rescue. Training is critical for the firefighters. The department provided critical support during two major floods. The department also is a community resource throughout the year including conducting fire prevention and education in the elementary school, hosting a pancake breakfast and haunted house each Halloween and helping the senior citizens center each month with their breakfast.

“The Burlington department epitomizes the true spirit of a volunteer, its members have the same sense of pride and ownership that its founding members did back in 1951. Although the methods have changed over the years, the department’s values have not. The spirit of America is alive and well in Burlington, North Dakota,” the information also says.