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State’s firefighters meeting in Bemidji

BEMIDJI — Hundreds of firefighters from across the state will converge at the Sanford Center this weekend.

They’ll be here for the annual Minnesota State Fire Department Association conference. More than 300 firefighters, more than 200 of their spouses, will be in town for the event, said Bemidji Fire Department Chief Dave Hoefer.

The weekend will include several public events, such as a street dance and fundraiser, a memorial service and a parade. But firefighters will also be meeting to discuss issues pertinent to their departments.

"They’ll be a legislative update on what the accomplishments were in the past legislative session," Hoefer said. "And what the membership would like the leadership of the association to do in the upcoming session."

Firefighters will also be conducting some training sessions, Hoefer said.

The fire chief’s, as well as the volunteer firefighters, associations will meet during the conference.

"So, we have meetings that are associated with the different statewide fire associations," Hoefer said.

Hoefer said Bemidji was awarded the conference in 2011. Since then, the MSFDA has gone to a selected rotation, meaning the conference will come back to Bemidji every 12 years.

"From my perspective, I think we’ve got a great community to share and show off to others throughout the state," Hoefer said. "I always enjoy interacting with my peers from throughout the state, just seeing how things are going there."

Minnesota State Fire Department Association conference

7 tonight: 1st Annual Fire and Ice Street Dance on Third Street Northwest in front of Classic Hard Times and Toasty Beaver’s featuring 32 Below. Beer and a full bar will be available with a $7 cover charge.

12:30 p.m. Saturday: Memorial service for 2012’s fallen firefighters at the Sanford Center.

3:30 p.m. Saturday: Grand parade on Beltrami Avenue Northwest in downtown Bemidji.

4:30 p.m. Saturday: Open house at Bemidji fire station No. 1.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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