The Chaska Fire Department held its annual open house Monday, Sept. 12, from 5-8 p.m. for the first time since 2019. Between the bouncy houses, fire safety learning opportunities, fire truck rides and free hot dogs, popcorn and Qudoba, there was something for every age.

“Most important thing is the education of our youth and adults,” said volunteer firefighter Stephanie Filreis. “We just don’t talk about it often.”

There are certain messages the department was trying to push this year, such as “close before you doze,” in reference to closing bedroom doors at night to hold off fires longer, and to not go back inside a burning home for a pet.

“We work to deliver certain messages very appropriately and tastefully for all age groups,” Filreis said.

Before the burn demonstration, Chaska Fire Chief Stephen Kraus announced that three new firefighters — Jordan Clarksean, Alex Koch, and Mike Mawdsley — would be sworn in.

The firefighters started with the department in July 2021.

“Mike, Jordan and Alex — as you receive your badge tonight it’s important to remember that the badge you receive has always been a symbol of authority,” Kraus said to the new firefighters. “However, with that authority comes a tremendous responsibility to its wearer to bring honor to themselves, to Chaska Fire and to the City of Chaska.”

After Kraus spoke, Mayor Mark Windschitl took the microphone and led the three in the Oath of Office.

Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Gravalin then gave a short talk on fire safety while the crowd excitedly waited for the pièce de résistance of the evening — the burn demonstration.

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