Lester Prairie Fire Department and First Responders


The Lester Prairie Volunteer Fire Department/First Responders is a group of trained firefighters and first aid personnel members serving the Lester Prairie area.

Anyone may apply to join the department, but he/she must meet physical and training standards, as well as pass a background check & drug test. The candidate must be validated by a committee and go through orientation. More information is available by contacting any fire department member.

After acceptance into the department, the new member is required to successfully complete a Fire Fighter 101 course supplied by the fire department.

The fire department conducts regular monthly business and training meetings and also any special training meetings deemed necessary by the department.

For more information, or to request an application for membership, contact any fire department member, write to PO Box 911, Lester Prairie, MN 55354, or e-mail .

Firefighting techniques have changed, but the Lester Prairie Fire Department has maintained its commitment to protecting the community since 1892, and has developed so well that it has achieved a class 6 insurance rating for the city.

Located at 36 Redwood Street North, the department has approximately 30 volunteer members.

Lester Prairie Fire Department officers are: Jim Hoof, chief; Dave Horsman, assistant chief; Matt Tonn, assistant chief; Steve Dietel, captain; Scott Christenson, captain; Chris Bahr, captain & training officer, Shadd Dial, secretary and Paul Christensen, treasurer. LP Relief Association officers are: Josh Foust, president; Wade Schultz, vice president; Justin Thompson, secretary; & Matt Tonn treasurer.

In addition to responding to fire emergencies, the department is also trained both in first response and hazardous material emergencies.

The volunteer department covers the city proper, the majority of Bergen Township, and a portion of Winsted Township.

In the community, the department has always maintained a policy of prevention over suppression. The department facilitates many activities in the community to make citizens aware of the dangers of fire.

One such activity is a program with school children, grades K-5, which emphasizes prevention and includes a poster contest. Children are taught such techniques as “stop, drop, and roll,” how to find fire exits, how to use a fire alarm, and how to call 911.

The department also hosts open houses and, at times, makes use of a smoke trailer to demonstrate smoky conditions in a house fire.

The members of the department receive training through a vocational system, as well as from in-house instructors Matt Tonn and Chris Bahr. The training includes Fire Fighter 1, 11, and III instruction, and live burns, which are planned fires set for training purposes. There is additional firefighter training once per month, First Responder training three times a year, plus special training. The members are required to take three one-day refresher courses every year.

The department has a business meeting on the first Monday of each month, and training meetings the third Monday of each month.

The fire department is funded largely by tax monies. Contributions and donations to the fire department have allowed them to purchase additional equipment for the fire protection area, at little or no additional cost to taxpayers. Recently, a 3,500-gallon Mack water tanker was added, funded by donations. Volunteers continue to work hard to keep the equipment in top working order.

The department also has a Thermal Imaging Camera, which is used to see through any kind of atmosphere to find hot spots and cool spots

The $20,000 camera has been used during house fires to assure that no occupants remained in the blaze.

Current roster:

Current members of the Lester Prairie Fire Department and First Responders include Don Artmann, Josh Artmann, Chris Bahr, Dan Barrett, Keith Christen, Paul Christenson, Scott Christenson, Paul Dhoore, Shad Dial, Steve Dietel, Dan Kroells, David Dressler, Chris Ehalt, Jeff Forcier, Nick Fosdick, Josh Foust, Andy Heimerl, Jim Hoof, Aaron Hoover, Dave Horsman, Dan Ruschmeier, Kaila Kiefer, Mike Lindberg, Lucas Meyer, Chris Mike, Fred Pawelk, Mike Schauer, Wade Schultz, Justin Thompson, Matt Tonn, and Maurice Tonn.