By Eileen Bailey
ABERDEEN – Dorothy Schrock and the junior volunteers of the Cedar Creek Volunteer Fire Department moved quickly to help replace the oxygen tank on the firefighter’s back.
Members of the Cedar Creek department, along with members from the Prairie Volunteer Fire Department, assisted the Aberdeen Fire Department in battling a blaze Wednesday that destroyed one of the city’s historic buildings.
About 20 of the 27 members of the Cedar Creek Volunteer Fire Department, a majority of whom are from the Mennonite community located there, responded to the blaze.
Mennonites are members of an evangelical Christian sect. Members oppose military service and the holding of public office and they favor plain dress.
While the male members of the volunteer department helped knock down flames, both inside and out, Schrock and the junior volunteers checked air tanks and made sure firefighters had plenty of fluids to drink.
Schrock is a trained firefighter and could go in buildings and battle blazes, but said she coordinates efforts to help the firefighters instead. “We try to help where we can,”she said.
Younger members of the community, both male and female, take part in the fire department by becoming junior volunteers. There were six junior volunteers helping out at the Aberdeen fire. The youths receive training and will remain junior volunteers until they are 18. Juniors can only help outside and cannot go into burning buildings, Schrock said.
The Cedar Creek Volunteer Fire Department members began training in 1987 and 1988. They received their truck in 1989 and later purchased their own first-response truck.
There are 350 households in Cedar Creek Fire District served by the fire department.