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Fire department duels for building donations

HAYWARD — The Hayward Fire Relief Association will host Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos on July 14 in the 4-H Building at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds to raise funds to renovate or rebuild the fire department’s outdated fire hall.

The decision on what to do with the building has not been made yet. The Hayward Fire Department is gathering proposals for both options that should be presented to the Hayward City Council next month, said Hayward volunteer firefighter Scott Eilertson.

The most profound obstacle the department faces is a lack of space, according to Luke Nielsen, president of the Hayward Fire Relief Association and volunteer firefighter.

“Everything is getting bigger,” Nielsen said of the trucks and equipment they use.

“We need a bigger shed before we can look at updating equipment,” Hayward Fire Chief Eric Knutson added.

Fire trucks are parked bumper to bumper in the Hayward fire hall, leaving little room for the department to acquire new trucks that are larger in size. – Kelly Wassenberg/Albert Lea Tribune

While there is no debate among the firefighters about the problem at hand, the solution is evasive.

“We have to look at proposals from both sides, and see which route we can afford to go,” Eilertson said.

Costs are only one factor in the decision making, as both men said current building codes may have a significant part in whether or not adding onto the property is an option.

Nielsen said either option would be fine.

“We just need space,” he said.

After going to the City Council with the proposal, Eilertson said a contribution from the city and grant options would be explored. To help continue to raise funds for the approved option,  Eilertson said he hopes Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos will become an annual event.

The night of fundraising will begin at 6 p.m. with a social hour. Geneva Bar & Grill will provide a complimentary appetizer bar, and there will be a cash bar for drinks. The musical comedy act will begin at 7:30 p.m.

“This is gonna be a fun night for the entire community,” Nielsen said.

Tickets may be purchased from any Hayward volunteer firefighter or at Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tickets purchased in advance are $35 and tickets purchased at the door will be $40.

For more information on the fundraising event, call Jeff Nelson at 507-383-1723.