WICFD shines in Upper Peninsula competition

In a show of nearly complete dominance, the West Iron County Fire Department sparked past its Upper Peninsula competition in the 120th Annual Upper Peninsula Volunteer Firefighters’ Association Tournament held over three days in Quinnesec.

For the fourth-straight year, West Iron’s volunteer firefighters topped the field of departments – all which are manned by volunteers in unquestionable fashion.

A pair of Marquette County departments – Skandia-West Branch and Champion – finished in second and third places, respectively, Florence (Wisconsin) claimed fourth place and Caspian-Gaastra took fifth. The Caspian-Gaastra co-op department serves its communities less than five miles from Iron River where the West Iron crew is based, meaning this small portion of the Upper Peninsula has as much firefighter in the veins of its population as anything else.

West Iron Chief Al Perlongo was proud of his firefighters for their continued reign, and rightfully so.

“We have a good bunch of guys and a good group of wives supporting us,” Perlongo said in a weekend article published in The Iron Mountain Daily News. “They’re devoted and they work hard at it.”

Of the events comprising the competition, West Iron finished in first place in five: the horse relay, ladder race, interchange race, dress parade (tied with Skandia-West Branch) and commercial parade (tied with Champion).

The firefighters take pride in showing off their skills – the tournament may look and feel like games to the crowd – which are vital to the practical application of their trade: Fighting a fire. And apparently when it comes to this type of competition, West Iron County does it better than any of its peers.

The competition will stay in the southern Upper Peninsula for the next two years as Crystal Falls will be the site in 2015 and Iron River will host the tournament in 2016.

Our congratulations go out to all the volunteer fire departments in the U.P., and especially to West Iron County.

Keep up the good work.