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By now, you have undoubtedly seen the video.


According to, the two Sedan, MN volunteer firefighters occasionally wear dresses to raise funds for their volunteer fire department.


”The group of volunteers were waiting in line in preparation for Padua’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday when a fire erupted in a truck and the firefighters went to work”.


Volunteer firefighters Ted Aubart and Ben Terhaar, one wearing green and the other wearing red evening gowns are seen manning the hose to extinguish the vehicle fire.


Yes; the video has gone viral and it has made the rounds at all of the major news outlets. This morning on Fox News, the news anchor described the pair as “heroes”.


Now; back in the day, when I was new to the ways of firefighting, it was not uncommon for us to tackle fires dressed only in our “street clothes”. It was part necessity and part stupidity. I say “part necessity” because back then, we didn’t have enough bunker gear to outfit everyone. You were lucky to find a pair of boots that fit. I say “part stupidity” for obvious reasons. Like most; we learned from our mistakes and lived to tell about it.


Several fire service websites and bloggers have taken this story and ran with it. Some have made light of it, while others have pointed out the obvious safety concerns of firefighters not properly attired in full turnout gear with SCBA. Is this a department that believes that it is safe to fight vehicle fires without proper gear? Do they believe that smoke and fire from a burning vehicle is somehow different than “other” smoke and fire? What about polyvinylchloride, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide? Were they wearing heels or pumps? Did they have matching clutch purses?


Volunteer fire departments have been battling image problems for how long? I mean; it’s one thing to dress up like Liza Minelli and sing Broadway tunes in the privacy of your own home, but to do it in public? The money would have to be right; I can tell you that.


I’m not too fond of circus clowns, but men running around in evening gowns with a big hose in their hands is a nightmare from Hell. The one in the red dress was spot on, but the guy in the green dress clashed big time with the color of the fire truck. So, the guy in the red was completely out of touch with the blarney, but gets kudos for accessorizing with a red fire truck. The guy in the green showed his Irish, but looked so gauche with the rest of his ensemble.


And where was the chief? Was he standing just off camera in a dazzling, white Versace evening dress?


Had they gone strapless, I would have scary images running around inside my head of them tanning nude so as not to get tan lines. However; there would have been no concern for straps slipping off of the shoulder had they chosen to go strapless.


Wear your air and hide your back hair!


Now, I come back to my original question: what was so heroic about two guys in evening gowns squirting water on a burning truck?


I can tell you this: you won’t see this kind of “class” at FDIC.




The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. All articles by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without expressed permission.

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Comment by Mike France on March 23, 2012 at 1:07pm

I have seen some comments on this , and it still boggles my mind, we train and teach safety at all times and again we see this happen . When will we learn that something something like will turn and bite us in the butt. Sorry they may be Firefighters , but not hero's .

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