Basin Electric employee puts firefighting training to use


Joe Fiedler, Basin Electric superintendent of Operations for North Dakota/Wyoming/Montana, (third from left) helps extinguish a vehicle fire at a gas station in Culbertson, Montana.

Joe Fiedler, Basin Electric superintendent of Operations for North Dakota/Wyoming/Montana, was able to put his Basin Electric firefighting training to use Feb. 6 in Culbertson, Montana.

Fiedler was traveling through Culbertson that evening when they noticed a man hurriedly unloading possessions from a van parked at a gas station. Looking closer, they could see a fire underneath the vehicle’s hood.

“The van had struck a deer east of Culbertson, and they drove into town and parked at the gas station to investigate the damage,” Fiedler says. “That’s when the engine caught fire.”

As someone called 911, Fiedler realized there likely wasn’t time to drive the remaining six blocks to his home to grab fire extinguishers. Thinking quickly, he hurried to the high school across the street and grabbed two fire extinguishers and extinguished the fire.

“Basin Electric’s emergency response and firefighting training focuses on the safety of people first and foremost, and then report the incident to obtain assistance,” Fiedler says. “In the case of a fire like this, we’re trained to locate the nearest fire extinguisher and then how to use it correctly to fight incipient stage fires.”

According to Kelly Schafer, distributed generation safety coordinator, Basin Electric’s distributed generation employees refresh on firefighting tactics every year. The training is mostly focused on fires that are just starting, Schafer says, to contain or evacuate from a hazardous situation.

“Distributed generation employees use the Basin Electric firefighting simulator, Learning Management System, and safety videos to review firefighting tactics on an annual basis,” Schafer said. “Firefighting procedures are also discussed when reviewing the emergency action plan and with the emergency responders during the annual meetings conducted at each distributed generation facility.

The facilities Fiedler leads are Culbertson Generation Station, Pioneer Generation Station, Lonesome Creek Station, PrairieWinds 1 and Minot Wind, and the Wyoming Distributed Generation Project.


  1. Good job, Joe!

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