Ferris wheel training

Jeff Kiessel | daily news

Pere Marquette Firefighters use their 75-foot ladder truck during a training on the T.J. Schmidt & Company Ferris wheel Monday. The training was held Monday for both the Pere Marquette and Ludington fire departments at the Mason County Fairgrounds. High winds, heavy rain and lightning forced the two departments to cancel the training about 20-minutes into the exercise.

PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — High winds, heavy rain and lightning quickly ended a night of training for both the Ludington and Pere Marquette fire departments. The training would have been a first for both fire chiefs Jerry Funk and Larry Gaylord.

Monday the Western Michigan Fair Association and T.J. Schmidt & Company opened up the midway for the fire departments to train on the carnival’s iconic Ferris wheel.

Long time Ludington Fire Department Chief Jerry Funk, who has been with the department for almost 50 years, can’t remember a time that his department has had the opportunity to train on midway rides at the Western Michigan Fair.

On Monday, both the Ludington and Pere Marquette Fire departments had that opportunity.

The Western Michigan Fair Board along with T.J. Schmidt & Company provided the opportunity for the departments to train on the Ferris wheel, extracting people from the top of the ride in case that scenario ever occurred in Mason or Oceana counties.

“We realize that T.J. Schmidt & Company rides are inspected and safe, but just in case we would ever have to rescue somebody either here at the Western Michigan Fair or at the Oceana County Fair, we want to be able and ready to that,” said Ross Kissel, training officer with Pere Marquette Fire Department.

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