Muscatine Fire Department Training Burn Scheduled For Saturday

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Muscatine Fire Department will be conducting a training burn on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the former Beach Lumber Company on Hershey Avenue. The training session will close that portion of Hershey Avenue from Ash to Green Streets for most of the day.

“This is an opportunity to facilitate interagency cooperation and conduct hands-on training in a more controlled environment that we would have at an actual fire,” Muscatine Fire Department Captain Gary Ronzheimer said.

Ronzheimer is coordinating the training session that will involve between 70-80 firefighters from throughout the area. The main building closest to the street and a garage on the property will be used in the training session but several other outbuildings will not be used.

“Safety is our primary concern, for the firefighters, for the equipment, and for the public,” Ronzheimer said. “Hershey Avenue will be blocked off starting at 7 a.m. and the training fire will begin at approximately 1 p.m.”

Local residents and local businesses will have access to their homes and businesses until the time of the fire. The area will be cleared and a space for residents to view the training fire will be established at the intersection of Green Street and Hershey Avenue.

The fire department distributed door knockers this week to alert residents in the surrounding neighborhood of the upcoming training exercise.

“Weather conditions will play a large part in how the smoke moves up and out from the fire,” Ronzheimer said. “Anyone that lives in the area and could be affected by the smoke should find somewhere else to be until the burn is completed.”

Muscatine Fire Department will also have units standing by in case embers from the fire would spread and cause unintended fires.

“We are ready for any contingency,” Ronzheimer said. “The weather should prevent the spread of the embers but you have to be ready for any possibility.”

Detour for the training exercise will be the same as the flood detour with signage posted around the affected area to direct motorists. Traffic will be diverted to Main Street, to West Eighth Street, and to Iowa Avenue.

“Safety is the main reason for the street closure,” Ronzheimer said. “We want to make sure of the safety for our firefighters, for our equipment, and for the public.”

The hydrants that will be used in the training burn are located on the opposite side of Hershey Avenue which means the fire departments big five-inch lines will be running across the roadway.

“We do not need to have those lines damages or cause what is called a water hammer,” Ronzheimer said. “That is when the line, which has water moving at a high rate of speed, is closed off and forcing the water pressure back toward the hydrant and water lines where a lot of damage can occur.”

The Fire Department conducts training almost every day but a training burn does not occur that often.

“We do a lot of training in other areas such as HAZMAT but it is at least a couple of years or more between training burns like the exercise we have this weekend,” Ronzheimer said. “This is great experience for our younger firefighters and volunteers to gain the experience they will need in the event of an actual fire.”

Instructors for the training exercise come from the Blue Grass, Durant, Muscatine, and West Liberty Fire Departments among others.

Beach Lumber Company consists of eight buildings and sits on 3.5 acres of land near the Mississippi River. The property was owned by Carver Riverfront Real Estate, Inc., prior to being donated to the City of Muscatine by the Carver family. The location is adjacent to the site of a former Carver Pump factory. That area was acquired and cleared by the City of Muscatine in 1999.


Muscatine receives 23rd consecutive CAFR award


The Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the City of Muscatine for the 23rd consecutive year by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award recognizes the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) prepared for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, by the City of Muscatine Finance Department.

“We are very proud of the hard work and dedication by the members of our financial department,” Gregg Mandsager, City Administrator, said. “It is impressive that we have had 23 straight years of receiving this award and it is a tribute to the past and present staff members.”

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

“This award recognizes our endeavors to ensure the report meets and exceeds all required regulations,” Nancy Lueck, City of Muscatine finance director, said. “We are honored that our work to write a complete and understandable financial report of the City of Muscatine is recognized once again.”

Lueck has been with the finance department since 1977 and has served as its director since 2005.

Muscatine was one of 22 municipalities in Iowa to receive the award along with seven counties and 13 school districts.

The City of Muscatine was earlier awarded the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the 32nd consecutive year. In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan and as a communications device.

The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional organization serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C.

The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program) in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.  The goal of the program is not to assess the financial health of participating governments, but rather to ensure that users of their financial statements have the information they need to do so themselves.

Reports submitted to the CAFR program are reviewed by selected members of the GFOA professional staff and the GFOA Special Review Committee (SRC), which comprises individuals with expertise in public sector financial reporting and includes financial statement preparers, independent auditors, academics, and other finance professionals.