Town of French Volunteer Fire Dept and EMS

side-lake-fire-hallMission statement:
To provide French Township and its surrounding contract areas with a well-trained organization to prevent or safely minimize losses to life and property from fire and other emergencies, at the highest level with the resources available.

As of August 2020, the department had 26 members: 16 firefighters, 7 EMS, and 5 who do both.

We always welcome your interest in joining the Volunteer Fire Department. If you are interested in joining please click the link to download the application and return it to the address at the top of the application.

Town of French Volunteer Fire Department Membership Application

Town of French Volunteer EMS Membership Application

Since 1979, our department has been paged to many calls over the years. Firefighters have responded to many incidents, including structure fires, vehicle fires, wildland fires, car accidents, downed power lines, snowmobile mishaps, searches, boating accidents, and carbon monoxide alarms. In 2020 alone, our firefighters responded to 30 fire calls.

The EMS branch of our department was organized in 1992.  Anytime the ambulance is called in our coverage area, our first responders are also dispatched and will be first on scene in an emergency. In 2020, our EMS members responded to 62 medical calls.

In addition to the 36 square miles of French Township, the department also has primary responsibility for 6 square miles of South Bearville Township and 1 square mile of Unorganized Township 59-22 (both in Itasca County), and 1 square mile of Unorganized Township 59-21 in St. Louis County, for a total of 44 square miles. EMS coverage extends to all of 59-21 in conjunction with Chisholm Ambulance. Additionally, the department has mutual aid agreements with Bearville, Evergreen, Chisholm, Kinney-Great Scott, and Greaney-Rauch-Silverdale fire departments. Equipment agreements for wildland fire are also in place with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and the US Forest Service.

The department maintains 4 emergency vehicles: one pumper, one pumper/tender, one water tender, and a rescue truck. In addition to these vehicles, we also have portable pumps, a defibrillator and 12-lead ECG, a rescue sled, some basic extrication tools, and water emergency equipment including four ice water rescue suits – to name just a few items we have on our department.

The fire hall was completed and occupied in 1989, featuring sub-slab electrical heat and 3000 gallons of overhead water storage. In 1992, in cooperation with the DNR, the department developed a Major Incident Action Plan to deal with a large fire or other complex disaster. The plan has served as a template for agencies in other parts of Minnesota, and received recognition on the national level.

Fire Chief: P.J. Bjur, 218-969-3323,

EMS Coordinator: Alyssa Jerulle,

Box 41, Side Lake, MN 55781