Ohse Farms donates use of irrigation wells to fire departments

September 16, 2013
Zake Zwagerman demonstrates how the irrigation well will work with fire departments.

Zake Zwagerman demonstrates how the irrigation well will work with fire departments.

BRANCH TWP. – Firefighters in eastern Mason County have a couple new water sources to help them fight fires. Ohse Farms has donated access to two irrigation wells for use in emergencies. Representatives from Branch Twp., Custer Twp., Fountain Area and Scottville fire departments tested out one of the sites on Larsen Road north of Hansen Road Monday night.

“This is just a way to help out the fire departments and to help out our neighbors,” said Jake Zwagerman, farm manager. “Just last year a man died around the corner from here in a house fire. Who knows, perhaps if the fire department had quicker access to water a life might have been saved.”

The Larsen Road well pumps 900 gallons of water a minute. Firefighters filled a 2,000 tanker truck in four minutes.

“That’s quite a bit faster than even a fire hydrant,” said Larry Larr of Custer Fire Department. Larry and his brother, Scottville Fire Chief Dale Larr, engineered the fittings for the wells, allowing the departments’ equipment to connect.

Another well is located near the intersection of Custer and Dewey roads in Sherman Township.

Custer Assistant Chief Larry Crawford, who also works for Ohse Farms, took the lead in making the contact between the farm and the fire departments. “This is something that can save us valuable time,” Crawford said. “Typically out in this area we are about 15 minutes away from a reliable water source.”

Often firefighters in rural areas have to use water from a pond or a swamp, which can create havoc on equipment.

“Having access to clean water makes a major difference,” Crawford said. “We’re all very thankful that this could happen. We would also be happy to help talk to other farmers around the county how they could set up a similar operation.”


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