The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Four-alarm birthday

Hurley Fire Department rolls out to help celebrations


May 8, 2020

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe Lt. Les Harris, left, and Chief Mike Sejbl, right, of the Hurley Fire Department, celebrate the birthdays of Harris' 6-year-old twin grandsons, Kyler Rieb, left, and Kayden Rieb, who show their ages with their fingers in their excitement as several HFD trucks stop at their home on a rainy May 1 afternoon along Wisconsin 77 in Gile.

GILE, Wis. - The Hurley Fire Department wants to help make childrens birthdays a little more fun as they remain relatively home-bound during the coronavirus pandemic.

The department will be part of birthdays for kids ages 3 to 6 in the city of Hurley, for the duration of the shutdown order when kids can get out and visit people again, said HFD Chief Mike Sejbl. 

"We're going to continue that until things get back to somewhat normal," Sejbl said.

Several HFD trucks and some personnel will stop at the curb with a happy birthday sign and hand out goody bags. The 10-item bag has the plastic fire helmets that kids love, along with a coloring book and crayons, and a fire prevention information packet with stickers that all relates to kids, he said.

"It's education stuff really," Sejbl said. "We put the bag by the curb for the birthday kids and other younger kids in the house."

The fire department works all year with kids in schools and at community events to learn about fire safety to include extinguishers and how to plan a home fire escape route, he said. The gift bags describe ways in which the kids can work with their families to learn and practice these life-saving skills in a fun and age-appropriate way.

"We put the bag by the curb for the birthday kids and other younger kids in the house, and whenever we have different functions we bring the goody bags," Sejbl said.

A few times a year the HFD invites area kindergarten and first-grade classes to come to the firehall, he said. The firefighters talk about the equipment and training and show the kids how they can support the work of the HFD at home.

On Friday evening the HFD held a special birthday visit in Gile, where Kyler and Kayden Rieb, the twin grandsons of HFD Lt. Les Harris, and nephews of his son, HFD firefighter Les Harris Jr.

"My dad is a firefighter," said Lauren Baisden, the mother of the twins and their elder brother, Liem, age 7. "They get the golden treatment."

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe Kayden Rieb and Kyler Rieb, 6-year-old twins, show their excitement as the Hurley Fire Department drives up to their home to help celebrate their birthdays on May 1.

The two boys were celebrating their 6th birthday along with their elder brother, Liem, age 7, their mother Baisden, and their father, Joe Kolberg. The three didn't mind the wait out in the rain as their mother said something special was going to happen until the fire trucks came down Cary Road with the lights and horns.

"They didn't know what was going to happen," Baisden said.

The event was unusual in that the HFD responded to a small fire alarm at a home just a few doors down around two hours previous to the 6:30 p.m. birthday call, Sejbl said. 

"What are the odds?" Sejbl said.

An outdoor cooking fire had spread to a part of a structure but was extinguished quickly, he said. By the time the firefighters got back to the station they had 45 minutes until the birthday visit.

Another birthday visit was scheduled for a Range View Apartments home at 1 p.m. (on Tuesday), he said.

Sejbl said that anyone in the Hurley area with a child between the ages of 3 and 10 with a birthday coming up can call 715-360-7078 to arrange for an HFD birthday visit.


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