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From left: firefighters Scott Allyn, Matt Myers and Robin Haffner prepare a batch of chili for judging at last year’s Chili Feed and Cook Off fundraiser for New Richmond Fire & Rescue. (Photo by Tom Lindfors)

NRF&R chili feed happening Saturday

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life New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

New Richmond Fire & Rescue is gearing up for its fifth annual chili feed and chili cook-off fundraiser on Saturday, April 12, at the New Richmond Fire Hall, and the general public is invited to take part.

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“It’s not just firefighters cooking chili,” said firefighter Kyle Hinrichs. “It’s open to the public. You can come and cook a gallon of chili in one of three categories, and there’s cash prizes.”

Entries must be called in by April 11. Entry fee is $15. Entrants are asked to prepare one gallon of chili and have it at the fire hall by 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 12. Judging begins at 3:30 p.m.

Entries will be tasted and divided into Hot, Medium and Mild categories, and cash prizes and plaques will be awarded to winners in each category as well as a “Judges Choice Award” judged on the use of unusual ingredients and creativity.

“It’s a real community-based event,” Hinrichs said. “You’re going to see people you know. It’s good for the kids. They get to come and see us dressed in our blues. They can come and check out boots and helmets, and there are always trucks on display outside. Weather-permitting, they can go climb in and out of the trucks.”

After the judging, chili will be served 4-8 p.m. along with cheese, crackers, side dishes, hot dogs and desserts. Free-will donations are encouraged. Soda, beer and milk will be available for purchase.

“As soon as all the chilis are judged, get in line,” Hinrichs said.

In addition to the food, the event will also feature raffle tickets, games and silent auction items.

“One of the major raffle items that was donated is a hot air balloon ride, so that’s pretty cool,” Hinrichs said.

The money raised will go toward the purchase of new department equipment.

“This year there’s a specific item that the money from the chili feed will go toward,” Hinrichs said. “It’s called a TIC, a thermal imaging camera. It sees through walls, and the first person into the house uses it to detect where the fire is. Even if it’s smoke-filled we can get in there and see where the hot spot is.”

The department currently has one TIC in its firefighting arsenal, but Hinrichs said the department needs a second one.

“I’m not sure, but the one we have has got to be at least a decade old,” Hinrichs said. “We’re just looking to upgrade technology. It’s a safety item. A lot of what we use it for is after a fire is initially knocked out we can find hot spots in ceilings and rafters, and behind walls. If we think we have a fire out, sometimes it’s not out behind a wall. Sometimes it’s smouldering.”

The camera also helps property owners save their assets by showing firefighters exactly where a fire is without having to tear through walls, ceilings and insulation.

A new TIC could cost the department anywhere from $6,000 to $7,000, Hinrichs estimated, and it’s a piece of gear that falls through the cracks of the general budget.

“We have gear to buy, and tanks and masks,” Hinrichs said. “It’s one of those items that’s kind of important, but it’s kind of last on the to-do list, so we’re using the fundraiser to supply the funds for it.”

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