Excelsior Fire District firefighters receive badges

Alex Altrichter takes the oath to become fire inspector at the Excelsior Fire District. (Photo courtesy of the Excelsior Fire District) Left to right, Mike Ansolabehere, Jesse Steinwand and Andy Hein all received their firefighter badges and helmets June 1 at the Excelsior Fire District. (Photo courtesy of the Excelsior Fire District)
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Left to right, Mike Ansolabehere, Jesse Steinwand and Andy Hein all received their firefighter badges and helmets June 1 at the Excelsior Fire District. (Photo courtesy of the Excelsior Fire District)

On June 1, four Excelsior Fire District firefighters received new badges.

Alex Altrichter received his fire inspector badge in a promotion ceremony officially changing in his job title from firefighter to fire inspector.

The fire district conducts a promotion ceremony when firefighters become coordinators, fire officers, inspectors or when fire officers change rank.

At the ceremony, the firefighter receives a new badge. Part of the ceremony is pinning the new badge on the firefighter’s uniform. The badge is “pinned” by a person selected by the firefighter receiving the new badge. Altrichter’s cousin and former Assistant Fire Chief Dana George did the honors on June 1.

As the new part-time fire inspector, Altrichter will work during the summer months conducting event inspections that include the farmers market, Art on the Lake, Cottagewood Grill Night and the BBQ Fest. His other main duties are fire code re-inspections and pre-planning.

Altrichter is a former Marine, has lived in the area for more than 25 years and is working on his degree in fire science.

Jesse Steinwand, Mike Ansolabehere and Andy Hein also received their firefighter badges and yellow firefighter helmets in a ceremony.

Firefighters on probation wear a blue helmet with a “P” on the front, when a firefighter completes their probation they receive a yellow helmet with their firefighter number.

Steinwand has been a firefighter for a total of five years. He left the fire district for a short period of time and returned in 2016. The fire district requires a firefighter to go through probation period if they have been away for more than one year. He has lived in the area his entire life, is married, has two children and works for Vinehill Partners.

Ansolabehere has been a Shorewood resident since 2009 and works for Anagram International in Eden Prairie. For a long time, he considered becoming a firefighter and reached out to his neighbor and current fire district firefighter for advice. He joined the ranks in 2016.

Hein has lived in Shorewood for three years and is best known as the owner and operator of Fido’s Pantry at Highway 7 and Highway 41 in Chanhassen. Hein said he wanted to give back to the community and make a difference. He thought about becoming a firefighter for many years and after talking to several people, he decided being a firefighter was the best way he could make a difference.

Interested in serving the South Lake Minnetonka area as a firefighter? Contact Excelsior Fire Chief Scott Gerber at 952-960-1650.