Detmold FD is Germany’s Firefighting Team of the Year 2012

Awards Ceremony with Olympic champion Matthias Steiner in Ulm. The Firefighting Team of the Year travels to the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). Circa 15,000 persons voted online.

Winner team of Conrad Dietrich Magirus award
Winner team of Conrad Dietrich Magirus award 2012

More than 100 firefighting teams from all over Germany entered their best operations to vie for the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Prize. The winner has now been chosen: The Detmold Fire Department (NRW) is the National Firefighting Team of the Year 2012. In the Germany-wide competition, the Detmold FD’s spectacular operation not only convinced a professional jury but the public as well, who gave it the most votes in the public online voting at Held for the first time, the competition is named after Conrad Dietrich Magirus, one of the most important firefighters in the world. He founded the Magirus company, was one of the initiators of the German Fire Brigade Association and invented many pioneering innovations for fighting fires. The Detmold FD team won not only the overall victory, but also took home the prize in the "Firefighting" category. The winner of the “Rescue Operation” category was the Falkensee VFD (Brandenburg); the Dieburg Youth Fire Department (Hessen) won in the “Civil Operations” category. The winners received their prizes at a festive awards ceremony in Ulm, in front of around 300 invited guests.

“The award is a signal to all 1.3 million firefighters in Germany, who put their lives on the line every day to serve others. We want to give them something in return for their work and commitment and thus dedicate the prize not only to today’s winners, but to all firefighters throughout the country,” said Antonio Benedetti, CEO of IVECO MAGIRUS, the organiser of the competition.

The tension among the 14 finalists, who came to the event in the Ulm Congress Hall from all over Germany on Friday, November 23rd, was almost palpable. This was because the winners in the three categories of the competition were not announced until the ceremony. They had been determined in a two-stage process: A professional jury with experts from the firefighting sector had selected the best operations from those entered. Then, all firefighting enthusiasts throughout Germany could pick their favourites by voting online until November 22. Altogether, circa 15,000 persons participated in this procedure. The “Firefighting” category was won by the Detmold FD. And by obtaining the most votes overall, they were the overall winner of the competition. The “Rescue Operations” category went to the Falkensee VFD; in the “Civil Operations” category, the Dieburg Youth Fire Brigade got the most votes.

Olympic champion Matthias Steiner, who was a member of the youth fire brigade in his Austrian home town for many years, together with Antonio Benedetti, congratulated the winners and presented them with the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Prize – a specially crafted statue. “For the service they bring us all, one can only exclaim ‘Hats off!’” said Matthias Steiner. “This is why it is important that there is a competition such as the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Prize, which especially honours this often-volunteer commitment.” Ivo Gönner, Mayor of Ulm, and Dr Frank Knödler, President of the State Firefighting Association of Baden-Württemberg, also congratulated the winners and emphasised the great societal importance of fire departments.

The overall winner from Detmold won not only the statue but can also look forward to an exclusive and exciting trip to New York, including flight, accommodations and an attractive comprehensive programme. Among other highlights, they will visit the FDNY and get to look over their shoulders. “We are very happy about this recognition and want to thank everyone who voted for our operation,” said Friedrich Tiemann, now retired Captain of the Detmold FD.

The Detmold FD had successfully extinguished a large fire at the Sir John Morgan Elementary School in Detmold. On April 29, 2012, the fire had broken out for still unexplained reasons. Although the FD was on site only a few minutes later, the fire developed to a nearly uncontainable major fire. Over 100 firefighters tried to bring the flames under control and despite their greatest efforts, could not prevent the building from burning down. Thanks to the dedicated operation, however, the surrounding buildings and the gym were spared. This operation did not end after the fire was over: The FD started an unprecedented relief action and within a very short time, collected new toys for the preschool and school. The professional jury was also impressed by this commitment: “It was especially the human component that was so convincing,” said the jury in their justification.