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First responders from across metro step in to cover shifts for Burnsville crews

Metro area emergency crews cover shifts for Burnsville counterparts
Metro area emergency crews cover shifts for Burnsville counterparts 02:00

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — As Burnsville's first responders take time to process this weekend's tragedy, colleagues from across the metro are stepping in to help keep the city safe.

Roughly a dozen fire and EMS agencies are coordinating to cover Burnsville's shifts this week. Two police officers and a firefighter were killed in a shooting on Sunday.

"Crews are coming in on their own time," said Hugo Searle, Eagan's fire chief. "They're not on shift, they're not scheduled to work."

Apple Valley Fire Chief Matt Nelson says the effort is "to make sure that they have the time they need to get everything processed and back together a little bit."

MORE NEWS: "Our hearts are broken": Community gathers for a meal and vigil in Burnsville

Mike Meyer, Lakeville's fire chief, says the fire service is a family, both at work and outside the station.

"It's just that unique bond we have with one another, and when one of us is hurting or needs help, we're there for each other," he said.

Searle says it shows how much people care that after asking his department if they were interested in helping, the signup list was full within five minutes.

"I don't care what city [emergency responders] come from," Nelson said. "The citizens don't care. They want a fire truck to show up or the fire department to come help."

The coverage started Sunday morning after the shooting and is scheduled at least through Saturday.

"Any department would help us in our time of need, so we will step up and help all of our brothers and sisters in the fire service as long as they need it," Searle said.

Meyer says it's a true team effort.

Some chiefs told WCCO they've set up mental health support services for their own people.

WCCO is also told Burnsville police are being covered in a similar way to fire and EMS.

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