Skip to content Skip to navigation Skip to footer
Pic of the department's vehicle

Mellen Township (MI) Fire Department


Mellen Township Fire Department serves a good portion of Menominee County in Michigan, a hilly, rural area in the state’s Upper Peninsula. They have made good use of their Polaris RANGER CREW XP 1000 - named "Big Jim" by the department – since getting it early in 2019. Big Jim has proved to be a valuable addition to the fleet on multiple wildfire calls in the spring/summer of 2019, allowing them to get to locations that larger, more traditional fire apparatus would be unable to access.


The RANGER is outfitted with a fire and rescue combination skid, which includes a 70-gallon water tank and a 3-gallon tank of fire suppressant foam, both of which are operated off a 9 HP pump. The RANGER is rescue-ready, with a removable compact stokes basket and a camera mounted above the stokes basket, which is connected to a display on the dashboard, allowing the driver to monitor the patient during transport. In addition to making remote rescues easier, the department will use the RANGER to spot and put out wildfires, get out to lightning strikes, and reach abandoned campfires to contain the flames before they have a chance to grow.


The Upper Peninsula experiences long winters and local fire departments often find themselves working through snow and mud to reach those who need their assistance. Knowing the challenges of getting out in the winter, the Mellen FD bought MATTRACKS M3 UR HD Plus tracks for their RANGER. When the snow starts to fly, they can switch from wheels to tracks without missing a beat.


Big Jim was made possible thanks to a generous donation from local residents Jim and Pam Vorland.


"Polaris Government and Defense was truly great to work with as was everyone that helped. One of the most rewarding things during this entire experience was the pride that Big Jim has of his name sake and the look on our family’s faces when they got to meet the new Big Jim RANGER," said Josh Dessart, captain in the Mellen Township Fire Department.


Mellen Township Fire Department has deployed Big Jim a number of times and they report that firefighters from other municipalities were impressed and a little jealous of their new vehicle. The Mellen FD also enjoys bringing it out and showing it off to citizens at township events.


"Our Community can be proud of this machine that is much needed in our area and the services it has already provided can’t be matched," said Josh Dessart. "People love seeing our new tool and becoming acquainted with its capabilities."