Anonymous donor buys detox chambers for fire department in honor of fallen firefighter

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - There are tributes and memorials to fallen firefighter Mitch Lundgaard all over the Appleton Fire Department. But it's a detoxification chamber, and two others anonymously donated, that could have a lasting impact on members of the department, in Lundgaard's name.

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"It's a worthy tribute to Mitch since he was definitely passionate about our longevity and health and this is something for years to come provide benefit for the Appleton Fire Department," says Appleton Firefighter Joe Kozikowski.

With harmful toxins regularly found at fire scenes, studies have shown the benefits to firefighters to sweat out the toxins they take in on the job.

Until recently, the Appleton Fire Department only had saunas in three of its six fire stations, but with the donation, of nearly $9,000, each station now has a chamber for firefighters to use after every fire they fight.

Kozikowski adds, "After a fire, if we're able to shower off and then get into the sauna - it kind of squeezes the sponge so to speak -- and then the after effects of the fire are eliminated and then hopefully later on in our careers we won't be presented with some sort of cancer."

Without the donation, the department says it would have taken at least another three years to equip every station with a detox chamber, so it's thankful for the lifesaving support.

"As firefighters, it's our job to show up for the community on their worst day but the community has really stepped up, showed up for us on our worst day," says Kozikowski.