Full Service Westside

For twenty-eight years, Captain Harold Bennitt worked to keep Muscatine safe. By working a variety of roles and dedicating himself to helping the Muscatine Fire Department (MFD) run as efficiently as possible, Bennitt played an important role in the community. After all these years of distinguished service, Bennitt has retired and looks forward to finding new ways to continue helping people.
On April 1st, 1991, the MFD contacted Bennitt to offer him a job as a firefighter. At the time, Bennitt worked for the Colona Volunteer Fire Department and wanted to move to a full-time position. While at an Emergency Medical Services certification class, Bennitt heard the MFD needed more firefighters and applied for the job. Bennitt felt surprised and a little skeptical about the offer at first, as it came on April Fool’s Day. After verifying the MFD truly wanted him, he accepted the job and embarked on what he described as, “the best job and the best career I could have had.”
Though Bennitt started out as a firefighter, he quickly worked his way up through the ranks to become first a lieutenant and later a captain. In this role, he carried out many duties. He led fire safety presentations for local elementary school classes as part of the MFD’s public outreach program. He inspected local businesses to make sure they met fire code regulations. He helped the MFD update their technology, replacing hard copy filing systems with iPads and cloud integrated data storage. And, he helped create and grow the MFD’s hazardous materials program.
Of all his accomplishments, Bennitt enjoyed growing and working with the MFD’s hazardous material program the most. In the early 2000s, Bennitt wrote the grant that got the MFD their very first hazardous materials truck. Not a typical fire truck, the MFD used the money they got to convert an old Sprouse Distributing Pepsi delivery truck into the kind of specialized vehicle needed to deal with chemical spills and other toxic materials.
More than just getting the truck, Bennitt loved working with the hazardous materials program because of the complexity of the challenges it offered. From interpreting the readouts on monitoring devices to know if a hazmat crew could proceed safely, to knowing the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for how to deal with car fires releasing dangerous chemicals, to working in challenging conditions and confined spaces, Bennitt excelled at hazmat work. Bennitt also felt honored to belong to the elite group of firefighters trained to handle such situations.
While Bennitt valued and enjoyed all the time he spent working with the MFD, he knew the time had come for him to retire. However, he will always value his time with the MFD and all the people in Muscatine he helped. “The lives you touched and the people you worked with are what really matter,” he stated. As Bennitt moves on to this next part of his life, Muscatine will certainly not forget all the good things he did for them.

Full Service Westside