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State Fire Marshal Mark Germain Talks About Career

NISSWA -- Mark Germain spent many nights sleeping in his vehicle, about half his life in ashes and has seen more tragedies than anyone would want to endure. Germain, who was hired as the Brainerd area deputy with the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office in 1989 after already having close to 10 years of fire service experience under his belt, has retired. Germain -- who was on call 24/7 and had to be ready to go to work at a moment’s notice -- is now learning a slower paced life. The rural Nisswa resident investigated his last fire, a fourplex destroyed Nov. 16 on the 200 block of First Street Northwest in Crosby. The fire destroyed the building and displaced a dozen people days before Thanksgiving. After Germain’s investigation, the cause was listed as undetermined. Germain didn’t want to guess how many fires he has investigated in his 30 years -- the list is just too long. However, the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office began keeping statistics in 2005 and Germain investigated 611 cases from 2005-2018, which calculates to an average of 43 cases a year. He also averaged about 95 consultations. A consult is where the investigator is contacted for an opinion or information, not one physically investigated.