Fire & Fire Companies

In 1876, after a fire which could have spelled disaster, was started from a spark from a passing engine, Hersey made good fire-breaks by plowing around the Village and Lumber yards.  There were many prairie fires, but the first newspaper account was one that destroyed George PAYNE’S stable.  C.A. BARROWS stable, J.M. POLSTRA’S orchard of 105 fruit trees, Wm. MADISON’S home, L. READELL’S house, 40 loads of hay belonging to Ira COLE, hay belonging to Fred OBERLE and Ole THOMPSON and Alec SEVERSON’S stable and all his hay.


In 1909 a fire company was formed of our best and ablest men.  The chief was THOMPSON, who got a move on as if he were after a customer for a new buggy, John AHRENS ran like he was expecting to catch an auto and Ed OLSON had a smile on his face like when he was talking to Central.  Frank MITCHELL hurried to lock that $500,000 in the safe and Mike MCCALL lead up the rear wondering what the rush was about. At a trial run, they were not able to throw water over the building, the pressure was at 60 lbs. and the hoses weren’t straightened, they were full of kinks!  So said a 1909 ‘Tribune’.

In 1910 the Council voted $50 for the Fire Department.

The fire bell was a heavy concern located in the corner of the park.

In 1913 it was decided to call the fire meeting with 3 spurts of the whistle as the bell could not be heard all over town.

In 1917 the Fire Company held a ball at the Opera House (over EVERSON’S Hardware) to raise money toward purchase of a chemical engine.  In 1929 there were no fires for the first year in twenty years.

In 1936 the Fire Department was limited to 16 instead of 20 men.  The pay was raised from 25 cents to 35 cents a meeting.

In 1938 an addition was constructed to the Village Fire Hall by Ed OLSON to house pumping equipment for the new well.

In 1939 the Village bought a Fire truck to replace the hand drawn hose cart and chemical cart.  In 1941 the Village Council authorized the remodeling of the fire hall to give more truck room.

In 1945 a new electric siren was installed by the Fire Department and Chris LIEN, to replace an air-operated siren from the Village pressure water tank.  It has a control box outside and you need but break the glass and press the button.  A control switch is also installed in JOHNSON’S and may be sounded from there.

In 1949 the city purchased a second truck for rural fires.  It was a school bus on which was placed a tank.

In 1956 the Fire Department purchased a new fire truck.  The department was expanded to serve 94 sections.  Each farm was numbered, according to the section and will be listed alphabetically in a card file, giving shortest directions to the farm. The present Fire Department officers are: John GARMER, chief; Robert WEAVER, secretary; Joe BISCH, treasurer.

Nobles County Genealogy

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