News: Curtiss – Volunteer Fire
Surnames: Lindau, Klemetson, Laabs, Hennlich, Peissig, Borgemoen, Schiszik, Nunemaker, Wantlin, Peterson, Kraut, Schuette, Frane, Dake, Johnson, Scidmore, Wirtala, Thompson, Michlig, Minshall, Bowen
----Source: Olson Family Scrapbook
Over the years, the face of the village of Curtiss has changed many times. Sometimes the changes have been drastic and unexpected. On New Year's Eve 1910, a fire leveled the hotel and four homes on Front Street, east of the present bank building. Fire had also destroyed many other homes and businesses. The concerned citizens decided some form of fire protection was needed. In October of 1921, at a village meeting, after inquiring of different companies, a motion was made and seconded by Tonn to buy a fire engine from the Obenchain Boyer Company at a cost of $530.00. It was a fire extinguisher on wheels and had to be pushed to the scene of the fire.
Since the village now owned fire equipment, they needed trained men to operate it. On July 6, 1922, the first volunteer fire department was formed in Curtiss. Sometime later, to make the new fire engine more practical, it was mounted on a four-wheel trailer and pulled behind a car. The first piece of fire equipment is still owned by the present fire department. On special occasions it is hitched behind Dennis Lindau's team of horses and is used in parades. Some years later, this fire department evidently was disbanded because no records of it can be found.
In the late 1950's, fire protection was again on the minds of many residents. The Curtiss Community Club appointed a committee to check about purchasing a fire truck. After much investigating, a used fire truck was purchased in 1961 from the Marshfield Fire Department. In January of 1962, the present Curtiss Fire Department was organized with 30 charter members. Fred Laabs, Jr. was elected president of the department. The other officers were Floyd Klemetson, vice president; Tony Hennlich, secretary; and Pete Peissig, treasurer. At the March 5, 1962 meeting, Lyle Johnson was appointed Fire Chief, a position he still holds.
In 1961, a municipal building was constructed by the village. It consisted of a post office, fire station and council meeting room. In 1962, donations were collected from the surrounding area and a tanker truck was purchased from the Foremost Company. More equipment was gradually purchased as money was raised.
In order to financially support the Curtiss Fire Department, which is a volunteer unit, many fund-raising events have been held. Carnivals were held every summer along with Horse and Pony Pulls. The annual Smelt Fry is held every spring. In addition to purchasing equipment, the Fire Department has also erected permanent buildings in the park. These consist of a refreshment stand built in 1964, rest rooms built in 1965 and a food stand added the following year.
The Curtiss Fire Department has accomplished many things in the last 20 years, as well as furnishing free fire protection for the village and surrounding area. With the help of concerned citizens, the volunteer unit will be able to continue for many years to come.
Volunteer Fire Department Members
Victor Borgemoen, President
Lionel Schiszik, Vice President
Peter Johnson, Secretary
Lyle Johnson, Acting Treasurer and Chief
Richard Nunemaker, John Wantlin, Armin Peterson, Donald Kraut, Orville Schuette, Howard Frane, Dale Borgemoen, Lyle Johnson, Robert Scidmore, Nick Wirtala, Dale Thompson, Dennis Lindau, Hilarion Michlig, Lester Bowen, Alan Minshall, Steve Borgemoen, Victor Borgemoen
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