To provide the highest level of emergency services to all that live, work, visit, or invest in our community.
In May of 1894, the Village Board of Reedsville ordered six fire extinguishers and directed the fire committee to procure hooks, ladders, and a truck for a hook and ladder company. In June, 14 firemen were appointed and directed to elect their own chief and assistant chief. Under the leadership of Chief A. H. Rusch, Reedsville had its first volunteer fire department. By November of 1894, the department was equipped with a hand engine, a hook and ladder wagon, a hose cart, and $364.00 worth of fire hose.
In April of 1895, C. G. Hagenow was appointed chief. When the Village Board accepted the resignation of the entire department on September 2, 1896, Herman Boettcher was chief. Twelve days later the men were reappointed after an annual salary of $5.00 each was approved. The official designation was changed from “Committee on Fire and Water” to Fire Department.
In the early days, the firemen were summoned to an emergency by a fire bell on the old village hall located on Manitowoc Street. The bell ringer had to be an individual with enough practice to bring out the full tone of the bell. They pulled their equipment by hand or borrowed any available horses for longer runs. In 1927, the department acquired its first motor-driven truck, a REO Speed Wagon. Chief Herman Boettcher and the 11 other firemen were much more effective with this unit. They were able to reach the fire scene much faster and their energy was conserved for fire fighting. In 1935, the bell was replaced by an electric siren. This allowed anyone to sound the fire alarm rather than the bell ringer.
In 1951 an International Harvester pumper was purchased and then in 1953, a Chevrolet water truck was added to the fleet. In 1973 they took delivery of their first yellow truck, a 1,000 GPM pumper. From then on, all future trucks were to be yellow. The 1927 REO was refurbished. It’s still fully operational and used for parades. The hand pumper, hook, ladder wagon and hose cart are also used for parades. The 1951 and 1953 trucks are in storage. All the antique equipment is on display at the Reedsville Fire Department Museum.
In February 1956, 50,000 gallons of water in the Reedsville water tower (west tower no longer in use) froze and the REO pumper was used to thaw it. It pumped continuously for 3 days until the tower was free of ice.
In 1974, a much welcomed improvement came with the purchase of personal radio monitors. Each fireman was able to receive alarms, messages and directions at his home. In 1980 these were replaced with mobile pagers worn on the belt.
Notable fires in Reedsville Fire Department history include: Reedsville Pea Canning Company, assisting Brillion FD battle a fire that engulfed much of that city, Reedsville Legion Dance Hall, Miller Implement, Manitowoc County Highway Shop in Reedsville, Kabat’s County Gardens, Reedsville High School and Reedsville Co-op Feed Mill.
The Fire Department was housed at the old Village Hall on Manitowoc Street until 1965 when it moved to the new and current Village Hall on Menasha Street. In July of 1990, the department moved to its current location on Industrial Drive – a 6-bay fire house complete with a meeting room and space for expansion.
At present, the department has 5 vehicles answering calls:
- Engine 175, a 2013 Rosenbauer 8-man cab, 1750 GPM pump, 1,000-gallon water tank, rescue equipment.
- Engine 171, a 2000 Pierce Saber 6-man cab, 1250 GMP pump, 1,000-gallon water tank, rescue equipment
- Tender 172, a 2004 Custom Gab and Body, Kenworth chassis, 3,500-gallon water tank, 2 drop tanks
- Utility 174, a 2017 Ford F-250, used to assist EMS and transport equipment after calls and as a department vehicle for schooling and meetings, also carries most of our ice/water rescue equipment and pulls the trailer with our UTV
Throughout the years the Reedsville Volunteer Firemen have donated much time and many thousands of dollars towards their firefighting equipment. Twice a year every effort is put forth by the firemen to raise additional funds to improve their park and buy equipment.
In June they have their parade and picnic and in October they sponsor a pork chop dinner.
Since 1973 the firemen have had a program for area school children to improve fire safety awareness. It was organized and coordinated with National Fire Prevention Week by Assistant Chief Willard Behnke and his wife, Carol, a teacher at the Reedsville Elementary School. The program is still very effective today thanks to the efforts of Assistant Chief Jeremy Foytik and his helpers.
Reedsville Fire Department salutes all past and present firemen who devoted their time and skills to the department. Special thanks to these fire chiefs who provided leadership from the founding in 1894 to the present: A.H Rusch, C.G. Hagenow, Herman Boettcher, Rueben Rusch, C. Kugle, Art Boettcher, Ig Kabat, Harland Prochnow, Donald Svacina, James Dietrich, William Schuh, Mike Pautz and Brad Busse.
Currently Chief Jason Schuh is assisted by Assistant Chief Wade Kasper, Assistant Chief Jason Maertz, and Captains Jeff Christel, Mike O’Connell, Mike Kocourek, Steve Miller and 22 firefighters.