HJ/EDJuly 17, 2006

Retired Dassel volunteer firefighter writes its history

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

In honor of the 125th anniversary of the Dassel Volunteer Fire Department, Dassel-born and retired Dassel firefighter, Dean Gayner has written a book on the department’s history.

The book will be on sale at the 125th anniversary celebration Saturday, July 22. The book outlines the department from its beginning in 1881 to the present.

Gayner has spent numerous hours reading past fire and officer meeting minutes.

The 28-page book highlights past fires chiefs from its first chief J.H Remick to Dassel’s current chief Dale Grochow.

Also highlighted are significant Dassel fires including the $100,000 fire that took out several businesses in the Village of Dassel in 1943 and the farmers elevator fire in 1987.

The book also features pictures of past fire trucks with its first truck, a 1935 open cab, which will be leading the parade Saturday.

He had previously written a partial history but with the upcoming 125th anniversary he wanted to fully update the book and make it public.

Gayner found much of his information in Oscar Lindquist’s book “Those Were the Days,” which was about the very early history of the fire department. Written in the early 1930s, it is still available at the Dassel City Hall and the Dassel Historical Society.

Lindquist had been a secretary treasurer of the fire department for 25 years and wrote a “unique” set of minutes from the meetings he attended, according to Gayner.

Gayner found minutes dating back to 1903 when the department was reorganized with a new charter and bylaws. Before that, there was no record of meetings, he said.

Some of his information about local fires and organization came from the Dassel Anchor and was provided by the Dassel Historical Society.

Gayner joined the fire department in January 1955 and served 27 years. He served as secretary treasurer for 17 of those years.

“I have never missed a firemen’s banquet or annual steak fire in 51 years,” Gayner said.

Some of the major changes Gayner has seen since he was a firefighter are the various chemicals and materials that have made fires much more dangerous today.

“More precaution is necessary” he said.

Gayner had seen a drastic improvement in the fire equipment used, both personal and mechanical.

Gayner’s father was a former fire chief for the Dassel fire department in the mid 30s.

He remembers his father coming home from a fire with a large gash on his leg. His father went to the basement and poured linseed oil on it, wrapped it up, and returned to the fire.

This taught Gayner the dedication the fire service people have for their jobs, he said.

Gayner’s book will be on sale throughout the event and will be available at the fire hall, Peterson Pharmacy, Dassel City Hall and the Dassel Historical Society for $10, with all proceeds going to the Dassel Volunteer Fire Department.

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