By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN After an entire block of Winsted’s downtown succumbed to flames in 1886, settlers quickly realized the need for a fire department in their new little community.
The groundwork was laid in the years that followed, starting with the incorporation of the village in 1887.
From there, a waterworks system was installed. Water mains and hydrants connected to pipes running into the lake, and long lines of hose were available for use.
The fire department officially formed Dec. 3, 1889, with 16 charter members, according to the Winsted 125th anniversary book.
Early on, firefighting equipment was minimal ropes, buckets, a chemical cart, and a hose and ladder cart.
In May 1924, a committee was formed to look into a fire truck. Financing the large purchase was a challenge at first. Dances were organized to raise money, but when proceeds only totaled $2.45, citizens decided to take a different approach. With the help of surrounding farmer, the village, and a couple of private loans, the new truck arrived in 1927.
The truck was used on several occasions, including a fire at Heigl Bulk Station, Johnson Bulk Station, and the stockyard in 1931. That same year, the J.H. Keating hardware store caught fire, resulting in more than $10,000 worth of damage.
By 1939, the truck was deemed unreliable for firefighting. Funding efforts for a new truck began, and an International Model K-6 with a K-7 motor arrived in 1942.
In the early 1940s, a siren was used to alert the department of fires three blows for town, and two blows for country.
Several equipment upgrades were made throughout the years, and members came and went. Currently, the department has 23 active firefighters seven short of a full roster.
“We’re looking for men and women who are willing to help out; the more we have, the easier it is,” firefighter Tim Purcell said, adding that it would be especially nice to have more firefighters available for daytime calls.
Volunteer firefighter applications are available at Winsted City Hall. All training and equipment is provided.
Celebrate with the Winsted Fire Dept. Sept. 20
Several activities are being planned Saturday, Sept. 20 for the Winsted Fire Department’s 125th anniversary celebration. A fire safety house and safety hopper bounce house will be at the Winsted Fire Hall throughout the day, and memorabilia and equipment will be on display. Staff from Ridgeview Medical Center will be available for hands-only CPR training.
A list of other events is as follows:
• 9 a.m. 5K fun run/walk; chip timing available. Cost is $25. (To register, fill out the form at www.winsted.mn.us or call Leah Mallak at (320) 485-3262, Robin Fiecke at (952) 201-4884, or Allyson Dressel at (320) 485-3638.)
• 10 a.m. Children’s half-mile fun run. Cost is $12.
• 10 a.m. Bean bag toss tournament. $20 entry fee per two-person team. Payout is 100 percent. (To register, fill out a form at www.winsted.mn.us or call Tim Purcell at (320) 420-2650.
• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free hot dogs and brats cooked by the Winsted Lions Club.
• 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Auto extrication demonstrations.
• Noon and 2:30 p.m. Kitchen fire demonstration.
• 8 p.m. to midnight Free public dance at the Blue Note Ballroom, featuring DiamondBack.
Winsted firefighters 1889-2014
Below is a list of volunteers (arranged by the decade they joined) who have served on the Winsted Fire Department since it was established 125 years ago.
The department apologizes for any errors or omissions. If a name should be added to the list, contact one of the current firefighters. (*Indicates those who served as chief)
1880s Paul Muelleners (Longest-serving member, 56 years.) F. Vollmer, I.K. Lewis, John Barrett, Adolph Witte, Frank Spindler, Paul Rhode, William Lewis*, Charles Hainlin, Peter Meuleners, C.P. Meuleners, Henry Weinbeck Jr., Eli Cosby, James Barrett, J.W. Packer*, Fred Moy, August Moebuis, Frank Goetz, Albert Hanlin, Frank Klaus*, Herman Voss, John Arter, William May, August Kosloski, Edward Wiggs, Joseph Steiner, John Blackletter, C. Tholtzman, Anton Zimmerman, Chas. Vogel, Fred Steiner, J. McCormich, J.E.O. Tool, August Nordstram
1890s Fred Gates, George Bayerl, William Lewis, R.V. Borgesrode, W.F. Kohler, Fred C. Kottke, Fred Roufs, August Borgesrode, F.E. Steiner, Robert Dals
1900s John Jorrisen, Jos. Rosendofer, J. Vogal, Fred Wiggs, P.M. Eckholm, Wm. Bourhindorfes, Herman Steeze, I.K. Lewis, C.K. Vollmer, Paul Littfen, D. Campbell, R.C. Vollmer, Theo Gahl*, Paul Kolbe, W.L. Burtman, Chas. Scheib, Frank Dahls, J.P. Thompson
1910s John Kappel, V.F. Meuleners, C.J. Meuleners, E.A. Rhodes, Wm. Hermansfeldt, D.P. Corr, Aug. Hirsch, Ameil Borgersrode, Geo. Weibel, John Corr, Louis Pratschner, John Bokenski, John Keefe, Geo. N. Schlagel, Salvester Gagnon, Fritz Zimmerman, Carl Zimmerman, Tony Wanningman, Paul Weibel, Henry Schmidt, Herman Gerber, Ed Hirsch, Ed Flash, Ed Jennike, H. Grewe, Frank Littfin, M. Schultz, J.H. Keating, Leo Cloutier, Lous Westrup, Leonard Meuleners, George Roufs*, Ernst Hainlin, Wallace Scheid, Lester Scheid, Jake Gauzer, Gilbert Jannish
1920s Joseph Meurer, Paul Himrel, J.H. Monroe, Geo. Bayerl, Charles Thompson, F.A. Hertzog, Albert Fasching, Jack Keefe, Fred Zimmerman, Frank Finnon, Lindon Scheid, Joseph Meurer, Edward J. Weibel, Ben L. Heigel, Sofis Fridickson
1930s Fred R. Klaus, Al Kegler, Erick Spliss, Anton Warizniack, Andrew Quast, Henry Quast, William Knott, William Hertzog*, Floyd Schultz, Paul Hertzog, Paul Wolf, Leonard Westrup, August A. Littfen
1940s George Weibel, Joe Ottos, M.R. Campbell, Emmet Zachmann, Frank Fashing, Edward Habish, Mark Roufs, Elmer Bolman, Alfonse Fasching, Roy Hahn, Lloyd Johnson, Isidor Fasching, Roy Lammers, Henry Habish, Mel Hertzog, William Soshnick, Dan Rogers, Herbert Westrup, Paul Hertzog, Wm. Hertzog, Leonard Westrup, George Weibel, Al Laxen, Henry Kurtz*, Jack Hahn, Orm Emery, Ray Mooy, Mike Kubesh, Joe Sterner, Joe Wiemiller, George Sedivy
1950s Ray Loew, Jim Williams, Joe Stotko, Wayne Black, Bernard Zachmann, John Vealetzek, Ray Hertzog, Leander Sterner, Robert Kosek*, Ray Fuchs, Florian Fiecke*, Harold Lenz, Alex Rathmanner, Jerry Sterner, Cliff Rathmanner, Ervin Deidrick, Herb Carlson, Ken Fleischacker, Cecil Osterbauer, Al Artman
1960s Linus Zimmerman, Vince Laxen, Robert Bayerl, Leonard Kirstein*, Ronald Zachmann, Harvey Devorack, Frank Roufs, John Baird, Richard Habisch, Ken Ziebarth, Robert Ernhart, Len Foss, Mel Foss, Rick Miller, Larry Zimmerman, Harley Kieser*
1970s Jim Sandbo, Larry Pogue, Doug Telecky, Steve Keglar, Tom Wiemiller, Charles Remer, Steve Hahn, Stan Paschke, Tim Emery, Tom Ollig, Larry Biske, Pat Keating, Doug Kurtz, Dale Johnson, Keith Pieper, Marty Schermann, Joe Pallansch, Keith Murfield, Mark Weiderholt, Jack Wiemiller, Tom Holvonia, Lyle Kritzeck, Doug Hirsch, Mark Hawes, Doug Quast, Bob Hawley, Larry Hoff, Doug Neumann, Duane Telecky, Ron Zimmerman, Dirk Anderson, Brian Wolford, Bob Bayerl, Bill Norman*
1980s Bob Mehlbreck, Darrill Telecky, Paul Merges, Mike Laxen, Al Hummel, Dan Radtke, David Mochinski, Brad Hamm, Mark Henrickson, Jeff Lehner, Tim Wiersma, Ron Jorgenson, Joe Hertzog, Kent Mehlop, Jim Koch, Mike Quast, Gary Rathmanner, Paul Herbolsheimer*, Ron Hertzog, Ken Fitchwell*, Dale Gatz, Chuck Kirby*, Larry Jensen, Jerry Koch*, Dave Gailey, Todd Kieser*
1990s Kelly Kulseth, Brad Bush, Jim Condon, Rick Menden, Tim Foss, Charlie Fiecke, Gary Doucette, Tim Kosek, Brian Langenfeld, Tim Purcell, Bernie Lueck, Jamie Stotko, Chad Engel*, Scott Zubrod, Lee Hoff, Chad Stender, Brad Millerbernd
2000s John Hirsch, Jamie Stender, Jeff McDowell, Jon Davidson, Mike Thonvold, Gerald Heinen, Todd Stejskal, Shaun Bush, Patty Rehmann, Steve Cuadros, Bill Fiske, Brent Mickolichek, Steve Barh, Brad Millerbernd, Tim Kosek, Troy Fleischacker, Rose Heimerl, Todd Koch, Brady Tormanen, Mitch Wittmer, Jamie Stender, Justin Hertzog, Cody Krause, Troy Scherping, Wayne Schumann, Matt Williams
2010s Kyle Thompson, Ryan Chatterton, Brandon Dahl, Michael Rasmussen, Samantha Condon, Jacob Hertzog