The Weyauwega Area Fire Department will celebrate its 125th anniversary Saturday, Oct. 9.
A lighted fire truck parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. The parade route will be from West Main Street at Mary Street, eastbound on Main Street to Harlon Street.
Several neighboring fire departments will be bringing their fire trucks to join in the parade. The Weyauwega Area Fire Department asks that those who attend Saturday’s parade do not park on Main Street during the parade so that all may view the parade without obstructions.
A dance will follow the parade. It will begin at 8 p.m. at the fire station, featuring the “Spicy Tie Band.” Advance tickets are available from Weyauwega firefighters for $5. Tickets will be $8 at the door. Food and refreshments will be available.
In August 1885 the Weyauwega Fire Company was first organized to serve the residents of the village of Weyauwega.
In 1907, they purchased their first truck – a horse-drawn hand and gas powered pumper, said Fire Chief Jim Baehnman.
As the area began to grow, the surrounding townships formed their own fire departments with personnel but little equipment.
In the 1950s, the towns of Royalton, Weyauwega and Lind agreed to purchase a water tank truck for use in the rural community. They also agreed to share in the purchase of a pumper truck with the then city of Weyauwega, he said.
Prior to the purchase of the tanker, water was transported to fire scenes by the firefighters’ personal trucks, which were loaded with 30-gallon milk-type cans or 250-gallon tanks of water.
Baehnman said that in the 1960s, agreements were reached with local bulk milk haulers to have their trucks respond with water in the event of a fire call.
In 1968, the city of Weyauwega purchased a new pumper and dedicated its used to be limited to the city. An existing pumper was jointly owned.
Three fire departments were created to serve the citizens of the area – The Weyauwega City Fire Department, Weyauwega Rural Fire Department #1 and Weyauwega Fire Department #2.
The city firefighters fought fires in the city, and the rural firefighters did the same in the rural areas.
A new, eight-stall fire station was constructed in 1982 to house the trucks and equipment.
It was in 1992 that the Weyauwega Area Fire District formed.
The four municipalities decided that by pooling their resources and sharing improvements, fire and emergency services could be provided at a cost savings, he said.
Since that time, five vehicles have been purchased as replacements or supplements to the program.
Land was purchased adjacent to the existing fire station so that if expansion is necessary in the future, the department is ready.
In 1997, the fire department was re-rated by Insurance Service Office – the office responsible for determining the rating of almost every fire department in the United States.
Departments are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the highest.
Fire departments are graded on their equipment, training, water resources, communications and response.
In 1997, Weyauwega’s city rating improved from 6 to 4, and Weyauwega’s rural rating improved from 9 to 7.
In 2009, ISO again graded the fire department. The city rating improved to a class 3. The rating changes provide the community with improved fire insurance rates.
The Weyauwega Area Fire Department is an all-volunteer, paid-on-call department. It serves approximately 4,100 people in a 79-square mile radius, Baehnman said.
The department currently has three pumpers, one tanker, one brush truck, one rescue truck and 35 active firefighters.
“Over the years, hundreds of men and women have dedicated themselves to this public service, and I’m proud to say that this dedication continues today,” the fire chief said.