Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department celebrates 100 years
By City Times staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department is celebrating 100 years of full-time service to the community.
The city of Wisconsin Rapids was developed as a consolidation of Grand Rapids, which sat on the east side of the Wisconsin River and Centralia, which was situated in the west side. The two municipalities combined in the spring of 1900 and bore the name of Grand Rapids, until the name was changed to Wisconsin Rapids to correct and freight/mail confusion with Grand Rapids, MI.
In 1910, the police and fire departments began operating under a five-member commissioner system.
The present full-time, paid fire department was organized in October 1920, with A. C. Miller as the chief. By his side was a six-member fire department. Equipment consisted of “one La France 750 gallon combination (carrying a pump, a 40 gallon chemical apparatus, and 1500 feet of hose), 1 Reo truck with a 70 gallon chemical apparatus and 1200 feet of hose, one steam pumping engine, and one 40 gallon chemical truck.” The department provided fire rescue services to the two sides of the river.
Today, the department boasts 35 members who are trained in multiple disciplines, including: EMS, hazardous materials, and specialty rescue.
The department provides emergency services to the city of Wisconsin Rapids and ambulance coverage to the city of Wisconsin Rapids, village of Biron, village of Port Edwards, and town of Saratoga.
In recognition of a century of service, the department is selling 100-year celebration t-shirts and coins. All proceeds will go to the department’s charitable foundation, which supports local organizations.
Shirts and coins are available by visiting the fire station 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fire Station No. 1 is located at 1511 12th St. South, Wisconsin Rapids. Fire Station No. 2 is located at 1640 West Grand Ave., Wisconsin Rapids.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/wisconsinrapids.firedepartment.
To view a 100-year commemorative video, search “Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department 100 Year Anniversary” on YouTube.