Faithfully serving the Community for over

100 years

 

     The wail of a fire siren today still brings a tingle of excitement to most.  The glow of a rampaging flame on the horizon strikes a note of alarm in all.  Think how terror must have struck at the hearts of our early pioneer farmers, businessmen and housewives when a fire broke out - with their frame buildings buffeted by the scorching hot prairie winds, which in a short length of time became powder dry and combustible as so much kindling.  Back in the early days of Gowrie a pistol shot in the air and later on the ringing of the church bells was the signal that fire was about to whet its appetite.             

     Those first years found no organized fire department and only a make - do bucket brigade to quench the hungry flames.  Not many records were kept of Gowrie's early smoke eaters but searching through the files of the town minutes reveals Wm. Connett was Fire Marshal in 1888.  Several fire companies were formed, but for reasons unknown seemed to disperse - only to be reorganized again.
     According to the town minutes of 1887, the council voted to obtain a tank holding 10 or more barrels of water to be placed on wheels and be kept full of water for fire purposes.  Individuals were to buy their own chemical.
     A citizens meeting was held at Mayor E.W. Sorber's office on January 11, 1898 for the purpose of discussing the subject of organizing a fire company.  All who could were requested to please be present, and especially those who owned fire extinguishers.  It was urged that Gowrie had long needed some kind of organization for work in case of fire and it was hoped that this meeting would awaken an interest in all and that an organization would be perfected.
     A hose cart and 600 ft. of wax treated hose were purchased (the department still has this) in 1900 and a building for the cart was secured in 1901.  At a meeting called in September 1901, the following persons banded themselves together into what was called the Gowrie Volunteer Fire Company:  A.C. Pemble, C.H. Woodward, Frank Lindquist, John Reedy, Anton Lundell, Theodore Johnson, W.H. Hoover, Wm. Zimmerman, and A.F. Patton.  The officers selected were A.G. Pemble, Fire Marshal, C.H. Woodward, captain, W.H. Hoover, secretary and Frank Lindquist as treasurer. 
     It was in the year 1902 that Gowrie installed its first water mains and a good supply of water for the fire fighters was very encouraging.
     A fire in May 1903, was noted in the Gowrie News and is quoted as follows:  "The old livery barn, opposite the Kennedy Hotel, caught on fire last week, May 1, 1903, and before the alarm could be given and the hose cart taken to the scene, an elegant opportunity was afforded to see what good the water system was.  Two strings of hose were attached and the fire was held back in good shape.  Considering there was no regular organized fire company to work, and thus have one boss and some system, the work done should be satisfactory to all.  It is not a good way to have old buildings removed by fire, but the town will not be very sorry to see the old tramp harbor out of the way."
     Everything seemed to go about as usual except for a few major fires - one which reached such a gigantic headway that contacting the Lake City Fire Dept. to send their truck over on a train flat car was considered.  Fire marshals noted in this era were S.R.E. Anderson and Ed King.
     At a town council meeting in July 1918, it was voted to purchase a Fire & Chemical truck of J.N. Johnson of Minneapolis, Minn. at a cost of $1,413.84, which was delivered the first part of the year 1919.  On August 26, 1918, the council also levied a 2-1/2 mill tax for the fire fund.  W.E. Bomberger was mayor at this time and A.A. Axelson, O.F. Blomgren, P.J. Harvey, Albert Lennarson, J.G. Wood were councilman and J.E.T. Johnson, clerk.  Even with a 2-1/2 mill the 1919 total levy for Fire Fund was only $500.00.
     In September, 1936 the town council voted a resolution to transfer $200 from the dragging fund, $200 from the grading fund and $100 from the drainage fund to purchase a new chassis for the 1918 Ford Chemical Tank.  The annual fire budget in those years was only around $375, approximately half of which went for fireman's salaries.
     January 18, 1937, the council accepted the bid on a new Ford chassis.  The truck was delivered in the spring of that year and was stored in the Forsmark garage while plans were underway to raise the necessary funds to equip the truck with fire fighting equipment.  Many farmers in the community were asked to pledge funds for the purpose of raising the necessary amount.  Finally the General Fire Truck Corp. of Detroit was contacted to equip the chassis with the proper equipment at a cost of $2,302 in September, 1937.  C.E. Plotner was the Fire Chief at the time.
     O.E. Forsmark, who later served as the Fire Chief, drove the truck to Detroit in October where the pump was mounted.  The truck, which was still in service in 1970 under limited duty, was equipped with a two stage centrifugal pump (500 gpm) rotary gear priming pump, reel for booster hose, large spotlight, 2 small lights for loading and general illumination, electric siren, axes, large hose body (1200 ft. of hose) and ladder.  On January 10, 1938, the council voted to assess a fee of $25 for all country fires to farms who were not members.
     On February 1, 1951, O.E. Forsmark sustained a double fracture in his leg when a ladder slipped out from under him while fighting the blaze at the Farnhamville Congregational Church.
     In 1958, Gowrie Township passed a levy for the purpose of acquiring new fire trucks and equipment for fire fighting.  At the November general election in 1958, a special proposition asking that the Town of Gowrie be authorized to own, use or operate jointly with any other town or township fire apparatus, equipment or facilities, and to provide for the purchase, rental or maintenance of such was overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 372-26.
     A meeting was called on January 21, 1959, prior to the expansion of the fire fighting facilities here within the near future.  This meeting was well attended and a new Community Fire Department was formed with James C. Patton named as the new Fire Chief.  Other men named to the department were: Dick Monson, Charles Decker, Lawrence Roseke, Gene Bond, Ray Norine, Sonny Forsmark, Jimmy Wooters, Howard Rude, Laverne Barnum, Ben Nelson, Darrell Schill, Max Faulkner, Paul Dallman,Jr.,Duane R. Anderson, Robert Ryberg, Don Schill, Kent Moustgard, Charles Soderback and John Morton.  During the course of the meeting, tribute was paid to O.E. Forsmark, retiring Fire Chief, for the long and faithful service he had given to the local fire department.
     The newly organized Gowrie Fire board purchased a 1959 Chevrolet truck from Benson Chevrolet at a cost of $3,150.  Earlier the board had purchased the equipment for the truck which, when fully equipped, cost $10,400 from the Luverne Fire Equipment Co. of Luverne Mn.  The new equipment included a 750 gal. tank with a 600 gpm two-stage centrifugal pump, booster reel hose, extra cabinets, fog type nozzles, ladders, etc.  The new truck, fully equipped, arrived in July 1959.  A joint agreement for assignment of a portion of Roland Township under the jurisdiction of the Gowrie Fire Department was reached in July of 1959.  Under the agreement the Gowrie Fire Department will answer calls in Roland Township at no charge whatsoever, and in return will receive compensation from the Roland Township board which had earlier passed a fire tax levy for all of Roland Twp.  Named to represent Roland Twp. on the Gowrie Community Fire board was Dale Hanson.    
     In September of 1959 a new Benefited Fire District comprising the western half of Lost Grove Twp.  and some of Clay Twp.  was voted into newly formed Gowrie Community Fire Department by a vote of 91-9.  Named to represent the group on the board were Martin Telleen and Clemens Johnson.
     The Community Fire board purchased a used 1959 Ford chassis in 1964 and immediately mounted a 1,000 gallon tank on it to be used to supply more water at farm fires.  The tanker was equipped with a portable pump, generator, ventilating fan, portable flood light, and a folding tank.
     The department has responded to four incidents of major proportion in recent years.  On October 20, 1994, an explosion at Consolidated Cooperative's grain terminal east of Gowrie killed one elevator employee and seriously injured a second.  Members of the department were on the scene for hours as they worked the unstable environment of a grain dust explosion.
     The historic Canteen Cafe was destroyed in a suspicious fire in late October 1996.  The 114 year old building was a total loss and considerable damage was incurred at Jacobson Ford across the street.  Just two months later, the department responded to an explosion and fire that destroyed a residence and injured Dan Rurup in what was determined to be a natural gas explosion.  Three young girls were in the house at the time of the fire, but they all escaped uninjured.  
    On October 4, 2000, departments from the county responded as a rapidly advancing grass fire traveled from Lena to Moorland.  The fire had been set by sparks from a passing Union Pacific train and spread rapidly in hot, 28 mph winds. 
     The current department is compromised of twenty men who are dedicated and well-trained volunteers, prepared to meet the challenges of service on the department.  All twenty firemen carry pagers and are dispatched through the Law Enforcement Center in Fort Dodge Ia. under the 911 phone system.  The department is governed by an eight member board made up of three city councilmen, Kris Olson, Nels Lindquist, and Dean Farnham and five township trustees, Mike Jorgensen, Don Larson, Chris Fevold, Gary Kuhn, and Nik Tellen, representing Clay, Roland, Lost Grove, and Gowrie townships.
     The department meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month for a training and business meeting.  Local training sessions are supplemented with county, regional, and state sessions all aimed at improving the level of service and promoting the safety of the fire fighters.
     The department currently has five trucks: a pumper with a 750gpm capacity, two 1250 gallon stainless steel tankers, a four-wheel drive mini-pumper rescue vehicle with Jaws of Life extrication equipment on board, and a 1929 replica hook and ladder truck used for display and parades. 
     The group maintains membership in the Webster County Fire Fighters and Iowa Firemen's Association, a group that monitors legislation and lobbies for fire-safety related issues.
     The Gowrie Fire Department is indeed proud of the men now serving this community project and the many men who have served in the past.

 

Patches not for trade.... sorry

 
     
 

 

 
 

1959 - Present

 
     

Duane R. Anderson

Jim Wolf

Bob Schill

Gene Bond

Jim Scheuerman

Phil Bailey

Paul Daliman

Gary Knise

Jerry Mohr

Chuck Decker

Don Borgen

Mike Boeve

Max Faulkner

Harlan Hade

Tom Burkgren

Sonny Forsmark

Alan Wooters

Mike Sorenson

Dick Monson

Dick Dean

Galen Patrick

John Morton

Dave Tjepkes

Daryl Promes

Kent Moustgard

Kenny Pedersen

Dave Christianson

Ben Nelson

Don Reed

Troy Lawrence

Ray Norine

Marvin Johnson

Jim Stubbs

Jim Patton

Glen DeVries

Rob Allen

Lawrence Roseke

Leonard Jansa

Harley Putzke

Howard Rude

Darrell Mischke

Craig Reiter

Bob Ryberg

Carl Pemble

Tim Parcel

Darrell Schill

Pete Jorgensen

Don Wiklander

Donald Schill

John Wendell

Dave Kalous

Chris Soderbeck

Greg Benson

Brad Carlson

Jim Wooters

Hal Bloomberg

Brett Mentzer

Ole Orness

Jim Peterson

Brad Olson

Malte Hanson

Kirk Jacobson

Shawn Blunk

Junior Hasty

Alan Mundt

John M Lizer

Rod Wendell

Bob Lind

Keith Streit

Dean Amandus

Jim Suchan

Mike Boekelman

Dick Swanson

Mark Lester

Andy Suchan

Frank Johnson

Randy Nelson

Jason Ryan

Wayne Mace

Ned Palmer

Brett Carlson

Max Palmer

Tom Schill

Ryan Larson

Larry Loring

Chad Loseke

Mike Buske

Rod Warehime