In the early
days of Ireland when there was a fire it was usually a total loss.
All Ireland had was what is called a "bucket brigade".
This was handing buckets of water by hand from person to person in a so-called
chain. Empty buckets were returned the same way.
Ireland had lost several buildings to "fire-bugs"
in the 1800's and early 1900's. The flour mill was rebuilt twice,
however it was burnt down three times. The flour mill never recovered
from the total losses. As many as eight business are reported to
have been burnt! There were also several home and farm barn fires
in the general area. This had a crippling effect on the early growth
of the small community.
It was not until the 1940's when a small device was
purchased by Bartley's Store that Ireland had any fire protection on wheels.
The device was pulled by hand or by small truck and was mostly for the
store's own protection. A large fire might have been attended to
by the Jasper Fire Department. This event would have depended on
the time of day and the vicinity of the fire.
In 1960 the Madison Township Fire Department, located
on Main Street in Ireland, was established to be of service to the Ireland
Community and the surrounding area.
The first meeting of the Madison Township Fire
Department was on December 7, 1960. The minutes of that meeting are as
The meeting was held at Ireland High School. Meeting was opened
by Joe Wehr, who was appointed chief by Levi Leinenbach, trustee, and
Romould Mundy, John Pfaff and Linus Schmitt all members of the advisory
board of Madison Township.
Chief C.P. Berger told us about the Jasper Department. Their system
of satisfying the members in case of fire. The telephone operator
calls each of them. He also explained the different types of fires
and what equipment to use.
this meeting Felix Mundy was elected assistant chief and Bernard Wigand
was named Secretary/Treasurer.
of people to use in reporting a fire was discussed. Calls should come
to either Bartley's Store or D-T Auto Service between the hours of 7am
and 5pm. At night, Sundays and holidays to call first firemen that
can be reached.
of Charter Members: Joe Wehr, Felix Mundy, Ben Mundy, Carl Mundy, Bernard
Wigand, Norbert Dick, Basil Kunkel and Norbert Auffart.
The newly organized fire department moved into the
new fire station on January 5, 1961 with one truck. The following year
a tanker truck was purchased. Joe Wehr had served as chief from 1960-1972.
Bernard Wigand then became chief from 1972-1974.
Plans had been made in 1974 to add onto the building.
The addition was completed, this doubling the original size of the fire
station. Mike Schmitt became fire chief (1974-1980). There
were 12 members at this time. A 4x4 pickup was purchased to help fight
Tom Mundy (1980-2001) was elected fire chief.
Equipment added was a FMC Pumper Truck, a new 2300 gallon tanker replaced
the old 1000 gallon tanker. In 1988 began with 8 members qualifing
for Ireland First Responders, the 4x4 truck was equipped with a new
utility truck to carry the first responder equipment. In 1988
the fire station underwent extensive remodeling. There were 14
members in 1988.
In 2003, the fire department now has 20 firefighters
which includes, 3 basic EMT's and 12 first responders. Their equipment
included 5 trucks, which are, 2 pumpers, 1 tanker, 1 brush & 1rescue
truck. This equipment is up to date equipment. Stan Siefert
(2001) is the departments 5th & present chief.
Over the span of 50 years, 53 men and one woman have
served in the fire department. Other than the charter members
they include: Mike Schmitt, Rich Freyberger, Gary Schmitt, Ron Hulsman,
Sylvester Boehm, Donald Steinhart, John Rudolph, Tom Schmitt, Doug Schnaus,
Mike Schwenk, Mike Buetel, Jason Terwiske, Ralph Hopf, Wilford Chanley,
Chad Fleck, Bruce Beckman, Derek Stephen, Josh Wehr, Chris Heim, Mike
Renner, Scott Renner, Brian Gehlhausen, Scott Schnell, Ron Schroeder,
Stan Siefert, E.G. Bartley, Kurt Bleemel, Andy Schwenk, Craid Greulich,
Josh Himsel, Brad Werner, Scott Schnaus, Phil Gogel, Tom Mundy, Kurt
Rohleder, Mike Hanselman, Brian Hoffman, Aaron Patterson, Clint Gogel,
Jared Wehr, Aaron Mehringer and Bridget Gehlhausen. Ron Schroeder
has the longest tenure to date, 40 years. (to be continued)
A date line of improvements over the years:
3-13-2003 the first set of extraction equipment, to extract victims
from their vehicles was purchased, 11-11-2004 the fire department received
a thermal imaging camera. The camera is used for finding hot spots
in burning structures. It can also be used for search for any
lost people that are lost in woods, or at night. It was donated
by local emergency planning committee; which is part of the EMA of Dubois
County,. 4-14-2005 The Ireland Lions Club donated $3000 for a transmitter
and receiver to be used with the thermal imaging camera so we can record
training, and fires for review, 6-10-2005 construction was started on
a new addition that will double the size of the station, 6-20-2005 the
fire department was awarded a FEMA grant worth $85,000 for new turn
out gear, and scabs self contained breating apprentices, 10-13-2005
the fire department added its first female firefighter, Bridget Gehlhausen,
11-10-2005 the new addition of the fire station was completed and the
trucks were moved in, 1-12-2006 reiteration to part of the old station
started to take place. This will be a training room and meeting
room, 6-08-2006 received a DNR grant for a projector, screen, computer,
training software , 6-14-2007 the fire department was awarded a DNR
grant worth $5000 for a new water pump that is mounted on a skin unit.
The Ireland Lions Club also dontaed $10,200 for the unit. It is
to be mounted on our brush truck. This unit has the capacity to
draft water out of any lake or creek. We did not have that capability
prior to getting this new unit, 11-08-2007 the skid unit arrived and
was installed on the brush truck, 2-11-10 The Ireland Lions Club donated
a new hyd. Cutters to be used with our extraction equipmnet. The
new cutters have the capability of cutting the new type of metals that
are used in some of the new vehicles, An attractive flag display
was installed on our Northeast corner. 2-11-10 the fire department purchased
the house next to the station on the east side. The house will
be removed to make parking and future expansion.
Every year the fire department goes to some of the schools, or the students
come to the station during fire prevention week. We talk to the
kids about fire prevention, what to do if a fire starts in their home.
fire department also supplements itself by raising money for their equipment
and facilities by having raffles and pork chop and chicken dinners.
The department thanks the local businesses and the public for
their support for these events..
The fire department has 2 instructor 1 and 1 instructors II/III these
instructors are in charge of the training sessions that the fire department
has to do. We have 4 firefighters that are rope rescue operation
certified. All of the firefighters are haz-mat trained to the
The department has held informational classes and meetings in the schools,
Ireland Historical Society and in the Ireland Fire Station. The St.
Patricks' Committee as well as others have held public meetings there.
We of the
public must remember that all members past and present were and are
volunteers. Webster describes volunteers as "a
person who chooses freely to serve in a capacity without pay".
This volunteer department is highly efficient and continually, as funds
permit, updates their equipment and training!
On 10-10-2010 The Ireland Fire Department was priviliged
to host the annual Fireman's Parade. This was in conjunction
with the Ireland Fire Departments 50th Anniversary Celebration.
The Ireland Historical Society was open to help with the celebration
as well as the Ireland K of C. The Ireland K of C also had their
annual fall pork chop dinners starting at 10am that day.
Everyone was welcome to come to Ireland Indiana that day as well
as any other day. Temperature was 88 with bright sunshine with
no wind. The perfect day for a perfect occasion!!
PLEASE CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE IRELAND FIRE
DEPARTMENT WITH THEIR FUND RAISERS AS WELL AS WITH FREE WILL DONATIONS!
From left: Ireland Fire
Department's Mobile Equipment--1980 Pumper, 1978 Brush Truck, 2001 Rescue
Truck, 1992 Pumper, 1997 Tanker