The Ireland Fire Department





    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 follows:

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.

Fire 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.

At this meeting Felix Mundy was elected assistant chief and Bernard Wigand was named Secretary/Treasurer.

Ways 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.

List 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 field fires.

    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.


     The 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 operation level.

      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!!


From left:  Ireland Fire Department's Mobile Equipment--1980 Pumper, 1978 Brush Truck, 2001 Rescue Truck, 1992 Pumper, 1997 Tanker


to be continued


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