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History of Fire Fighting

In 1736 the first volunteer fire fighting company in America was formed in Philadelphia. Each volunteer had to furnish 6 leather buckets, as well as linen salvage bags. From the small beginning grew the great volunteer fire fighting organizations that serve the nation today.

At a meeting in of the Village board of Lyndon on April 17, 1906, it was decided that a place be prepared for the fire buckets and ladders in the village voting place. D.V. Bowman was to procure or make six pails to be used in the fire fighting. On March 20 1911, D.J. Puffer, President of the Village, called a meeting of the citizens to organize a volunteer fire department. At their second meeting on April 3, 1911, they made a motion to authorize the secretary to apply to the village board $50 to purchase supplies. The constitution and By-Laws were written for the department. A bell was purchased in 1912 from proceeds from a fund raising dance. On April 21, 1913 a fire destroyed the Vernon Wright home. This was the first fire report since the Fire Department was organized. In 1913 the Village purchased a fire wagon (Hook and Ladder truck complete) from Kilbourn Fire Department for $75. For many years the fire calls were placed to Martha’s Lyndo Inn. Before Martha’s Lyndo Inn was the center, the calls were made to Daisy Finnegans. In May 1916 the village board was asked to supply the department with a dozen new fire buckets and six fire extinguishers. They were purchased at the cost of $37.80. On September 14, 1936, the Fire Chief Bill Poole 

demonstrated how chemical tanks worked. A truck had been purchased for $250by the Village. A check for $5 dues was sent in 1940 to join the South Central Wisconsin Volunteer Fireman's Assoc. In 1954 the town of Kildare purchased a fire truck to be housed on the Village Fire Station. The Ladies Auxiliary was formed and aided the Fire Department by serving lunches, attending meetings and First Aid classes. They raised funds by socials to further the interest of the Fire Department. In 1977 the first woman joined the fire department (Marcy Senzig)

Lyndon Station Fire Dept. First Membership
1911-1925
Vic Czeskleba, Frank Trainer, DJ Puffer, Dr. T.S. Lawler, Edward Scully, Tom Anglim, M.T. Conway, R.H. Laabs, E.J. Gujer, Joe Neustader, E.T. Cregor, August Gendrick, Frank Trickler, H. Bryand, Dan Trainer, Chris Wischmann, Vern Eveleth, JP Baum, August Rettammel, Rufin Jirsa, Theodore Breitenfield, Henry Schleesky, Wm. Carrigg, Mike Peters, H.P. Hammond, Ben Adams, Jim Thomas and Tom Fagan.

According to Bill Jessen, "President of Lyndon Firefighter, Inc." in 1972, the Village Board and Fire Department agreed that the firemen would donate their wages to a fund towards a new fire house. In 1980 a piece of land was purchased from Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Hoehns 'Hoehns Lumber Co.'' On Sunday, June 6, 1982 the new firehouse was dedicated. An oversized key was given to Norman Nate and Fire Chief Don Coughlin by Shorty Hoehn, General contractor for the building. The original bell purchased in 1913 was put on display outside the new fire house. On April 22, 1980 a fire consumed nearly 2,000 acres of wooded area near Lyndon Station. The fire was started by sparks from a passing Milwaukee Road freight train.
On June 25, 1988, a fire fueled by gusty winds and dry conditions, raged through some 1,500 to 2,000 acres of wooded land between Hwy 12 and Interstate 90-94 in Juneau County on Saturday afternoon, destroying several buildings and forcing evacuation of some 200 people. Nearly 400 fire fighters and volunteers, battled the blaze for more than five hours. They were still patrolling the area on Tuesday afternoon. The Kilbourn and Lyndon volunteer fire departments were assisted by the fire fighters and equipment from the DNR, Lake Delton, Briggsville, Rio, Columbus, Portage, Reedsburg, Baraboo, Wyocena, Westfeild and Adams Friendship. Grogan Helicopters of the Dells acted as an “eye in the sky”. In addition, tanker trucks were furnished by area businesses such as Sysco Foods and several milk haulers. Area restaurants, businesses and other volunteers furnished food, water and refreshments for the fire fighters. One year-round home was partially destroyed in the fire, and three other seasonal structures were totally destroyed along with several out buildings. The fire is believed to have been caused by a 1960 Chevrolet pickup truck which was traveling east on the interstate. Faulty brakes apparently started the trucks wooden bottom on fire and the blaze spread to the dry grass along the highway. Northwest winds gusting between 15 & 20 miles per hour fanned the blaze and started moving it south towards the Wisconsin Dells area. Governor Tommy Thompson visited the fire scene and issued a state-wide ban on fireworks and open fires. Fireman compared that fire with the one on April 22, 1980 which occurred in the same general area.
The last big fire in Lyndon was at Jim and Jan’s Wildlife Bar. Because of the closeness of the other buildings, both Mauston and Kilbourn Fire Departments were called to help. The outside structure remained, but the inside was severally damaged. The Wildlife bar was torn down along with a small building next to the bar. Jim and Jan have rebuilt in the same location today.
For years the town of Kildare and Lyndon rented space in the new fire department for their fire fighting equipment. Around1990 Lyndon Station fire department purchased the town of Kildare and Lyndon’s fire equipment to avoid duplication of service. It was decided that one department could service everyone’s needs. Each year at Christmas time the fire department escorts Santa around to the homes in the area. He always has a treat for the families he visits.
The Lyndon Fire department has been doing this since 1940’s. For over 60 years Michael O’Brien had played Santa for the department. Steven Korinko was the Chaplain for the fire department for many years followed by James Hesse.

First Responders
The First Responders was started in 1975. Their first training was basic first aid taught by Ray Sopher. In 1982 Jim Nevel, a Chicago firefighter, taught a more intensive class and several of the First Responders became EMTs. The first vehicle the first responders had was a van bought from GTE for one dollar in 1986. They used this for several years until they were able to buy their first responder ambulance. In 1995 a more modern and better equipped ambulance was purchased. Since 2008 the First Responders have been using a 2004 Chevy 4x4, for First Responder calls.

LYNDON STATION FIRE CHIEFS

1911-1914 Vic Czeskleba
1914 Harry Champlin
1915-1922 Rufin Jirsa
1922-1933 Tom Fagan
1933-1944 Wm. Poole
1944-1946 Joe Jaeschke

1946-1966 Louis Arntz
1966-1967 Robert Konemann
1967 Robert Bennett
1968 Edward Rogge
1968-1970 Frank Vodvarka
1970-1974 Everett Nichols

1974 (Special Election) Robert Bennett
1975 Robert Bennett
1976-1977 Lloyd Fuller
1978-2008 Don Coughlin
2008-2013Present John Krus
Present-Larry Whaley


HISTORY AND HERITAGE / ORIGIN OF THE MALTESE CROSS  

When a courageous band of crusaders known as the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but a horrible device of war, it wrought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross. The Saracen's weapon was, fire.
As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.
Thus, these men became our first firefighter and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each there a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one firefighter's wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.
The Maltese Cross is your symbol of protection. It means that the firefighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago. The Maltese Cross is a firefighter's badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage - a ladder rung away from death.