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The story of CFD goes back to 1882...1st chief was A.H. Kellerman...1year

- in those early days fire suppression was done by bucket brigade

-on  Sept. 19,1883 a popular vote was taken and it was 70 to 18 in favor of raising funds up to $3,009.00 for fire protection...Nov.21st saw the arrival of the 1st fire apparatus

- the 1st engine was a second hand one purchased in1883 and operated by man power..."5 minutes of pumping was all a man could stand"...came equipped with 300 feet of leather hose

- the 1st engine house was located on this spot & almost burned down while being built...was later moved to city hall- 2 different structures, wood then brick in 1909

- The worst fire to occur in those early years was on March 17, 1884 when the Fuller Store, located in the area between the old IGA store and Subway. That blaze took out the post office, a saloon, Fullers store, a shoe shop, a meat market, the Odd fellows hall, the Griggs Foster store, and the American House Hotel. that was Cumberland's main business area at the time.

-water supply at that time was specially built cisterns, one located on Kwik Trip site...leaky..undependable...lake

- by the early 1900's, the once efficient F.D. had retrogressed into disorganization and the city was left with fire protection that was hap-hazard at best...depending on vols. who happen to be around at the time of an alarm.

-Mayor August Wolfe who saw the need for an organized fire department introduced an ordinance to provide for an organized fire company on May 2, 1912.

-Company to consist of 25 members, ages 18-25 years.

=Each member to receive $0.50 for each dry run and $1.00 for 1st. hour and $0.50 per hour when water is used.

- Ordinance was adapted on June 27th ...summer was spent trying to perfect the organization...difficulty in finding volunteers, The advertising read..."Wanted, 25 able bodied men who aren't afraid of fire or getting their clothes wet "

- Finally A meeting of several citizens was held on Dec. 2,1912 for the purpose of organizing The CVFD. Several men signed on to the new org. and Elmer Haugen was elected the 1st fire chief.

-it was determined that there would be 1 hook and ladder co. and 2 hose co's. Thus was born the first officially organized F.D. with an established membership instead of casual volunteers in the city.

- on Dec. 9th  a meeting was held to hear and adopt a constitution and set of by-laws written by a committee, also at that mtg. captains and lieutenants of the various co's were elected, All officers were up for election each year.


-accepting new members

-organizing a "Grand Ball" to benefit F.D. or company as it was called then, the Sans Sonsci Orchestra from New Richmond was engaged for the event....The advertising of the event in the Advocate read, "Those who saw the boys come away from the Tuesday morning fire with clothing soaked and covered with ice will see the need." The kingly sum of $79.30 was raised.

-they joined the state fireman's association.

-designated 2nd and 4th Mondays as mtg. and drill nights

-recommended to city council that $1.50 be paid to the 1st party with a team reaching the fire hall and hauling the apparatus, 50 cents to the 2nd team

- established fines for not attending fires and mtgs. written excuses had to be presented to be exempted

-also, excused some from fines because the alarm wasn't heard for a fire

-instructed trustees to contact E.V. Benjamin in regard to an electric bell system.

-approved purchase of 4 cuspidors for use during mtgs.

- approved giving $25.00 to chief to attend state fireman's assoc. convention in Neenah July23, 24, 25.

-determined janitor be paid $1.00 per month.

-chief to draw map of hydrant locations

-the 1st year...tough one... saw 11 members leave and be replaced, including 3 sec/treas. Elmer Haugen was not re-elected and Louie Reese took over and remained Chief until 1935, Lee Hines was sec/treas. for many years.

Names of some of the early firemen are still familiar today...Jacobson...Hines...Neurer...Kellerman...nedvidek...Tappon... Erickson...hopkins...sorenson...Babcock...Foster...Talbot...Cook...Stoll and the usual assortment of Anderson, johnson..Hanson...Olson and Peterson.


The equipment held by CFD. on Jan. 12,1914 was;

1 hook and ladder truck with 1 wall hook and 1 pike pole

1 extension ladder, 1 roof ladder, 1 ladder

1 chain, 1 rope

2 hose carts with 5oo feet hose on each

17 coupling wrenches, 4 hydrant wrenches

3 nozzles, 1 table, 24 chairs, 4 axes, 11 black coats, 1 white chief's coat, 19 son'wester? hats, 2 white alum. helmets, 4 black alum. helmets, 2pr. king rubber boots, 3 Dietz lanterns, 72 red gaskets, 9 rubber parts?, 3pr. goggles, 4 respirators, 3 spittoons, 1 broom, 1- 2 gallon oil can, 1 record book, 1 acct. book, 1 apparatus rule book.

8/12/1914 went to Island City bank for a drill, put up ladders, connected hose and were on top of bldg. in 3 minutes

- some members who left during tumultuous 1st. year began to come back

1915- said they would be paid $.25 for attending fire, $.25 fine for not attending

- made motion to get chief louder and shriller whistle for signaling

-April 27, 1916 Fire at the Cumberland Fruit packaging Co...The department responded promptly and prevented fire from spreading to the yard...4" main led to low water supply pressure...Bldgs. destroyed were 54' x125', 40' x 100' and 36' x 125', all were connected and filled with finished product ready for shipment...loss $18,000.00

6/11/16 bought a $1 liberty bond and put $1 in bank on a 6mo. time deposit.

By 1917 FD> had responded to 26 fires and that same year showed the 1st. recording of a damage vs. value estimates. Fire occurred in the basement of the L.E.Haugen store, the value of the bldg. was $1800 and was insured for $1000...damage est. was $75...value of contents was $12,000.00 and insured for $10,000.00 with a contents loss of $300.00. Cost to the city for this fire was $18.00.

April 1918...committee instructed to circulate a petition to impel city to put in a siren...charter member Alfred Hanson rejoins the dept. went on to become chief in mid 40's

2/26/1920 Major fire...Comstock Bldg....2nd and Grove... owned by Judge H.S. Comstock...2a.m...discovered by Henry Wallace who immediately notified "central" (phone switchboard)...who expressed difficulty in getting a man to ring the bell. Carroll Cavanaugh was first to be called...dislocated his shoulder in an attempt to pull on his sweater in a hurry. Operator Lindquist finally gave the alarm...elec. juice was off at the time so some firemen were delayed trying to find their clothing in the dark...this all demonstrated the need for a better way of summoning the FD....bldg. housed a land co...a law office and sleeping quarters.

In Jan. of 1923 apparently someone had made some adverse comments pertaining to the previous year FD expenses...someone wrote a letter to the editor...stated costs included new water mains & hydrants...FD. is in good standing with state commissions and assoc's....meets 10 yrs. had responded to 52 fires...involving $160,715.00 worth of bldgs. and contents...loss of $45,135.00 savings of $124,580.00 ...cost to city for all this was $1674.70 of tax payer money...average of $116.70 per year...annual salary of $5.25 for each member....signed "someone who knows"

=Dec. 11,1924 Jeffery block burns...2 story bldg...$100,000 loss included merchandise and apartment furnishings..."Built in 1916 building couldn't be replaced for $20,000"...included, Hopkins drug store, Greggard mens clothing, 2nd floor held the telephone office, Waites dental office, Claire Conrads Chiropractic office, and 3 apartments...Some firemen were shocked by electric wires...Mrs. George Gaerth died of heart failure as the bldg. was adjacent to the Gaerths bakery...she's still there?...Mr Jeffery said he would rebuild a 1 story bldg. in the spring.

- Dec. 21, 1924 Fire Demon strikes again...Marotta building burns and damages Pease building next door so badly it was useless. The City meat market and upstairs living quarters were lost along with all of the restaraunt equipment being stored there temporarily for W.C. Jeffery because of his fire...Kuenzli Bros. oil co. receive little damage and firemen are to be congratulated for keeping losses down to what it was.

-3 days later the roof of the Commercial Hotel caught fire...damage was minor...that being the 3rd fire in a short period of time "the superstitious should be satisfied"

In 1925 there was apparently some more controversy because another letter appeared...explained there had now been 60 calls with total cost to city of $1775.70.  again someone who knows.


-March 26, 1934 The Advocate announced Cumberland FINALLY would be getting a new fire apparatus in place of the old one which has been in use for so many years. "It's comedy appearance as it rattled and swayed down the street after the siren had called out the firemen, called forth chortles of glee from observers."   The city council voted to buy a new Northern pump from Midwest Fire Apparatus Co. for the sum of $710.00. The firemen agreed to appropriate $110.00 from their fund for the initial payment....A remodeled 1926 Packard straight 8 touring car will be driven to the city to be fitted with the pump and other firefighting equipment...Following articles told of the new truck and how the Cumberland body Works "did a swell job" of building over the Packard sedan into a fire truck..."painted red and everything..equipped with a siren that will frighten even the dogs"...Rice Lake firemen came over and helped set up the equipment on the truck...called out to action on a grass fire and 90 psi burst the old fire will have to buy some new hose.

-In a 1942 interview with asst. chief Ed Johnson he told of how the FD. has progressed " now we have an organization of 23 firemen. In the last year we have added some new equipment, 300' of 1&1/2 inch hose with 2 fog nozzles and has proved to be one of the best units of apparatus for firefighting"

-Jan. 1935 Chief Louie Reese resigned because of ill health and Bill Hines took over.

=April 1937 3 fires in 4 days... Chief Bill Hines was injured when the sudden backing of the fire truck knocked him to the ground and a metal projection gouged a deep wound in his leg.

-April 1938 Hub tavern (Sirianni block) 7 hours, 3 lines...almost lost Nelson Hardware and the Bowling alley

-Aug. 1939 Ekenstadt and Sons burns... Ed. Johnsons house adjacent to the building was saved

-Dec.28,1939, Beaver Pool hall fire cost the life of Fred Hehn who lived in a room above the pool hall...Fortunately several high school boys who also roomed upstairs were home For the Christmas Holiday.

-Jan. 1940 Coffee Cup Cafe destroyed by fire...Mr.&Mrs. Leonard Olson and son Billy got out just in time...4 hours & lots of water...had just been remodeled...damage may reach $8,000.00 ..."Firemen did remarkable job."

Nov. 1941 Mrs. A.E. Tyler died in her home when an oil burning stove was thought to have caused a smoldering fire...she was not burned

Jan. 1946 Alfred Hanson becomes fire chief

Dec. 1946 NEW FIRE TRUCK ARRIVED...Cumberland's new fire truck, so big that it cannot be run into the city hall..."The big red contraption is the latest thing in firefighting equipment and gives the city the best possible protection...Total cost of the engine and all it's accessories was $4,965.55...chassis purchased from Cumberland Motor Co. for $1,530.00 of the outfit came from W.S. Darley in Chicago...Chief Hanson drove it home from Chicago last hall door being enlarge to admit truck..old truck (Packard) will be used for country calls.

-Oct. 28,1947 Grant & Belchers store in Barronett...CFD was called and quickly extinguished the flames. There were 300 gallons of kerosine and 20 cords of wood in the had started in a stack of cartons near the furnace

-March 8, 1948 The firemen were busy raising funds for a new respirator- which was a combination resuscitator, inhaler and respirator...firemen agreed to donate their pay from the next fire to the cause...

-J.F. Benjamin announced that effective May 1st. information will no longer be given on location of fires... jams up the switchboard.

-Jan. 1949 Alfred Hanson resigns as chief and Charles Saile took over...Alfred Hanson retired after 36 years with the fire dept.

-discussions continued about contracts and charges to townships...dept. was split into 2 groups, one to answer country calls and city calls and the other would be city calls only...the groups would switch status every 4 months....signal would be 1 long blast for a city call and 1 short blast for a country call.

- next meeting it was suggested to used 4 short blasts for city calls and 1 long blast for country calls.


-1951 the need for a new, louder siren was address and a new one was purchased and adjusted until the signal could satisfactorily be heard all over the city.

-There was a letter of thanks form John Hines of the Company Store for saving their new warehouse from total destruction.

- Jan. 12, 1953 mtg. minutes included..."Chief OK'd buying each member of the telephone operators a Christmas gift for a total amount of $12.71 which was to be taken from the firemen's fund. Each girl received a pair of panties."

- The biggest change came in 1953 with the organization of the Cumberland Rural Fire Dept...that made necessary the purchase of a new fire truck, and a tank truck to be used at rural was never noted, but I assume this would be about the time the old Packard was retired from duty.

 -in 1956 problems arose as more and more people switched to dial phones..."a thing of the past is the custom of the telephone operator pushing the button to summon volunteer firemen." A replacement is under study.

-in 1958 the first reference was made of the fire dept. being called out by operators at the light plant

- participated in fund drives for muscular dystrophy and mental health assn....did some promoting of fire prevention week...encouraged passage of legislation pertaining to training of firemen

-Aug. 28 1961 saw another era end, as the fire department moved out of city hall and into its new quarters by the 3M plant...the north end of the existing city shop would be the fire station for the next 23 years.

- during the 60's there were several notations of training taking place...including making entry into a building to rescue a victim while being blindfolded.

-Feb. 12, 1968 Charles Saile resigned as fire chief and Wayne Erickson was elected new Chief...Saile would remain on the department as an advisor for the time being...he retired from the fire department on Jan. 11,1971 after 31 years of service to the community

-June 1970 a new fire truck was put into service

-On March 14, 1971 a devastating fire claim the Company Store, also known as the village square

-by April of 1973 the pay for attending a meeting was up to $5.00 and the rate for fighting fires was $5.00 per hour

_October 1973 Wayne Erickson resigned as fire chief and Bob Mack took over

-May 13, 1974 it was announced that the fire station would be manned day and night during the AIM convention...8 men were to be on duty during the night and 4 men during the day...this event apparently caused a lot of concern as there were special meetings called to prepare for it...ALSO...Lloyd Stoll announced that a fire bar would be installed...this would ring the phones of all the firemen to alert them for a fire call

-Feb. 1984 was the department move once again...this time into its present home on water street,

-!990 saw Len Mayer and Lloyd Stoll retire after a combined 94 years of service, 36 for Lloyd and 58 years for Len Meyer. Len joined the department in 1932...2 years before they got the powered apparatus.

-1990 received a new fire engine for rural calls

- 1994 came a new engine for city calls

-In 1997 the city and rural FD's joined together to form The Cumberland Fire District with the 5 municipalities all equal owners in the organization


-It was during the mid 90's that the department recognized the need, and raised the funds for THE JAWS OF LIFE. We had thought it would take over a year to raise the $25,000 .00 that we needed for the initial set, we ended up doing it in just less then 6 months, and that is thanks to a community that stands with us and is behind us in all our endeavors.

- Because of a growing mission needing more vehicles, the fire station received an addition in 1999-2000 which nearly doubled the space we had

-On Dec 28,2000, after 38 years on the FD and 27 years as fire chief, Bob Mack retired because of ill health...Jerry Chartraw was appointed the new chief on Jan 24, 2001

-2001 we received a new fire engine, this one has an enclosed operators compartment and can seat 5 firefighters

- In April 2002 Jerry Chartraw retired and Barry Kuenkel took over as Fire Chief

-over the last 10 years we have added 2 large capacity tankers, a rescue-engine, a Gator ATV, a new brush rig, a retirement plan for the firefighters, increased the size of our meeting room

- when our newest member complete their training this spring we will have 28 out of our 31 members state certified as either level 1 or level 2 firefighters, with most of them being level 2

-have form The Cumberland Firefighters association as a fund raising arm...that has purchased over $136,000.00 worth of equipment

-have applied for and gotten nearly $112,000.00 in FEMA grants

-have received donations totaling more than $150,000.00

-This has kept almost $400,000.00 off of our tax rolls...or we simply would not be equipped as well as we are today

-we as members of CFD are proud of where we came from...proud of what we have become...and proud of how our community continues to support our efforts.