Top left picture is of the Fire Department in 1948. (Front row): Olaf Naeseth, P.H. Hilling, Curtis Haller, John Brislance Harold Lemley Gust Johnson, Martin Swee, Glenn Hoven, Milton Haugen and Marvin Sathrum. (Back row): Oscar Bakko, Halbert Loken, Arthur Anderson, Arthur Berg, Orlando Greseth, Lewis Helleckson, Arnie Stockmo, Emelius Greseth, Lester Johnson, Elmer Swanson, Fred Groth and Arland Sundry. The other pictures were taken in the same era.
Wanamingo Fire Department 1913 - 2013
According to the NFPA, National Fire Protection Association, 69 percent of all firefighters in the United States are volunteers. In Wanamingo, 100 percent of its 29 members of the Wanamingo Fire Department are volunteer and it has been this way now for 100 years. This year marks the 100th anniversary and birthday of the Wanamingo Fire Department. It is exciting to think about the many years of firefighting tradition, bonding brotherhood, working relationships within the community and surrounding townships, and serving people in time of need.
Over the past 100 years we have seen many changes in building structures, equipment, regulations, technology, styles of firefighting, volunteer personnel, and fire department locations. Today, the Wanamingo Fire Department resides on the north end of town and was completed in 2001. The lettering FIRE & RESCUE STATION 3 is painted on the east wall of the fire hall and stands for the third fire hall Wanamingo has seen over its lifetime. Not only has the location and structure of the fire hall itself changed, but the Wanamingo alarm bell now has its own place of honor, built by members of the department and located at the NE corner of the fire hall.
Wanamingo Fire Department has come a long way since one of its first major fires back in 1923, when several Main Street busi-nesses were ablaze as community members stood helpless. In 1942 Main Street businesses were engulfed by yet another major fire, but were contained with the help of Zumbrota and Kenyon Fire Departments. In late 2000 Main Street Wanamingo was ravaged by a devastating fire, destroying multiple businesses and many years of city records in the aftermath. Surrounding communities were once again called to give mutual aid – without the help of Kasson, Zumbrota and Kenyon Fire Departments, more businesses would have been lost.
Wanamingo Fire Department may have been founded as a fire department in 1913, but the needs of a community are forever chang-ing. The Wanamingo First Responders were added to the department in 1992. The necessity in a small town can be as significant as helping an asthmatic person, helping save the life of a person trapped by flood waters, search and rescue, or assisting in major car accidents along our highways, in addition to many other scenarios. In the past year, the department has made over 145 responses to fire and rescue calls.
Wanamingo Fire and Rescue has been built upon the years of traditions and the dedication of our volunteer members, past, present and future. From all of us at “WFD”, we are blessed with support and we enjoy serving our district. Help us celebrate our 100th Birthday this July 3, 2013.