Fire Department Celebrated 100 Years as a Paid Department

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On Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, the Muscatine Fire Department celebrated 100 years as a paid department. An open house was held to commemorate this crucial piece of their history. The open house included tours with Freddie the Fire Truck and a reception with food and drinks.

Retired Captain Mike Van Wey gave a history presentation that was both entertaining and educational. It was a wonderful opportunity for those in attendance to hear stories about the department throughout the years.

Here’s a little bit of information about the Fire Department when it became a paid department: 

Prior to 1916, volunteer fire companies fought fires in Muscatine. By January 3, 1916, the new Muscatine Fire Department consisted of 13 eager men.

The following were the original 13 firefighters:

J.J. Brown, Chief
Fred Bilkey, Assistant Chief
J.P. Maurath, Mechanic
Louis Faulhaber
James Wise
John Leysen
Harry Freeman
Lee Schenkel
Charles Vetter
Herman Raethz
Ed Priester
Charles Lemkau
Charles Opelt

The new professional crew of firefighters in 1916 had significant firefighting experience as all had some affiliation with one of the volunteer firefighting companies in the area.

Today, the department is equipped with 37 men and women. A lot has changed over the years as technology has advanced, but it remains the same that the Muscatine Fire Department is dedicated to protecting and serving the Muscatine community.

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