Historical Information

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The materials contained herein were taken from reports in the pages of the Marshfield News-Herald and from personal recollections of the author and others. The majority of events were contained in the scrapbooks of Mr. Robert Ploen, without which this collection would have been very involved and tedious.  The major contributing author of this historical background of the fire department from the beginning through 1982 is Michael D. Meyers, former City alderman and Mayor of Marshfield.  Thank-you Mike for all of your hard work and dedication to this project.

These pages of information were gathered to recognize the spirit and eagerness of the original 17 men who made up the roster of the first full-time paid firemen in the City of Marshfield.

They consisted of the following men:

Rod A. Porter, the former fire chief at Portage, Wisconsin hired in February, 1948 to organize the new department.

Verlyn W. (Bill) Ziegahn, hired April 1, 1948, promoted to lieutenant in 1949, captain in 1950, and chief of the department April 15, 1953 to September 30, 1980, only the third chief in the history of the full time department. Died November 18, 1982.

Howard C. Metz, hired April 1, 1948, promoted to lieutenant in 1949, captain in 1950, and assistant chief on April 1, 1953. He served in this position until he died of a kidney ailment in November, 1972.

Emil Arendt, joined the volunteer department in 1918, hired as the first paid driver October 20, 1920, hired April 1, 1948 to the new full-time department, retired June 1, 1955. Died December 17, 1955.

Marvin Matowitz, hired April 1, 1948.

Norman J. Eckes, hired April 1, 1948.

James Wunrow, hired April 1, 1948.

Donald W. (Barney) Rhyner, hired May 1, 1948, promoted to lieutenant April 1, 1951, assistant-captain April 2, 1951, and captain August 1, 1953. Died of a coronary attack May 14, 1969.

Elmer W. Schreiber, hired May 1, 1948, promoted to lieutenant July 1, 1953, captain December 30, 1957. Left Marshfield January 1, 1970 to become chief at Franklin, Wisconsin.

Clarence G. Yaeger Sr., hired May 15, 1948, promoted to lieutenant September 16, 1959, and captain May 26, 1970. Died of a coronary attack in Park Falls, WI on September 18, 1975.

Frederick "Fritz" Braem, joined volunteer department May 2, 1921, joined the full-time department June 13, 1948.

Harold E. Ploen, hired October 11, 1948, promoted to lieutenant October 25, 1959, captain in 1969, assistant chief October 28, 1972. Served as acting chief from November, 1979 to February, 1980, and again from September 30, 1980 to February 16, 1981. Retired December 31, 1982.

Marshall Alf, hired November 12, 1948.

Bernard P. Murphy, hired December 10, 1948.

Neil Anderson, hired December 13, 1948.

James R. LeMahieu, hired December 27, 1948.

The history of fire fighting in the city of Marshfield dates back to May 2, 1883 with the organization of the Pioneer Hose Company, less than one month after the city was incorporated on April 4, 1883. Pioneer lumberman William Henry Upham had recently lost over $4000 in a major blaze at his mill, and had offered to develop a system of underground water mains to supply firemen with a constant water supply at the time of a fire. This later became known as the Marshfield Water Works. One of the strongest arguments in favor of incorporating the community at that time was that a fire department could be organized and better fire protection could be offered. In charge of the Pioneer Hose Company was Captain Robert Howarth. Mr. T.F. Vannedom was assistant captain and Mr. E.C. Derby was secretary-treasurer. Meetings of the volunteer firemen were held once a month and membership soon reached its limit of 40. At a meeting held April 22, 1884 the department was organized as the Marshfield Fire Department. Much of the department equipment was lost in the great Marshfield fire of June 27, 1887, which almost destroyed the entire community. The equipment had been stored in a building near the corner of S. Chestnut Avenue and West Third Street, opposite the First Presbyterian Church. The fire station was later located in the first city hall on South Maple Avenue, and later in the second city hall. The fire department depended on horse drawn equipment until 1920 when the first motor unit was purchased, a 750 gallon La France pumper. In 1921 a four wheel drive vehicle was purchased. On June 1, 1937, the city purchased a third piece of motorized equipment, a Clintonville-built, four wheel drive 750 gallon pumper, capable of delivering water at a rate of 1,000 gallons per minute through a centrifugal pump.

March 5, 1948 was the deadline for submitting applications to join the newly organized Marshfield Fire Department. The job of fireman was open to persons between the ages of 21 and 30, with at least two years of high school education, and some experience working with tools and machinery. The job was described as an excellent opportunity for advancement under good working conditions. Fringe benefits included paid vacation, paid sick leave, pension and practical training. The new department was to consist of 16 full time paid firemen divided into two 24 hour shifts, during which the men would eat and sleep at the fire station. Some men would be trained for inspection work, some for motor pump operation. All would be trained for firefighting and the operation of department machinery, tools, and equipment.

The new full time chief was hired in mid-February to organize the department. Rod A. Porter, former chief at Portage, Wisconsin was endorsed by outgoing volunteer fire chief Walter C. Mueller at a meeting of the Fire and Police Commission held one month prior to the implementation of the new department.

The first of the new men went on duty April 1, 1948, but the department was not brought up to full strength until the living quarters in the second city hall were remodeled to accommodate the needs of the paid department. Rolling stock consisted of a new four wheel drive pumper, another 750 gallon pumper, a hose wagon, a utility truck, and a 75 foot aerial ladder.

The roster of the full time department consisted of: Verlyn W. Ziegahn, Howard C. Metz, Harold E. Ploen, Elmer W. Schreiber, Donald Rhyner, Ken Mundt, Clarence Yaeger, Marvin Matowitz, Norman Eckes, James Wunrow, Marshall Alf, Fritz Braem, Bernard Murphy, Neil Anderson, James LeMahiew, and Emil Arendt.

Emil Arendt was the oldest man in the fire department both in age and years of service. He joined the volunteer department in 1918 and was hired as the first paid driver on October 20, 1920.  He later retired on June 1, 1955 at age 66 and died December 17, 1955.

The chief praised the work done by the volunteer firemen in the past to protect the city. He described his department and various new fire fighting techniques to numerous civic organizations throughout the city which left everyone well versed in a concept entirely new to the city of Marshfield. In his talks, the chief pointed out the need for continuous education and physical training for firemen, and noted the lack of concern by universities and colleges to provide advanced education in fire service. Wisconsin employed only one man to teach fire fighting to the more than 600 fire departments in the state. The chief stressed the need for education with the recent advance in modern technology and chemicals.

In 1949 members of the department prided themselves with the renovation of an old aerial ladder truck which had been purchased from the La Crosse fire department for $300. The truck was driven to Marshfield under its own power rather than being shipped by rail, and included hard rubber tires. After the extensive renovation the unit was equipped with a new GMC tractor unit, pneumatic tires all around and custom mud guards. Plans called for the unit to be used at about 90 per cent of all fires in Marshfield.

Local organizations were very supportive of the department, as shown by the local Central Labor Union with their donation of new life-saving equipment. An oxygen resuscitator was presented to Chief Porter by then union President Cyril Marx. The device cost $800 and was to be used in emergencies such as heart attacks, gas and smoke poisoning, suffocation, drowning and similar accidents where oxygen was needed.

Major fires in the first years of the new department included the November, 1952 fire in the McCain building at the corner of S. Central Ave. and W. 2nd. St. The damage was estimated at over $40,000 and primarily involved the ceiling and walls of the basement. Firemen were under the direction of then acting-chief Verlyn W. Ziegahn.

A near tragedy was averted by the efficient response of firemen a week later at the Montreal Hotel in the 700 block of S. Central Ave. No one was injured when 30 guests were evacuated at 4 a.m. as the entire front of the building was ablaze. The fire was thought to have started when a sparrow dropped a lighted cigarette in an awning filled with dry grass on the front of the building.

A familiar practice which was repeated each year prior to the Christmas season found the firemen involved with collecting, repairing and distributing toys for needy children, in cooperation with the local Elk's Club. Fire engine red was a popular color for the many toys which needed to be repainted. A dramatic midnight decision by the Fire and Police Commission resulted in the appointment of Veryln W. Ziegahn as fire chief on April 15, 1953. Zeighan was 27 years old and a native of Marshfield, and was to be paid a starting salary of $365 per month. In addition, the new chief was to attend various fire fighting institutes and schools designed to increase his knowledge and experience.

The similar qualifications of the two applicants for the position made the decision of the commission very difficult. Captain and former acting-chief Howard C. Metz and Ziegahn joined the department the same day, April 1, 1948. Both were given experience working in metropolitan departments, and both were promoted to captain the same day. Since the retirement of Chief Richard G. Hauren on April 1, 1952, both had served about six months in the capacity of acting-chief. Both took the Wisconsin Bureau of Personnel examination for fire chief, and both men tied for top scores in the exam. Following about two hours of discussion. Ziegahn was notified at home to report to the station, and Metz was summoned from the department dormitory in City Hall, a few yards away from the commission meeting room in the judge’s chamber. Both men heard the decision together, after which Metz offered his hand and congratulations to the new chief. Metz was then appointed assistant chief.

Marshfield gained unwanted nationwide publicity on December 22, 1953 when fire was discovered in the basement of the Hotel Blodgett and Jerrold's Clothing Store at 234 S. Central Ave. A night clerk at the hotel turned in the alarm at 7:17 a.m. after smelling smoke. He then began to awaken guests in the hotel and before he was finished the hallways of the three story building were filled with smoke. The twelve guests escaped into the 9 degree cold and to the shelter of the Hotel Charles. No one was injured.

The second shift of firemen were called in moments after the first alarm was received, and were assisted by two units and a dozen firemen from Spencer and Stratford volunteer departments. The Roddis Plywood Corporation fire brigade was also summoned bringing the total firemen at the scene to fifty.

A constant northwest wind threatened to spread the blaze to other downtown buildings while water and spray froze to clothing and equipment. At about 9:30 a.m. flames broke through the roof. Firemen fought the fire from four major vantage points - the roof of the adjacent Trudeau Restaurant at 236 S. Central Ave.; the roof of the J.C. Penney Company building at 222 S. Central Ave.; the alley to the west of the hotel and from Central Ave. The Marshfield Electric and Water Department reported that additional pumps were engaged during the course of the fire adding 2,000 gallons per minute to the water supply. Firemen battled the blaze for three hours to bring it under control, after it had caused over $150,000 damage. The building had been built in 1887, only months after the great Marshfield fire. The cause of this fire was an overheated furnace in the basement.

On June 26, 1955, a new fire pumper arrived in the city. The unit, manufactured by the Seagrave Corporation of Columbus, Ohio, cost $50,500 and replaced the outdated 1922 La France pumper, which was later purchased by the Roddis plant fire brigade. The new unit could pump 1,000 gallons per minute and was powered by a huge V-12 engine. The minimum requirements for a city the size of Marshfield for insurance purposes was 2,500 gallons per minute. Marshfield was well equipped with a total pumping capacity of 3000 gallons per minute.

A blaze at a famed local nightclub, the Casa Loma, occurred in the early hours of January 19, 1956. The fire caused over $25,000 worth of damage to the supper club, which was doused with over 4,000 gallons of water. The alarm was sounded at 6:30 a.m. and the fire department responded with both shifts of firemen and three fire pumpers. As one unit was emptied of water, another truck was utilized while the first truck returned to city hydrants to refill. Firemen fought the fire for three and a half hours to bring it under control, and it was completely extinguished an hour later.

About $75,000 damage was caused by a dryer explosion at the Stock-Gro, Inc. plant at 104 W. Depot St. at 4:20 a.m. on Saturday, March 26, 1956. Strong winds fanned the blaze, which resulted in extensive damage to a section of the roof and south wall, and two huge cyclone dryers and other equipment.

An elaborate alarm system was installed at the department watch desk, and connected to St. Joseph's Hospital in March 1956. The system indicated the location of fires in the hospital and could also be connected to other locations throughout the city. This was the second such system to be installed in the state and was leased to the department on a yearly basis.

The Fire Department purchased a new station 'buggy' in 1956 at a list price of $3,517.50. Less trade-in the city paid $1,975 for the 1956 model station wagon. An added feature allowed the second seat to fold forward to enable the vehicle to be used as an ambulance in case of an emergency when private firms could not respond.

Two major fires occurred in 1956 involving cross town dairy plants. On October 11, fire caused an estimated $20,000 damage to the Lakeshire-Marty Cheese Company building at 101 N. Peach Ave. which was reported at 3:44 a.m. The blaze was brought under control a half hour later, and all department units returned to the station at 6:30 a.m. Shortly after firemen had laid four hose lines, two to the north and two to the south, a Soo Line passenger train approaching from the east threatened to sever the two lines to the south. The railroad tracks lie along the south side of the building and a fireman was dispatched on foot along the tracks to signal the train to stop. The train was delayed for about an hour.

On November 25, 1956 a fire was discovered at the Parkin Dairy Plant at 104 W. 9th. St. at 10:55 p.m. Total damage was estimated at $75,000. Both shifts of firemen were called to fight the fire. One pumper was hooked up with two lines at the intersection of Central and 9th and another hose line was hooked to a pumper two blocks to the west. This fire was brought under control within a half hour. The modern fire proof construction of the building probably prevented more extensive damage. The building was built in three distinct sections, one of them a storage room where the fire occurred. In spite of the loss of numerous types of milk and dairy product containers, it was "business as usual" at the plant the following morning, using containers obtained from other Parkin Dairy plants in Medford and Merrill. The firm packaged and distributed milk, ice cream, and other dairy products.

The Marshfield Fire Department was not without its mascot, who made his last run with firemen on a call in December, 1957. "Jiggs", a boxer-collie was purchased by firemen in December of 1950 for $7.00. For many years the dog was known to be as much a fixture at the fire station as the shiny brass pole that brought firemen sliding down from the second floor living quarters to their waiting boots below. Every morning Jiggs would assume the same position in the middle of the floor for roll-call. He greeted every fireman who came through the back door to begin his shift. He enjoyed visits from the children who would visit the station after school or in large groups. He also growled when strangers entered the building, but never meant anything by it. No dog was more gentle.

Jiggs had his own position in the rescue squad cab, his exclusive rig for many years. He could play all sorts of tricks, but firemen could not teach him to climb a ladder. He knew the alarm system at the station as well as the firemen. He never bothered to jump when the business phone rang, but he was alert and ready to roll when the emergency phone sounded. Only once did the dog follow the men into a fire to see what the cause of all the excitement, only to be sent back in a hurry by a sudden blast of heat and smoke when a door swung open. Since then he was content to stand by near the rescue unit.

Early into the year 1958, an early morning blaze caused $50,000 damage to the Wayne Cadillac-Oldsmobile garage at 207 W. 2nd. St. Police Sgt. George Fyksen reported the fire at 12:43 a.m., moments after a telephone operator reported a phone off the hook at that location. When he arrived at the scene, an electric overhead garage door was mysteriously sliding up and down. He was trapped in the building momentarily as the door closed behind him when he entered the building to investigate. He escaped unharmed a brief time later. Seventeen new and late model cars, including eight 1958 models and two 1957 autos were driven from danger while the battle against the blaze was being fought. Both shifts of firemen were called to fight the blaze, using three hose lines. Most of the apparatus returned to the station at 4:15 a.m.

A $25,000 blaze at Marty's Barber Shop and Julia's Hat Shop, 160-162 S. Central Ave. injured one person. Allen Mercer, a barber at the shop was reaching for the door to a safe in the rear of the building to deposit the daily receipts, when a basement trap door near the safe suddenly roared with flames. Following the explosion, Mercer staggered to the sidewalk in front of the building and collapsed. He was assisted by passerby and taken to the hospital where he was treated and later released. It took firemen almost an hour to bring the fire under control. The first alarm was turned in by policeman at 7:02 p.m. on Monday, July 21, 1958. Three hose lines were used to combat the fire. Both shifts of firemen responded to the alarm, and additional policemen were on duty to remote traffic around the fire scene.

In 1959 the Marshfield Fire Department roster included the following men: Chief Verlyn W. Ziegahn, Assistant Chief Howard C. Metz, Captains Elmer W. Schreiber and Donald W. Rhyner, Lieutenants Harold C. Ploen and Clarence C. Yaeger Sr., and Firemen Norman L. Anderson, Peter J Berg, Jack R. Hansen, Troy V. Hannum, Donald E. Schmeling, Robert J. Kult, Kenneth R. Huettl, James H. Spencer, Donald J. Heintz, Marvin C. Strohman and Robert P. Ploen.

A thundering explosion ripped through the People's Gas Company building at 11 N. Peach Ave. on Saturday, July 25, 1959. Four persons working in the building at 10 a.m. were injured. The blaze which set off the explosion started in a bulk delivery truck parked on the premises. An eyewitness said the men who were injured noticed a problem moments before the explosion when they detected a leak in the truck. About four or five minutes later it blew, raising the building into the air. The four injured men were rushed to the hospital by the eyewitness, suffering from first, second, and third degree burns. All Marshfield fire fighting equipment was used to fight the blaze which resulted. Firemen concentrated their efforts on directing constant streams of water on one 30,000 gallon gas tank and three other 15,000 gallon gas tanks located near the burning building. Spectators were kept over a block away in all directions in anticipation of subsequent explosions. There were none.

The interior of Our Lady of Peace Catholic church at 1300 W. 5th. Street was gutted by fire in sub-zero weather on January 4, 1960, resulting in over $25,000 damage. The fire was reported at 5:45 p.m. by a passing motorist who noticed an unusual glow inside the church. A young boy admitted to accidentally dropping a lighted match into straw of a Christmas nativity scene near the front of the church, and the fire quickly spread up the walls and into the ceiling of the building. Firemen were hampered by the thick smoke which resulted, and two vent holes were cut into the roof to vent the building. Both shifts of firemen responded to the alarm, and the fire was under control within twenty minutes. The Reverend Walter J. Dillenberg was pastor of the church, and services were held in following weeks at the gymnasium of Columbus High School until the damage was repaired.

A new 85 foot aerial ladder truck was demonstrated to city officials at the fire station in May, 1960. The new unit was built by Peter Pirsch & Sons of Kenosha, Wisconsin at a cost of $30,000.

Another gas explosion occurred in the city at the construction site of the new General Telephone Company building at S. Cedar Ave. and E. 2nd. St. in 1960. Workmen in the basement at the time of the blast were injured, one seriously. An explosion meter was used to determine the source of a gas main leak which filtered through the ground and into a sump pump pit in the basement. The explosion was caused by a workman's cigarette. Fire and other city officials expressed concern at the time for the condition of other gas mains throughout the city.

The cornerstone for a new $170,000 fire station was set into place on October 11, 1961. Sealed into the cornerstone was a copper box containing copies of various documents authorizing the construction of the building as well as a list of city officials, pictures of the firemen and equipment, and a recent copy of the Marshfield News-Herald. The building featured a spacious 77x60 foot apparatus room, offices for the chief, assistant chief, and command personnel, a workshop, recreation room, dormitory, modern kitchen, classroom and an alarm office for receiving emergency calls and dispatching equipment. The building was occupied in 1962.

The department roster in 1962 included the following: Chief Verlyn Ziegahn, Assistant Chief Howard Metz, Captains Elmer Schreiber and Donald Rhyner, Lieutenants Harold Ploen and Clarence Yaeger Sr., and Firemen Troy Hannum, Robert Ploen, Peter Berg, Donald Heintz, Robert Kult, Michael Holleran, John Fure, Marvin Strohman, Kenneth Huettl, Donald Zager, Ronald Michalski, James Spencer, Jack Ruder, Don Offer, Richard See, Albert (Jim) Gripentrog, Bernard Zimmerman, and Ardell Klein.

The Marshfield Fire Department assumed the local ambulance service from two funeral homes on April 1, 1964. The department purchased an ambulance from one of the firms, and in August, 1964 a new ambulance arrived at the station, built by Superior Coach Co., of Lima, Ohio at a cost of $10,545. The new ambulance was equipped to handle four patients per trip, could provide oxygen for two patients and came equipped with power steering and power brakes. The department was responsible for providing ambulance service to the northern half of Wood County and portions of Clark and Marathon counties. Wood County agreed to compensate the city at a rate of $16,000 per year for the service.

On March 26, 1966 a fire was reported at the Kelly Tire Shop, one half mile south of the city in the town of Cameron, where the responding rural fire truck found the blaze out of control. Other units from the station were dispatched, and laid 250 yards of hose from the nearest city hydrant to help battle the inferno. Damage was estimated at over $150,000 making it the worst blaze fought by Marshfield firemen since the Hotel Blodgett fire in 1952. The fire was believed to have started in a short circuited foot switch on machinery in the building during the lunch hour. The fire was reported at 12:50 p.m. Firemen managed to remove five 55 gallon drums containing highly combustible solvent from the building when they first arrived on the scene. The blaze was punctuated by explosions caused by overheated 5 gallon cans of solvent. The fire consumed several hundred tires, the solvent, propane gas and numerous other inflammable materials. 

May 15, 1968, a Twin-engine Beech cargo plane owned by Midstate Airlines of Marshfield crashed into a house one mile south of the city, killing the pilot and completely destroying the house. Eyewitnesses claimed the plane was experiencing engine problems and was apparently trying to return to the airport shortly after takeoff. A woman in the house escaped out the back door of the house after the crash, unharmed. On its downward course, the plane struck high power lines on the west side of Highway 13, sheared off wires on the east side of the highway, one wing hit the ground just before the plane struck a spruce tree in front of the house, flipped over into the house and exploded.

The department purchased a new emergency rescue squad vehicle to replace the 1948 vehicle. The new unit cost $20,000, weighed 11 tons, and was equipped with an emergency generator. The vehicle was delivered to the station in November, 1968, and would respond to all city fires and could serve as a third ambulance able to carry four patients.

An early morning blaze destroyed the Marshfield Public School Board of Education building as 1010 E. 4th St. on February 26, 1969. At one time, 28 firemen fought the blaze after it was discovered at 3:30 a.m. The fire was thought to have stated in the basement near the furnace. No important school documents were destroyed. They were removed by firemen using an Electric and Water Department bucket truck, and were contained in the two office firemen were able to save from flames. Captain Elmer Schreiber was pulling a section of hose up a stairwell to the second floor and the partially burned through stair treads gave way causing him to fall through to the basement. He escaped unharmed except for a few scratches.

Another new ambulance arrived at the fire station in January, 1970. The cost of the unit was $13,980 of which half was paid with federal grant money. The unit could carry four patients and was mounted on an Oldsmobile chassis. The department now had three ambulances, of which one would soon be converted to handle special patient transfers, such as babies and heart patients. With the rapid addition of equipment, the department began to feel a need for more space in the station in 1970. Chief Ziegahn suggested to the Fire and Police Commission that an addition be built to the present station rather than construction of a proposed sub-station on the west side of the city, in order to maintain a centralized department. The need for additional space was so severe that file cabinets were stored on the apparatus floor, office space had been converted to sleeping quarters for ambulance crews, and units were parked sideways in the station.

At that time there were 28 full time firemen, and equipment consisted of 4 pumping units, 1 aerial ladder, 1 rescue squad, 1 station car and three ambulances. An addition to the present building was approved. A fourth ambulance was delivered to the fire station in October, 1971. The 1971 Cadillac unit cost $17,250, although $5,000 was provided through a State Highway Safety program. Also purchased in 1971 was an International tanker for the rural fire department. The unit was designed to carry 1,500 gallons of water and would trail other fire vehicles to rural fires. Water shortages frequently hampered the efficiency of firemen in the past.

One employee was injured and production was knocked out in 26 of 30 departments at the Weyerhaeuser hardwood plant by an explosion at 8:50 a.m. on January 20, 1972. A flashback from a boiler caused an explosion in a dust cyclone, where a major fire erupted. The blast also damaged the building, where windows and doors were blown out. The fire chief described the blast as the worst at the plant in many years.

The new addition to the fire station was completed in January of 1973, at a cost of $100,000, adding 3,000 square feet to the existing building. The addition provided a larger workshop area, more space in the locker room, a large area for storage of fire coats and other equipment, and new sleeping quarters for ambulance personnel. Much of the added space was devoted to the apparatus floor, which included a grated floor drain where department vehicles could be washed. A conference room was included, where the Fire and Police Commission would conduct its meetings. The room could hold about a dozen people.

In June, 1973, visitors and city residents gathered at the Marshfield Armory grounds to witness a display of fire apparatus, ambulances and other emergency equipment in association with the 45th Annual Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs convention hosted by the local department. The convention included a gathering at the Armory, the equipment demonstration, and a cookout at the Knights of Columbus Hall. A fashion show was designed to entertain the wives of the visiting chiefs. Marshfield Fire Chief Ziegahn praised the work of the men in his department for their efforts in making the event a success.

A blaze which broke out in a storage room at the Thomas Market, 1200 S. Central Ave. on January 23, 1975, gutted a large part of the structure. Gordon Thomas, head of the firm which had been in business in the city for 49 years, estimated the loss at over $100,000. The fire was caused by an overheated compressor located in the rear of the store. Police Captain William W. Wohlfahrt, driving in the area, turned in the alarm at 10:00 p.m., reporting the whole back of the building was on fire. Moments after the first units arrived at the fire, a second alarm was sounded on the City Hall siren. At one time about 30 fire fighters were battling the stubborn blaze. Three engines and the rescue squad were used at the scene. Firemen used 16 smoke masks and 20 tanks of oxygen in the battle with numerous smaller fires smoldering inside a suspended ceiling. The lone tenant of an upstairs apartment was not home at the time of the fire, and her belongings were badly damaged by smoke. Grocery stock inside the store was extensively damaged by smoke and water and damage was estimated at $80,000. No one was injured.

In February, 1975, the department consisted of 34 men. Fire fighters were hired through a selection process which included an aptitude test and an interview with the commission. Newly hired firemen faced a probation period during which they were given on-the-job training and attended as many schools as possible. Turnover in the department was very low. The department in 1975 consisted of the following: Chief Verlyn Ziegahn, Assistant Chief Harold Ploen, Captains Clarence Yaeger and Robert Kult, Lieutenants Troy Hannum, Robert Ploen, James Spencer and Marvin Strohman, and Fire Fighter Paul Adler, Peter Berg, Duwayne Fravert, Bernard Binning, James Fure, John Fure, Donald Heintz, Charles Hennes, Michael Holleran, Kenneth Huettl, David Markus, David Marsh, Ronald Michalski, Thomas Pankratz, Donald Pueschner, Gary Rappe, William Schallock, David Schindhelm, Donald Smhmeling, Wayne Schultz, Joseph Selner, Michael Truhlar, Jack Ruder, Clarence Yaeger Jr., Donald Zager, and Theodore Uzelac.

The department purchased a van style ambulance in 1975 which was to be easier to operate and more economical than the units already being driven. The cost of the unit was $17,330 and included a portable inhalator and resuscitator device to be carried to the patient prior to their transfer to the ambulance.

A spectacular fire in sub-zero temperatures destroyed the Central Cheese Company building at 302 S. Spruce Ave. in the early hours of January 5, 1976. A call was placed to the fire station at about 1 a.m. by police on patrol in the area, and was under control about two hours later. 32 fire fighters and four fire units responded to the alarm. The old wooden building was quickly consumed, with damage estimated between $75,000 and $100,000. No one was injured in the fire.

Monday, June 17, 1976, the City Hall siren was sounded again to call in off duty firemen to battle a very hot and destructive fire at the Swanson Furniture store at 149 N. Central Ave. Firemen were called to the rear of the building at 7:22 p.m.. In all, 32 men using three pumper trucks and the aerial ladder truck battled the blaze for three and a half hours until it was declared under control at 11 p.m. Most firemen remained at the scene until 1 a.m. The fire started in the basement and firemen were hampered by intense smoke and heat caused by burning mattresses and upholstered furniture in the basement. As the fire spread, the main floor stated to weaken and several firemen were said to have stepped through the floor. No one fell into the basement. They finally settled on pounding holes through the floor and dropping revolving nozzles in two or three different spots. It was noted afterward that firemen were lucky to have been called to the rear of the store, because the intense heat of the fire forced the front windows to explode. Had someone been in front of the building at the time, they would surely have been killed. One fireman was injured by falling glass and treated for a minor cut. Heat was pouring from the basement the next day as the three to four feet of water in the basement cooled down. The Stratford Fire Department responded to a call for help at about 9:00 p.m. with a pumper and seven men. Five Stratford firemen helped at the fire scene, and the other two manned the fire station.

A new 1,000 gallon per minute pumper was purchased in July 1977 and became the department’s front line piece of equipment. The machine cost $50,932 and was mounted on a Ford chassis and built by an Appleton firm. It was equipped with a diesel engine, automatic transmission and a five man cab, all features which were new for Marshfield equipment.

Damage estimated at $400,000 was caused by a fire which struck the Marshfield Milling Company warehouse located just east of the city on E. 4th. St. on October 6, 1977 at 10:45 a.m. Fire fighters and pumpers from Stratford, Auburndale, Arpin, and Spencer assisted Marshfield firemen, and all rural firemen and equipment from area townships responded. In addition to fire department tankers, two concrete mixing trucks from F.F. Mengel Co. and a large tanker from Consolidated Badger Cooperative aided in hauling water to the scene of the fore. Fire fighters were hampered by the fact that the nearest fire hydrant was in front of Mobile Plywoods on E. 4th. St. several blocks to the west. The fire was particularly bad because of the flammable contents of the buildings, which housed building supplies, including rolls of roofing materials.

Fire fighters were called out in force at 2:04 a.m. New Year’s Day, 1978 to battle a blaze which destroyed Hefko Floral Co. at 603 W. 5th. St. It started in the southwest corner of the building used by the firm as a sales and floral assembly area. The fire burned through the roof and gutted the interior of the building before it was brought under control at about 5:40 a.m.  The blaze was fought in sub-zero temperatures and firemen had to contend with small explosions caused by insecticide and paint cans within the burning building.

In April, 1978, a Marshfield fire fighter gained a berth on the City Common Council as 1st Ward Alderman in the spring election. Thomas Pankratz was notified the day after the election that he could not serve as alderman due to a direct conflict of interest. Pankratz later resigned from the position and accepted an appointment to the city Water & Light Commission.

A fund raising drive conducted by Marshfield firemen in September, 1978 was successful in raising the $5,000 needed to purchase the 'Jaws of Life' tool. The powerful rescue device is designed to help extricate trapped victims of auto and other accidents by utilizing hydraulics.

The Fleet Farm store on Highway 13 North was destroyed by a devastating blaze shortly after 6 a.m. on April 27, 1979. The fire was reported over a citizen's band radio. The first firemen to arrive on the scene notified the station to call in all off-duty fire fighters to help fight the blaze, which was brought under control at about 11:00 a.m. Efforts to get to the building were hampered by a chain-link fence which surrounded the building, and metal doors bolted so securely that a cutting torch had to be used to cut them open. Other holes were cut into the sides of the building to vent smoke and advance the hose lines. The intense heat and exploding ammunition hindered the efforts of firemen to enter the building from the front. All of the metal racks had collapsed on the floor blocking the aisles also. Nearly 8,000 tires and numerous gallons of paint were stored inside the building, and officials could hear much of the 1,000 pounds of ammunition exploding inside, including shotgun shells and rifle bullets. Off duty men were not released from the scene until about 3:30 p.m. and the primary pumper returned to the station at 4:28 p.m. A combination of a faulty ballast in a light fixture in the ceiling, which ignited paper, covered ceiling insulation, which in turn ignited cardboard containers which were stacked up to within a foot of the light fixture, caused the fire. Damage was placed at 2.3 million dollars. 

Fire fighters were credited with saving a major portion of the Beef N' Pub supper club at 111 W. McMillan St. in the early evening hours of September 3, 1979. The blaze was brought under control quickly, with damage confined to storage room and kitchen area. Smoke damage was reported extensive throughout the building. Both shifts of Marshfield fire fighters and six Town of Richfield firemen training at the time the call was received were at the scene.  Speculation by officials claimed had the fire reached the large dining area, the whole building might have been consumed.

An elderly man and a pet dog were killed in a fire at 308 N. Maple Ave. at 7 a.m. on December 1, 1979. A fire which stated in the rear of the building, quickly burned into the second story bedroom where the man was asleep. The owner of the house escaped and was found in her nightclothes in the back yard in a daze.

Fire Chief Verlyn W. (Bill) Ziegahn, one of the remaining full time paid firemen hired April 1, 1948, retired from service on September 30, 1980, only the third chief in the 32 year old full time department. When he started with the department it employed 17 firemen. The staff at the time he retired included 34 full time men and a clerical worker. The department owned four pieces of fire fighting equipment when he was hired. The station housed 13 units when he retired, including a fleet of four ambulances. Ziegahn noted the changes in the growth of the city in his years of service. He noted the city almost doubled in size, and the number of calls went form 267 in 1952 to 1,889 in 1979. He admitted he was reluctant to administer the ambulance service in 1964, but the program had changed favorably in the last 16 years and he changed his mind. He said the biggest change for the department came when they moved from their city hall quarters to the new station in 1962.

Captain Robert (Bruno) Kult also retired in 1980 with over 30 years of service. 1980 was also the year large diameter hose was first put into service in this fire department.

Harold E. Ploen was named acting chief by the Fire and Police Commission. This marked the second time within a year that Ploen was named to that post. In November, 1979 he was appointed while Ziegahn was on a leave of absence. Ploen joined the department October 11, 1948, was promoted to lieutenant in 1959 and captain in 1969. He had been assistant chief since October 28, 1972.

Portage fire chief Clayton Simonson Sr. was hired as chief of the department on January 28, 1981. He assumed his new role on February 16, 1981 after serving as Portage chief for seven years. Simonson was chosen from 27 applicants for the job including several from within the department. He promised to stress fire prevention and fire training for personnel.

Chief Simonson provided cost figures for implementing a partially volunteer department to the Fire and Police Commission in May, 1981. The idea was to be investigated in anticipation of budget cuts by the Common Council, noting that a major portion of the department budget was comprised of salaries. Debates concerning the matter drew response from the fire fighters local union, resulting in a referendum on the 1982 spring election ballot. It called for the abolition of the optional powers of the Commission to set policy in the department. The proposal was defeated by voters.

The paid-on-call system was implemented, substituting three POC's for each full time fire fighter lost through attrition.  Paid-on-call personnel were to live and work in the same section of the city to which they were assigned stand-by duty. This amounted to several alternating days per month. They were to be paid for training, for stand-by duty, and for time on duty fighting a fire. The issue in opposition to the concept was the question of initial response time of units to the fire scene and actually having enough men to advance equipment to fight the fire. The issues were debated before both the Commission and the city Common Council.

The Apprenticeship training program started on January 1, 1981.

January 4, 1981 brought with it one of the saddest moments in the history of this fire department. Lt. Marvin Strohman died in the line of duty of a heart attack. He collapsed in the basement of the Clinique Lounge in the 600 block of South Central Ave.

A three year old Marshfield boy died in a fire at his home at 1604 S. Washington on May 25, 1982. The fire was reported at 10:01 a.m. and authorities were told there were persons still trapped inside the building when fire fighters arrived. A second boy was removed from a second story window five minutes later, a victim of smoke and heat. The house was destroyed.

Hundreds of people were attracted to a huge blaze destroyed a storage building owned by Central Supply Corp. in the 400 block of E. Depot St. on August 1, 1982. The blaze caused $30,000 damage to the old wooden structure. Two fire fighters suffered the effects of heat and smoke while fighting the blaze, one was treated at the hospital and later released. Both shifts of fire fighters were called to fight the fire.

A new 1,000 gallon per minute pumper was purchased by the Marshfield Rural Fire Department in September, 1982 and replaced the 1962 five hundred gallon per minute unit. The vehicle cost $79,600 and was purchased jointly by the townships of Lincoln, Cameron, Richfield, Marshfield, and the Village of Hewitt and will be housed in the Marshfield fire station. The City of Marshfield may also use the unit when needed. To support the maximum capacity of the new pumper, tanker trucks had been purchased by rural firemen in the towns of Richfield, Cameron, and the Village of Hewitt, with other townships anticipating the purchase of their own units, which would total 8,000 gallons of water at first response to rural fires.

1982 saw many changes in the department. The fire station got a new rubber roof with 2 inches of insulation under it, as well as new smaller thermopane windows. The station was also painted inside.  We also had a complete change in turnout gear from new helmets to all Nomex coats and bunkers. We were one of the first fire departments in the state to be equipped with this state of the art equipment. A new van type ambulance was put in service replacing the last car chassis type ambulance. We also went Hi-Band on our radio network.  

1982 also saw the retirement of Assistant Chief Harold Ploen as well as Fire fighters Donald Schmeling and Peter Berg.   Retired fire chief Verlyn Ziegahn died November 18, 1982

1983 saw a lot of changes in the department also, starting with the change over to a 3 platoon work schedule on April 17, 1983. The rank of Deputy Chief was implemented and they were put in charge of each of the platoons.

The 1983 Fire Department rooster was as follows. 31 men.

Chief: Clayton Simonson.

Deputy Chiefs: Kenneth Huettl, Donald Zager, and Robert Ploen.

Lieutenants: Michael Holleran, Ronald Michalski and John Ruder.

Fire fighters: John Fure, Donald Heintz, James Fure, DuWayne Fravert, David Markus, Wayne Schultz, Clarence Yaeger, William Schallock, Charles Hennes, Bernard Binning, Paul Adler, David Marsh, Donald Pueschner, Michael Truhlar, Ronald Steltenpohl, David Schindhelm, Terry Luepke, Michael Huber, John Zeidler, James Schmidt, Mitch Butler, Charles Ampe, and Richard Wein.

Sept. 4, 1983. The paid on call (P.O.C.'s) fire fighters came on duty.  The original 6 were Donald Cupp, Roy Dolens, Jay Albrecht, Larry Ohnesorge, Michael Albee, and Ronald Nagel.

1984 brought with it a new remodeled kitchen. Most of it done by the fire fighters with materials donated by Weyerhaeuser and other suppliers. Deputy Chief Ploen was responsible for this project and did a beautiful job.

A new ambulance was put in service, Built by Collins Industries Inc. 1985 was a relatively quiet year a far as changes go. We went to the Lox-Box system for keys, started getting the rural fire fighters all on pagers, ordered a new fire truck for delivery in 86. Lt.'s Holleran and Ruder graduated from E.M.T. class, fulfilling the demands granted in settling a grievance between the city and the union.

1986 saw new insulated doors put on the apparatus floor. We also purchased Haz-Mat suits and started getting an assortment of sparkless tools. A carbon monoxide tester was also purchased.

We took delivery of a new 1250 G.P.M. "Smeal" fire engine. It came fully equipped with nozzles, extinguishers, hand tools and 6 self-contained breathing apparatus.

D/Chief Robert Ploen Retired after 34 years of service. We also put 10 more P.O.C.'s on duty.

March 27, 1987 Donald (Boone) Heintz retired with over 28 years of service.

Marshfield improved to a class 4 city for Insurance rating purposes. We sent 2 fire fighters to the National Fire Academy in Emmitsberg Maryland for the Wisconsin weekend fire classes.

In 1988 we finally got approval to get immunized for Hepatitis-B and we started taking measures to protect fire fighters against the " AIDS" virus. It took the Police and Fire commission almost a year to decide that we needed these shots. We also started training for E.M.T. defibrillation.

December 30, 1989 D/Chief Ronald Michalski retired with over 28 years of service.

An infectious disease control program was implemented and the defibrillation training completed. All fire fighters attended an emergency vehicle defensive driving course at the airport.

In 1990, the following Firefighters were hired:  James (JJ) Jozwiak, Ed Erickson, Robert Haight, and Dan Jonas.

June 30, 1990 Lt. John Ruder retired with over 26 years of service and D/Chief Kenneth Huettl resigned to take the Fire Chiefs job in Wisconsin Rapids.

A no smoking in the fire station policy was established in 1990 by the Police and Fire Commission. The commission had tried to get a complete ban on smoking by fire fighters even off duty in their homes, but the council stopped this action.

A New positive pressure ventilator (Fan) was added to the department and it got a workout on Christmas day. The results were favorable at the house fire.

Retired Deputy Chief Robert Ploen died December 31, 1990.

July 16, 1991 Fire Chief Clayton Simonson retired from this Department after 10 years of service. He was replaced by Chief Gregg Cleveland. Deputy Chief Donald Zager retired December 31, 1990 with over 31 years of service.

In 1991, Truck 1 was taken out of service and sent for repairs. Action was started to replace it, as it is over 31 years old.  Old Truck 1 was sent to New York for repairs.  In 1992 old Truck 1 was replaced by a new 105 foot aerial platform from Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, WI. The purchase price was approximately $450,000.00. Old Truck 1 was sold to the McMillian Volunteer Fire Department at a cost of $2,300.00 on 7/8/93.

In 1992 the Fire Department hired Brad Breuer as a new firefighter.

During 1992 the Department also started a Juvenile Fire Setters Program designed to education children between the ages of 3 and 18 as to the dangers of playing with fire. This program was initiated by Lieutenant Bernie Binning and involved several members of the Department as team members.  

Fire Fighter Michael Truhlar was promoted to Deputy Chief in charge of the Blue Shift, in April of 1992. The Department also contracted with the State of Wisconsin to perform underground and above ground storage tanks inspections. Under this program the State pays the Department to conduct all inspection on all existing federally regulated petroleum tanks as well as conducting inspections on all new installations.

Fire Fighter Tim Kluck was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief on June 13, 1993. He replaced retiring Deputy Fire Chief Michael Holleran who retired on May 31, 1993, after 31 year of service.

The Fire and Rescue Department began operations as the Wood County Hazardous Materials Level B Response Team. The Department negotiated a contract with the County to provide Level B hazardous materials response services to all communities in Wood County. In exchange for this service, the Wood County paid the Department a retainer fee of $5,000.00 and directed $10,000.00 of grant money to the Department for training and equipment.

The Department also created an incident command policy for the management of all emergency situations. This projected was headed by Deputy Fire Chief Michael Truhlar who was assisted by Lieutenant Bernie Binning and Fire Fighter John Zeidler.

The Department was involved with Wood County for the design and implementation of a Wood County Records Management System. The goal was to select and implement a records management system in the Fire and Rescue Department to analyze statistical data to improve service delivery to the citizens of the City and surrounding communities. The Department selected and implemented the Fire One Records Management System for records management and the Police Department selected and installed Clues as the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) program and police records management system. Through this system all of the data from fire and police departments in Wood County would be consolidated into one system maintained by the County.

Fire Fighter Greg Brown was hired on June 15, 1993 to fill the only vacant position in the Department.

The Department also implemented an Epinephrine program for the treatment of patients who suffer from anaphylactic shock. A total of 15 fire fighter/EMTs were trained to administer this drug in the field. This program cost the City approximately $1,072.00 in tuition and overtime.

The year 1994 saw a number of changes in personnel. Fire Fighter John Fure retired on January 8th; Fire Fighter Duwayne Fravert on August 19th; and Fire Fighter Wayne Schultz on November 18th. These Fire Fighters were replaced by Jody Clements who was hired on March 3rd; Jon Lucareli on November 7th; and Laura Tremaine November 28th. Fire Fighter Tremaine was the Department's first female fire fighter.

The Department formulated an evaluation committee to evaluate the effectiveness of the Department's paid-on-call program. This program was created in 1982 to assist fire fighting personnel at the scenes of major fires in the City. This group collected information from a variety of sources and issued a final report to the Fire and Police Commission on any suggested changes in the program.

In May of 1994, newly elected Mayor Richard Daniels created the Mayor's Select Committee on Emergency Medical Services to evaluate the delivery of emergency medical services in the City of Marshfield. The committee involved Chief Gregg A. Cleveland, Fire Fighter Roy Dolens representing the Fire and Rescue Department, Commissioner Todd Penske representing the Fire and Police Commission, Councilman Edward Beaudry representing the Common Council, and staff people from Saint Joseph's Hospital and the Marshfield Clinic. The committee identified three models of providing emergency medical services: 1) have a private ambulance service provide emergency medical services; 2) have the City Fire Department provide EMT-intermediate ambulance service and the Saint Joseph's Hospital provide paramedic level ambulance service; and 3) have the Fire and Rescue Department provide paramedic level service.

Model three was chosen and recommended to the common council for approval. The Council approved the Department providing paramedic level service by a vote of 10-1 and the 1995 Fire and Rescue subsequently amended to include $35,000.00 to start the training of Fire and Rescue personnel to the paramedic level.

In September of 1994, the Department held the first Fire Fighter Memorial Service to honor Lieutenant Marvin Strohman and other fire fighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. This memorial service was headed up by Deputy Chief Tim Kluck and was held at Strohman Park on Central Avenue. The memorial service is planned to be a yearly event.

The year 1995 started off with a fire on January 6, 1995, at Superior Gas Company, 214 West Fourteenth Street. The fire involved a fully loaded gasoline truck that had caught on fire as a result of static electricity. The area immediately surrounding Superior Gas was evacuated because of the threat of explosion because of two large liquefied petroleum gas storage tanks. The fire was brought under control and the scene stabilized through the use of fire fighting foam and aggressive fire attack by Department personnel.

This fire was followed by a fire on March 21, 1995, at Bubble's Funny Farm located at 2909 South Maple Street. On arrival the Department found fire showing from the front (northwest) corner of the building. The fire eventually took control of the majority of the building and required the use of mutual aid from the surrounding communities. The fire was gradually brought under control and the building suffered major fire and smoke damage throughout. The building was razed following the fire. The Department also responded to four additional "working" fires during the year.

Two members of the Department retired in 1995, Deputy Fire Chief William Schallock and Fire Fighter Clarence Yaeger. Deputy Chief Schallock had served the Department 26 years and Fire Fighter Yaeger 28 years. The following Fire Fighters were hired in 1995: Jeff Metzler, Kelly Esker, and Keith Basset. Fire Fighters Jeff Metzler and David Schindhelm were released from the Department during 1995.

The year 1995 also saw the start of paramedic training. The program formally started on October 1, 1995, and was planned to finish in August of 1996. Fourteen members of the Department were selected to become paramedics. The training was provided by Mid-State Technical College, Marshfield Clinic, and Saint Joseph's Hospital, with Mid-State Technical College serving as the paramedic training center.

Firefighter Terry Luepke left the department on April 15, 1996.

Laura Tremaine resigned from the department on January 4, 1996 to accept a fire position with a department in Colorado.  In February 1996, David Markus retired from the department after 29 years of service. 

The Department began paramedic service on July 15th, 1996, to the City and surrounding communities.

The following Firefighters were hired in 1996: James Fahrenkrug, Jeffrey Barth, Chris Cass, Scott Owen and Todd Schadrie.

Deputy Chief Tim Kluck resigned in October 1996 and became the Fire Chief of the Antigo Fire Department (resigning a few years later to become the Fire Chief of Plover, WI).   Lieutenant Binning retired December 31, 1996 with 27 years of service.  

Firefighter Cass resigned December 12, 1996 for a position with the Watertown Fire Department.

The following Firefighters were hired in 1997: Brad Allar, Richard Stephanie, Rodney Bauer, Mark Schmitt, David Patton, Aaron Depas, David Patton, Bryan Tello, and Peter Fletty.

Firefighter Fahrenkrug resigned July 5, 1997 to accept a position with the Neenah Fire Department.

Firefighter Schadrie resigned September 12, 1997 to accept a position with the Green Bay Fire Department.

Firefighter Stephanie resigned July 2, 1997 to accept a position with the Janesville Fire Department.

Firefighter Roy Dolens was promoted to Deputy Chief in charge of E.M.S. on March 17, 1997. Firefighter Dolens returned to shift work in September 1997.

Firefighter John Zeidler was promoted to Lieutenant in charge of the Red Shift on June 13, 1997.

Firefighters Michael Huber and Jim Schmidt were promoted to Relief Lieutenants on June 18, 1997.

On November 7, 1997, Firefighter Haight was promoted to Deputy Chief in charge of EMS.

The following Firefighters were hired in 1998: Jason Foth, Dan Arndorfer, Steve Bakos, and Robert Ferguson.

Firefighter Greg Brown resigned from the department on February 28, 1998 and accepted a position with the DePere Fire Department.  Firefighter Bryan Tello resigned from the department to accept a position with Wauwatosa Fire Department.  Firefighter Aaron Depas also resigned from the department.

Firefighter Charles Hennes retired from the department on May 1, 1998 after serving 27 years.

The following firefighters were hired in 1999:  Troy Weiland and Jon Fritz.

On October 1, 1999 the department was once again faced with losing one of our own, to a motor vehicle versus deer accident.  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Steven Schlagenhaft was killed when a deer was hit by another vehicle and landed through the windshield of Steve's truck.  

Firefighter Keith Bassett resigned on March 25, 1999 to accept a position with the Green Bay F.D.

In 2000, Brian Barnes and Jim Case joined the department

Deputy Chief Mike Truhlar retires from the department on January 4, 2000 after serving 27 years.  On March 20, 2000, Firefighter Erickson was promoted to Deputy Chief in charge of Fire Prevention.  Firefighter Paul Adler retires from the department on May 18, 2000 after serving 29 years.  Lieutenant David Marsh retires from the department on December 31, 2000 after serving 28 years.  

The following people were hired by the department in 2001:  Troy Babbitts, Pete Winistorfer, and Chad Decker.

On February 28, 2001 Firefighter Jim Case resigns from the department to accept a position with the Wauwatosa (WI) Fire Department.  April 30, 2001 Firefighter Mark Schmitt resigns from the department to accept a position with Colorado Springs Fire Department.  November 30, 2001 Firefighter Dan Arndorfer resigns from the department.

The following people were hired in 2002:  Dale Dominick, Tyler Johnson, Chad Kakes, and Joe VandenElzen.

Lieutenant Ron Steltenpohl retires from the department on February 22, 2002 after serving 27 years. 

Lieutenant John Zeidler retires from the department on June 30, 2002 after serving 24 years. 

Firefighter Troy Babbitts was relieved of his duty on March 14, 2002 and Firefighter Chad Decker resigned from the department on August 28, 2002.    

On September 1, 2001 Relief Lieutenant Michael Huber, Relief Lieutenant James Schmidt, and Firefighter Craig DeGrand promoted to Deputy Chief.  D/C Huber is shift commander for Blue Shift, D/C Schmidt for Red Shift, and D/C DeGrand for Green Shift.

On September 1, 2001 Firefighter Roy Dolens and Firefighter Scott Owen promoted to Relief Deputy Chief.

In 2002 Firefighter Rick Wein promoted to Relief Deputy Chief.

In 2003, Lance Christopher joined the department as a Firefighter/EMT-Basic.

October 20, 2003 Firefighter Tyler Johnson resigned from the department to accept a position with another department.

In 2004, the following people were hired by the department:  James Meyer and Everett Mueller, both as Firefighter/EMT-Basic's.

2004, Firefighter Brad Allar resigned from the department to return to school full-time to pursue becoming a physician assistant (PA).

April 15, 2005 Firefighter Rob Ferguson resigned from the fire department.  2005 also saw the resignation of Chad Kakes, who accepted a position with the Fire Department in Two Rivers, WI.  Michael Boulding hired on in August 2005 as a Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic coming here from the Milwaukee (WI) area.  On October 31, 2005 Eric Lang hired on as a firefighter/EMT-Paramedic and is assigned to the Green Shift.

January 2006, Firefighter Michael Boulding resigned from the fire department.  April 2006, Jason Schad hired on as a Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic and is assigned to the Red Shift.

April 27, 2006:  Chief Gregg Cleveland's last day with the fire department.  Chief Cleveland resigned from this department after 15 years of service and accepted the position of Fire Chief in La Crosse, WI.  April 28, 2006, Deputy Chief Ed Erickson appointed by the Fire and Police Commission as the Acting Fire Chief for the City of Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department.

October 2006:  Firefighter/EMT-P Eric Lang completes year-long probation period and is given his badge at the Common Council meeting

December 2006:  Firefighter Rick Wein retires from the fire department.            

March 2007, Erik Jonas hired on as a Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic and is assigned to the Blue Shift.   Firefighter/EMT-P Jim Jozwiak and Firefighter/EMT-B Everett Mueller are transferred to the Green Shift, and Firefighter/EMT-P Dale Dominick is transferred to the Red Shift.

March 2007:  Retired Firefighter/Captain Robert "Bruno" Kult passes away in his sleep.  Bruno was 81 years old, had served the department and the citizens of Marshfield for 25 years, retiring in 1980.  Firefighter funeral held for Bruno.

April 2, 2007:  Deputy Chief James Schmidt promoted to Fire Chief.  Chief Schmidt has more than 25 years of service with the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department.     

April 2007:  Firefighter/EMT-P Jason Schad completes year-long probation period and is given his badge at the Common Council Meeting.    

April 23, 2007:  Firefighter/EMT-P Roy Dolens promoted to Deputy Chief of the Red Shift

May 1, 2007 the roster of the Fire Department is as follows:

    Chief:            James B. Schmidt

    D/C-Fire Prevention:        Ed Erickson

    D/C EMS:        Robert Haight

    Administrative Assistant:  Sue Berger

    D/C Blue Shift:        Michael Huber

Blue Shift Firefighters:    Mitch Butler, Brad Breuer, Jon Lucareli, Scott Owen, David Patton, Steve Bakos, Pete Winistorfer, Lance Christopher, and Erik Jonas.

    D/C Green Shift:    Craig DeGrand

Green Shift Firefighters:    Jim Jozwiak, Dan Jonas, Jeff Barth, Peter Fletty, Jason Foth, Brian Barnes, Jon Fritz, Everett Mueller, and Eric Lang.

    D/C Red Shift:        Roy Dolens

Red Shift Firefighters:     Jody Clements, Kelly Esker, Rod Bauer, Troy Weiland, Dale Dominick, Joe VandenElzen, James Meyer, and Jason Schad

April 2007:  Firefighter/EMT-Basic Steve Prusinski joins the fire department

November 2007:  Firefighter/EMT-B Steve Prusinski resigns to accept a position with the West Allis, WI Fire Department

December 31, 2007:  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Kyle Pieper begins his duties with the Marshfield FD.

December 31, 2007:  D/C Mike Huber announces his retirement to be effective at the conclusion of his shift on January 31, 2008.

January 1, 2008:  Shift changes occur and as of this date the staffing is as follows:

    Chief:    James B. Schmidt

    D/C-Fire Prevention:        Ed Erickson

    D/C EMS:        Robert Haight

    Administrative Assistant:  Sue Berger

    D/C Blue Shift:        Michael Huber

Blue Shift Firefighters:    Mitch Butler, Brad Breuer, Scott Owen, David Patton, Steve Bakos, Pete Winistorfer, Lance Christopher, Eric Lang, and Erik Jonas.

    D/C Green Shift:    Craig DeGrand

Green Shift Firefighters:    Jim Jozwiak, Jon Lucareli, Jeff Barth, Peter Fletty, Jason Foth, Jon Fritz, Jim Meyer, Everett Mueller, and Kyle Pieper.

    D/C Red Shift:        Roy Dolens

Red Shift Firefighters:     Dan Jonas, Jody Clements, Kelly Esker, Rod Bauer, Troy Weiland, Brian Barnes, Dale Dominick, Joe VandenElzen, and Jason Schad

January 31, 2008:  Deputy Chief Michael D. Huber retires from the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department after nearly 29 years of service to the community.  D/C Huber began his career with the City on May 1, 1979.  We wish him the best of luck in his retirement!

February 2, 2008:  Firefighter/EMT-Basic Scott Owen promoted to Deputy Fire Chief in charge of the Blue Shift.    Structure of the Blue shift on February 2, 2008 is: 

D/C Blue Shift:        Scott Owen

Blue Shift Firefighters:    Mitch Butler, Brad Breuer, David Patton, Steve Bakos, Pete Winistorfer, Lance Christopher, Eric Lang, and Erik Jonas.

February 25, 2008:  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Ben Griesbach joins the fire department and is assigned to the Blue Shift.

February 26, 2008:  Firefighter/EMT-P Erik Jonas completes year-long probation period and is given his badge at the Common Council Meeting.   

April 21, 2008:  Firefighter Mitch Butler retires from the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department after nearly 25 years of service to the community.  FF Butler began his career with the department on September 25, 1983.  Good Luck Mitch!

May 1, 2008 the roster of the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department is as follows:

    Chief:            James B. Schmidt

    D/C-Fire Prevention:        Ed Erickson

    D/C EMS:        Robert Haight

    Administrative Assistant:  Sue Berger

    D/C Blue Shift:        Scott Owen

Blue Shift Firefighters:    Brad Breuer, David Patton, Steve Bakos, Pete Winistorfer, Joe VandenElzen, Lance Christopher, Eric Lang, Erik Jonas, and Ben Griesbach.

    D/C Green Shift:    Craig DeGrand

Green Shift Firefighters:    Jim Jozwiak, Jon Lucareli, Jeff Barth, Peter Fletty, Jason Foth, Brian Barnes, Jon Fritz, Everett Mueller, and Kyle Pieper.

    D/C Red Shift:        Roy Dolens

Red Shift Firefighters:     Dan Jonas, Jody Clements, Kelly Esker, Rod Bauer, Troy Weiland, Brian Barnes, Dale Dominick, and Jason Schad

June 16, 2008:  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Bjorn Gilbertson joins the fire department and is assigned to the Red Shift.

July 28, 2008:  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Jon Fritz is relieved of his duty from the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department

August 1, 2008 the roster of the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department is as follows:

    Chief:            James B. Schmidt

    D/C-Fire Prevention:        Ed Erickson

    D/C EMS:        Robert Haight

    Administrative Assistant:  Sue Berger

    D/C Blue Shift:        Scott Owen

Blue Shift Firefighters:    Brad Breuer, David Patton, Steve Bakos, Pete Winistorfer, Joe VandenElzen, Lance Christopher, Eric Lang, Erik Jonas, and Ben Griesbach.

    D/C Green Shift:    Craig DeGrand

Green Shift Firefighters:    Jim Jozwiak, Jon Lucareli, Jeff Barth, Peter Fletty, Jason Foth, Jim Meyer, Everett Mueller, and Kyle Pieper.

    D/C Red Shift:        Roy Dolens

Red Shift Firefighters:     Dan Jonas, Jody Clements, Kelly Esker, Rod Bauer, Troy Weiland, Brian Barnes, Dale Dominick, Jason Schad, and Bjorn Gilbertson.

October 13, 2008:  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Jonathon Altman joins the fire department and is assigned to the Green Shift.

December 31, 2008:  Firefighter/EMT-P Kyle Pieper completes year-long probation period and is given his badge at the Common Council Meeting. 

February 25, 2009:  Firefighter/EMT-P Ben Griesbach completes year-long probation period. 

January 2009 the roster of the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department is as follows:

    Chief:            James B. Schmidt

    D/C-Fire Prevention:        Ed Erickson

    D/C EMS:        Robert Haight

    Administrative Assistant:  Sue Berger

    D/C Blue Shift:        Scott Owen

Blue Shift Firefighters:    Brad Breuer, Kelly Esker, David Patton, Steve Bakos, Troy Weiland, Joe VandenElzen, Lance Christopher, Erik Jonas, and Ben Griesbach.

    D/C Green Shift:    Craig DeGrand

Green Shift Firefighters:    Jim Jozwiak, Jon Lucareli, Jeff Barth, Peter Fletty, Brian Barnes, Jim Meyer, Everett Mueller, Kyle Pieper, and Jon Altman.

    D/C Red Shift:        Roy Dolens

Red Shift Firefighters:     Dan Jonas, Jody Clements, Rod Bauer, Jason Foth, Pete Winistorfer, Dale Dominick, Eric Lang, Jason Schad, and Bjorn Gilbertson.

July 6, 2009:  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Nate McNamara joins the fire department and is assigned to the Red shift.  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Kurt Trunkel joins the fire department and is assigned to the Green shift.  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Cameron Sanford joins the fire department and is assigned to the Blue shift.

July 6, 2009 the roster of the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department is as follows:

    Chief:            James B. Schmidt

    D/C-Fire Prevention:        Ed Erickson

    D/C EMS:        Robert Haight

    Administrative Assistant:  Sue Berger

    D/C Blue Shift:        Scott Owen

Blue Shift Firefighters:    Brad Breuer, Kelly Esker, David Patton, Steve Bakos, Troy Weiland, Joe VandenElzen, Lance Christopher, Erik Jonas, Ben Griesbach, and Cam Sanford.

    D/C Green Shift:    Craig DeGrand

Green Shift Firefighters:    Jim Jozwiak, Jon Lucareli, Jeff Barth, Peter Fletty,  Brian Barnes, Jim Meyer, Everett Mueller, Kyle Pieper, Jon Altman, and Kurt Trunkel.

    D/C Red Shift:        Roy Dolens

Red Shift Firefighters:     Dan Jonas, Jody Clements, Rod Bauer, Jason Foth, Pete Winistorfer, Dale Dominick, Eric Lang, Jason Schad, Bjorn Gilbertson, and Nate McNamara.

August 2009:  Demolition begins at site of new fire station.  New station will be located 1 block east of the current station.  The new address of the MFRD will be 514 E. 4th Street.  Anticipated completion is July 2010.  Click here for more station information.

August 28, 2009:  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Dale Dominick announces his resignation from the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department effective October 1, 2009.  FF Dominick has accepted the full-time Paramedic Instructor position with Mid-State Technical College.  Good Luck Dale!

November 20, 2009:  Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Sam Tennessen joins the fire department and is assigned to the Red shift.  

August 2010:  Department members move into the new Fire Station

September 7, 2010: Firefighter/EMT-Paramedic Lucas Frydenlund joins the fire department and is assigned to the Green shift.  

January 2012:  Various department members participate in a promotional exam for Lieutenant and Relief-Lieutenant in the fire department.  At the conclusion of the the promotional process the results were tallied and positions announced.

Blue Shift:
Lieutenant Brad Breuer
Relief Lieutenant Kelly Esker
Relief Lieutenant Steve Bakos

Green Shift:
Lieutenant Jon Lucareli
Relief Lieutenant Jeff Barth
Relief Lieutenant Brian Barnes

Red Shift:
Lieutenant Jody Clements
Relief Lieutenant Pete Fletty
Relief Lieutenant Troy Weiland

February 1, 2012 the roster of the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department is as follows:

Chief: James B. Schmidt

D/C-Fire Prevention: Ed Erickson

D/C EMS: Robert Haight

Administrative Assistant: Sue Berger

D/C Blue Shift: Scott Owen
Lieutenant:  Brad Breuer

Blue Shift Firefighters:  Kelly Esker (R-Lt), David Patton, Steve Bakos (R-Lt), Joe VandenElzen, Lance Christopher, Eric Lang, Erik Jonas, Kurt Trunkel, and Cam Sanford.


D/C Green Shift: Craig DeGrand
Lieutenant Jon Lucareli

Green Shift Firefighters: Jim Jozwiak, Jeff Barth (R-Lt), Jason Foth, Brian Barnes (R-Lt), Jim Meyer, Jason Schad, Ben Griesbach, Jon Altman, and Lucas Frydenlund.


D/C Red Shift: Roy Dolens
Lieutenant Jody Clements

Red Shift Firefighters: Dan Jonas, Rod Bauer, Pete Fletty (R-Lt), Troy Weiland (R-Lt), Pete Winistorfer, Everett Mueller, Bjorn Gilbertson, Nate McNamara, and Sam Tennessen.

On February 6, 2013 Fire Chief James B. Schmidt announces his retirement from the fire department.  Chief Schmidt's last day will be June 30, 2013.  Thank you Chief for 31 years of fire service to the City of Marshfield.

Deputy Chief Robert Haight becomes the interim fire chief until the formal process is complete.  On July 30, 2013 Deputy Chief Haight is promoted to Fire Chief.

On September 30, 2013 Bronson Weyrauch is hired as a Firefighter/Paramedic for the City of Marshfield.  FF Weyrauch is assigned to the Green Shift.

On October 14, 2013 Cody Thornberg begins his duties as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the City of Marshfield.  FF Thornberg is assigned to the Red Shift.

Promotional process begins to fill vacant Deputy Chief of EMS position (formerly held by Chief Haight). Following the process, Deputy Chief Scott Owen was promoted to Deputy Chief of EMS and Lieutenant Jody Clements is promoted to Deputy Chief - Shift Command (Blue Shift).  

Additional promotional process held to fill the recently vacated Lieutenant position (and ultimately Relief-Lieutenant position).  Relief-Lieutenant Kelly Esker promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to the Red Shift; Firefighter/Paramedic Pete Winistorfer assigned as a Relief-Lieutenant on the Red Shift.  

February 5, 2014:  FF/Paramedic Kurt Trunkel resigns from the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department to accept a position with the Eau Claire (WI) Fire Department.  Good Luck Kurt!

March 16, 2014 is the last day for Firefighter/Paramedic Cameron Sanford.  Cam has resigned from the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department and has accepted a position with the Green Bay (WI) Fire Department. Best of luck Cam!

On March 24, 2014 Matt Karnowski begins his duties as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the City of Marshfield. FF Karnowski is assigned to the Green Shift.

On June 23, 2014 Jeni Sadauskas begins her duties as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the City of Marshfield. FF Sadauskas is assigned to the Blue Shift.

Following various shift transfers the department structure is as follows as of June 23, 2014:

Chief: Robert P. Haight, III

D/C-Fire Prevention: Ed Erickson

D/C EMS: Scott M. Owen, Sr.

Administrative Assistant: Sue Berger

D/C Blue Shift: Jody Clements
Lieutenant:  Brad Breuer

Blue Shift Firefighters:  David Patton, Pete Fletty (R-Lt), Steve Bakos (R-Lt), Joe VandenElzen, Lance Christopher, Erik Jonas, Jon Altman, Bronson Weyrauch, and Jeni Sadauskas.


D/C Green Shift: Craig DeGrand
Lieutenant Jon Lucareli

Green Shift Firefighters: Jeff Barth (R-Lt), Jason Foth, Brian Barnes (R-Lt), Jim Meyer, Eric Lang, Jason Schad, Ben Griesbach, Lucas Frydenlund, and Matt Karnowski.


D/C Red Shift: Roy Dolens
Lieutenant Kelly Esker

Red Shift Firefighters: Dan Jonas, Rod Bauer, Troy Weiland (R-Lt), Pete Winistorfer (R-Lt), Everett Mueller, Bjorn Gilbertson, Nate McNamara, Sam Tennessen, and Cody Thornberg.