The Wayside Fire Department was organized in 1898 and incorporated in 1900. The first Fire Station was located West of the village on Wayside Road, not much is know of the building it was just an old existing building the Fire Dept. used to house a hand-drawn hook and ladder wagon with fire buckets. This building was used from 1898-1910. In 1901 a wooden hand pumper and a hose cart were added to the Fire Dept. Soon more room was needed, the Fire Depts. second station was actually an old warehouse that was moved from a different site to Hwy W, and a new foundation was made for it around 1909. The building was also updated and renovated to make it suit the Depts. needs. This second station was used from 1910-1958. Around 1910 the Fire Dept. already had in place two cisterns, and a well for fire protection. In 1918 a new #4 hook and ladder wagon with two chemical tanks was put in service. The new wagon was purchased from Prospect Mfg. Co. at the cost of $400.00. A few years later another cistern was constructed adding more fire protection to a growing community.
In 1923 the Fire Dept. purchased its first self-propelled Chev fire truck, with three chemical tanks, made by American La France at the cost of $ 2275.00. The chemical tanks were a means to move water before a conventional pump was designed, and made cost effective to work on a truck chassis. How the chemical tank worked was, two chemicals were mixed together in sealed tanks, the chemical reaction caused gasses to expand inside the tanks creating a pressure build up. The build-up of pressure inside the tanks forced the water out the hose and on the fire. There were only 30 gallons of water per tank, and it had limited pressure and range, but was much faster than bucket brigade or the hand pumper. It was capable of a quick knockdown of smaller fires before they got big, or until the hand pumper was set up. The chemical tanks were an effective quick response solution, but it was very dangerous due to: uncontrollable, pressures, chemical reactions, and water flow capacity.
In the years to follow the Fire Dept. done away with all hand drawn carts, and wagons. The Fire Dept. bought its first self-propelled pumper in 1931, it had a 350-gpm rotary pump on a Studebaker 1 ½ ton chassis. It was purchased from W.S. Nott Co. In 1951 a 2-ton Chev truck with a 500-gpm piston pump mounted in a Howe fire body replaced the Studebaker.
In 1954 a used Chev chassis was purchased for $4,000.00, it was converted to a water tanker. A used 1,100-gallon water tank from the shipyards was purchased and modified to fit the truck. The used tanker was put in service due to the fact there were fewer and fewer milk cans available to haul water with to supply the pumper at a fire.
In 1958 a new fire station was built in the same location of the prior station on Hwy W. The plans were drawn by Selmer Co. of Green Bay. The total construction cost was $19,000.00, there was a lot of donated time and materials in the project. During construction, the fire trucks were kept in Virgil Kocian’s Garage. This station was used from 1958-2004.
The used 1954 tanker was sold for $900.00 and was replaced in 1971 by a 1,500 gallon Chev tanker at the cost of $7300.00, and soon after a 1973 1,200 gallon tanker for $8474.00. Both tankers were made in Hortonville WI. , and were custom made to fit in the space available at the fire station. Both tankers had portable 250 gpm pumps mounted on the tailboards. In the late 1970’s 10″ quick dumps were added one on each tanker. Prior to that, there was only one 4″ dumping valve.
In 1968 a phone controlled siren switch was installed with 10 fire phones given among various members to alert the men of a fire. A clock switch was also installed to control the siren to run automatically at noon. How it worked was the fire was called into the phone company’s operator counsel in Wayside, the operator would take down the information, then plug the Fire Dept. line in and all 10 fire phones would ring one long ring. The first fireman to pick up took the info and went down to the station. He would also push the little red button on the side of his phone and that would set off the siren to let everybody know of the fire. He would also write it down on the chalkboard so late-comers would know where to go. Mutual aid was also called into the operator by phone, and the operator would dispatch Morrison Fire dept, the same way.
In 1975 the Wayside Fire Dept. agreed to charge the Township of Morrison 1 Mill on Assessed property value, prior to that the Fire Dept. was charging $25.00 per section for fire protection. The Township of Maple Grove was charged ½ Mill on Assessed property value. During this same year, the By-Laws were also formed and accepted.
In 1976 two new MSA air masks with steel tanks were purchased, and they were the first SCBA’s put in service by the Fire Dept. Prior to these new SCBA’s the Fire Dept. had only two very old military style gas masks from World War 2 to use for interior fire attack and rescue.
A new Pierce pumper was put in service in 1978; it has a 400-gpm pump on a Chev 4×4 chassis and was the first fire truck in Wayside to have a two-way radio in it to contact Brown County for mutual aid from other Fire Depts. By 1984 all the trucks had radios, and all firemen carried pagers to alert them of a fire. Prior to that the only way to alert the men was from the fire phone, and alert siren mounted by the fire station.
In 1987 a new Detroit diesel in a Chevy chassis with a 1,000-gpm pump mounted in a KME Fire body was put in service, it was purchased from Oshkosh Fire Equipment for the cost of $86,00.00. Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton had a bid of $96,000.This new truck had replaced the old 1951 Chev pumper. The 1951 Chev pumper was sold to a fire department in Northern Wisconsin for $1,000.00.
In the summer of 1989 the Fire Dept. received approval to install a dry-hydrant in the river near the corner of Wayside Road and River Road, to enhance the water supply for the fire department.
In spring 1990 a used 1976 12′ Chevy Step-van was purchased from Townsend Fire Dept. to carry the additional equipment needed to conduct safe fire ground operations. At that time plans were already in place to build an addition to the fire station to house the equipment van, Lorrigan Construction of Reedsville was awarded the bid. The project was completed by fall of 1990 for the cost of $30,000. Corrigans CBS of De Pere had a bid of $60,000. The addition was made a large as possible, with the land that was available. The addition had a 20,000-gallon cistern and used an electric 500-gpm pump for filling tanker trucks. The pump was purchased from the old TCV Alcohol plant at the cost of $1,500.00.
During the summer of 1990 the Fire Dept. received approval to install a dry-hydrant off of Marquette Road in Manitowoc County. This hydrant is used for fires in the region by several neighboring fire departments. Approval is needed from the DNR when doing work with waterways.
In 1992 6 new MSA SCBA’s with steel tanks were purchased and 6 new PASS alarms were added to each SCBA. The new SCBA’s were mounted in the van for quick donning at a fire.
In 1994 a used 1988 Ford chassis was purchased for the first big tanker. The truck was purchased from Eagle Ford for $29,000.00. The 3,000-gallon tank was custom made by Braatz Mfg. of Bonduel, at the cost of $30,000.00. This tanker replaced the old 1973 1,200 gallon tanker. The 1973 tanker served the department for 22 years.
In 1995 a used 1982 Chev 18′ delivery van was purchased, the Fire Dept. had quickly outgrown the old van. The new van went under major repair work: a rebuilt engine, clutch, and brakes were needed. The Fire Dept. members had redone the interior of the van themselves to keep costs down by adding: shelves compartments, lighting, wiring, cabinets, electrical outlets, and a 5500-watt generator. The van is also used as a command post during major incidents.
In 1996 Wayside, Morrison, and Greenleaf Fire Depts. got together and shared the cost of a new breathing air compressor system, and 7 big tanks to fill all our SCBA tanks. Each Dept. shares the yearly operating and maintenance cost, in turn each gets unlimited use of the system. The system will be housed at the Morrison Fire Dept. old station.
1998 was Wayside Fire Depts. 100th year in operation. The Fire Dept. had a 2-day picnic on August 15-16 with, the Wayside-Morrison Concert Band, fireworks, games, rides, water fights, and a vintage parade. The Picnic was a great success.
In 1999 an ISI Thermal Imaging Camera was purchased for $17,245.00, part of the money used was donated by local residents. The Camera is kept in the van, with all the other special tools needed for a fire.
In 2000 a new Cat diesel Freightliner chassis with a 4,000-gallon tank was put in service at the cost of $100,000.00. The tank was built by T-Line Equipment of Reedsville. This tanker replaced the old 1971 Chevy with the 1,500-gallon tank. The 1971 tanker was used for 29 years.
In spring 2001 a master stream Deluge gun with a 4″ Stroz fitting was purchased and was used a few weeks later at Dan Natzke’s barn fire.
In 2002 the Fire Dept. saw it had much updating to do. A committee was formed to look into how we can house a new engine, by either adding on to or building a new station. The need for a new engine is very evident by it is over 20 years old, and it is not capable of carrying the equipment needed to meet the ISO Class A engine ratings and is not providing the tool’s needed to fight today’s fires. It is also not cost effective to update the truck to meet our needs. The committee reported that the only sensible option was to build new at the Fireman’s park, there is more than enough room to build, and there is room to expand if needed. They reported there is insufficient land at the existing Fire Station on Hwy W to add onto or to rebuild on. The members voted in spring 2004 to build a new station at the Fireman’s Park, and not to exceed $500,000.00. After much discussion, Corrigan’s CBS of DePere was awarded the bid for $429,000.00. Construction started in May and the trucks were moved to the new station in November 2004. In April of 2005 the Fire Dept. had an open house to show the community the new station, and an awards presentation for the current living honorary members of the Fire Dept. was given. A plaque honoring their many years of dedication was given to each honorary member. The Honorary Members are Charlie Reedy, Ray Seibert, Art Schultz, Virgil Kocian, Bob Zirbel, Ron Kocian, and Butch Laabs. The new station will be used for the next 100+ years, planning went into it to be sure we can change and expand when the time comes. The old station on Hwy W was sold for $50,000. The proceeds were used to pay off some debt.
During the winter of 2003 the Fire Dept. formed a committee to apply for a FEMA Grant, an application was completed and awarded in 2003 for 10 new ISI SCBA’s with 10 spare composite tanks, and 30 complete sets of turnout gear one for each member. A new portable hose tester and smoke machine were also purchased at that time. As a part of the FEMA Grant the Fire Dept. received a 15 kw light tower from the Brown County Fire Chief’s Association. The fire department will house and maintain the unit, and will be shared with other local departments when needed.
After many years of preparation and discussion the Fire Dept. finally took the steps needed to go through the ISO rating test in October 2005. Water flow test was done and records of training, maintenance, and equipment were inspected by the ISO. The IOS lowered the fire rating from a 9 to a 7. This lowering of the rating has saved a significant amount of money for each homeowner in the district.
In the spring of 2005 the Fire Dept. started its NIMS training; it is a federal requirement and will take a few years to complete. Along with this an accountability system was needed. Members from Greenleaf, Morrison, and Wayside Fire Depts. had meetings and trainings together to come up with a simple and efficient system that would also be used by other Fire Depts. in Brown County.
Early winter of 2006 the Fire Dept. voted to start updating its pagers with monitor 5’s. A vote was made to replace 5 pagers and 2 portable radios every year, so all will be replaced by the mandated 2012. The old monitor 3, & 4’s were sold on E-Bay for around $100.00 apiece, the proceeds were used to buy new pagers.
In the fall of 2007 the Fire Dept. purchased a used breathing air compressor and 4 large tanks to refill the depts. spare SCBA tanks in-house. The unit was purchased from Carlton Fire Dept. at the cost of $3,000. The new compressor that was jointly purchased with the Greenleaf and Morrison Depts. had developed a system malfunction and was deemed not cost effective to repair. With the diverse and changing needs of each dept., they agreed to suit their depts. own special needs, and purchase the equipment they needed on their own.
In the winter of 2007 discussion of a new engine was started, a truck committee was formed, and during the summer of 2007 bids from Pierce and Darley were taken they both came back around the same price $290,000.00, this was only a preliminary bid.
Also during the summer of 2007 the Wayside and Morrison Fire Depts. purchased the Jaws of Life spreaders, cutters, ram, and airbags to start providing auto and farm equipment extraction. At the cost of $16,500 the Depts. shared the cost but are still receiving donations. Much joint training and discussion of logistics were done to get them into service quickly. The Wayside Fire Dept. will carry the Jaws, cutters, and ram, and Morrison Fire Dept. will carry the airbags, and blocking used for lifting and securing unstable vehicles. Each Dept. will provide manpower and scene security during an incident.
During the fall of 2008 the Fire Dept. chief and asst. chief attended monthly meetings with other Depts. On setting up and starting the depts. MABA’s box cards. Mutual Aid Box Alarm is a pre-planned mutual aid agreement and automatic dispatching system. Basically, we pre-plan a worse case incident, write down the equipment we would need on the box card, and when that incident occurs we tell the dispatcher to look at that box card and dispatch all equipment on the card line per line. Previously the Fire Dept. had to tell the dispatcher exactly the Dept. and the equipment needed. During this process much time was lost, and terminology confusion on the dispatchers end. This system is what the city Depts. have used for years, but it is new to the rural Depts. The State has mandated its use in 2003, the County has adopted it and is now used countywide, and soon statewide. It will relieve congestion at the dispatch center, and speed up the response of incoming mutual aid.
In the winter of 2008 the Fire Dept. had given the truck committee the go-ahead to finalize the bid on a new fire engine. During the process of bidding and the following of new MABA’s guidelines, the committee agreed to start bidding on a 4-man custom cab truck. The prior revised bids were for a 2-door commercial cab truck, the price from Pierce was $310,000; Rosenbauer $290,000; and Darley $325,000. The bids on a 4-man custom cab were Pierce $340,000; Rosenbauer $345,000. The contract was voted on by the members in June, 14 yes 1 no, to purchase the engine from Jeff Hendricks at Pierce manufacturing in Appleton. The new engine will be delivered in early March 2009. This new engine is expected to be in-service for 30 years or more. During the bidding process the committee learned with the rising cost to build, new NFPA regulations, and new EPA emission regulations this same fire engine will cost close to $1,000,000 in only a few years. Likewise, if this same engine was purchased a year or two prior it would have cost about $50,000 less. This new fire engine was ordered with everything needed to full the current demands and suit the future needs of a growing community.
Currently the Fire Dept. is working with other depts. And the County to design a new radio system to suit all Police, Fire, and EMS depts. needs. The County’s estimated cost is $25,000,000, and the system needs to be completed by 2012 per Federal regulations. Some of the estimated costs will be paid by the emergency Depts. per the County’s request. The current radio system was installed in 1982, and it has its share of problems. Many Depts. experience radio coverage problems throughout the County. This is an increased risk of personal safety for all firemen at an incident. Also radio traffic increases every year and soon the dispatch center will be overloaded. There is discussion of using a complete new system or updating and reworking the current system. The one that suits all the needs of the County, Police, Fire, and EMS, and is cost-effective is the system to be used.