In a past Messenger article, the late Al Dircks remembered what fire protection was like in the early 1930s.
“The church bell would ring, everybody would run up to the fire house and pick up the hose cart and go,” Dircks said. “If there was enough manpower, they would run down the street with the cart. If there wasn’t, they’d get behind a pickup, hold the thing and away they’d go.”
In 1937, a fund-raising drive began to purchase needed equipment. The first fundraiser netted $12.51 for the fire truck fund. Following other fundraising efforts and borrowing from the local bank, they purchased a 1937 International Fire Truck, which is still housed at the Maple Lake Fire Hall for use in parades.
The fire department offered rural and lake residents fire service at a rate of $5 for five years. The village would pay firefighters $1 for the first hour of firefighting and 50 cents per hour thereafter. In 1990, the fire department was made a beneficiary of property tax revenue, eliminating the need for member subscriptions.
The early fire department shared space with the city jail and the city council chambers. When the city council would meet, they would move the fire truck out to hold their meetings. That building was located under the old watertower at the northwest end of the current fire hall.
In 1955, a new building with two truck bays was constructed on that site at the corner of Oak Avenue and Division Street. An addition with two more truck bays was added in 1970 at a cost of $12,000. At that time, the fire department had two pumper trucks, two tanker trucks, two cars and the ambulance. In 1997, 3,700 square feet of space was added for equipment and meeting rooms at a cost of $185,000. And in 2007, a heated storage building with three bays was constructed behind the fire hall at a cost of $48,000.
Innovation has been part of the Maple Lake Fire Department’s history. Herb Bolduan, a member of the department, developed the fire number identification system for rural and lake residents. The plan was presented to the state, which granted permission to use the signs along
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