It was also decided at this meeting, to hold a dance to raise funds. This dance was held on October 11, 1949. The dance became an annual affair and also included a raffle; the prize for the first few such raffles was a 22-cal. rifle or a $50 bond. Later, the prize was changed to a 200-lb. hog and stayed that way for many, many years. In later years, the date of this dance was changed to be the first Friday night after Easter and remained on that date until its discontinuance.  The dance gave way to the Fire Department "Steak Fry" which began in 1997.

The fire phone was located in the office of Chief, Joe Trobec's bar. The siren for calling the men to a fire was installed on top of the facade of Vouk's Garage and had to be turned on and off by hand to affect the wail, which is a call to a fire. In the beginning, there were only about six sets of turnout gear for the men. An invoice was found in the records dated November 10, 1949, for two waterproof coats at $7.60 each and two helmets at $1.55 each

The first fire call the Department responded to, on September 30, 1949, was to a barn fire on the George Then farm, about four miles south of the Village. For this run, the Village charged $60, half of which was given to the Fire Department.


On March 8, 1950, an ordinance was passed by the Village Council officially establishing the Fire Department. In 1951, the wages for the men were raised to $1.50 for the first hour and 75 cents for each successive hour. Also, on December 11th of that year, the men received their uniform cap and badges, two years later; they received their red uniform shirts.


In 1953, with mostly volunteer labor, the Department finance and built a two-stall tile-block fire hall with meeting room on the main street in town, (now Central Avenue), south of the St. Stephen State Bank building and across from the Trobec's Bar parking lot. Prior to this, the meeting of the Department, as well as those of the Village council, were held in the basement of Vouk's Store. Having only the one fire truck at the time, the extra stall was rented to Leo Rausch to house his school bus. A new, much larger siren was installed on top of an old windmill tower, which was set up behind the building, and activated from the Fire Chief's office. On March 10, 1954, the Village Council voted to purchase this building for the amount of $8,484.20.

On July 8, 1953, the Village council approved a contract to provide fire protection to Brockway Township for $50 per year. Beginning in 1955, in addition to the annual dance and raffle, the operation of the Department was financed by subscriptions from the residents in the Village and the surrounding area -- $5 per year for a residence and $10 for a farm. The charge for a run to a non-subscriber was set at $200. At this time, the contract with Brockway Township was discontinued.


Also, in 1955, a 1,100-gallon tanker body was built by Polar Manufacturing of Opole, MN on a 1947 Chevrolet 1-1/2 ton chassis, which had been a Pure Oil truck purchased from an individual in Anoka, MN. Another Hale portable pump similar to the one on the Model AA was mounted on the tailboard.


Resuscitator.jpg (93974 bytes)In 1956, the first piece of rescue equipment, a Resuscitator, was purchased. The first $100 of the purchase price for this unit was donated by the St. Stephen Sportsmen's Club. It was used shortly thereafter to revive a local farmer who had become buried in a cave-in while installing a water line on his farm. At the present time, the Department has two of these units.