1957Pumper.jpg (117779 bytes)In early 1957, it was decided a bigger, faster pumper truck was needed to replace the little Model AA Ford. An International military surplus 2-ton chassis was purchased and once again, Polar Manufacturing was contracted to build the body. This truck was fitted with a mid-ship pump and a live-line hose reel. The Model AA truck was then sold for $350, to Ben Hoague, a fire equipment dealer in Onamia, MN.


On February 19, 1958, a team of auxiliary Firemen was named to serve in case of disaster. The men were: Firmin Pogatshnick, Clarence Pilarski, Jerome Supan, Gerald Trobec, William Peternell, Leroy Supan, the late Fr. Edwin Omann and the late Joe L. Omann.


In 1962, a mutual aid agreement was executed with the Rice Fire Department. At the present time, the St. Stephen Department is a member of the Central Minnesota Mutual Aid Association, which included the Departments of Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Rice, Cold Spring, St. Joseph, St. John's, Waite Park, St. Cloud, Avon, Rockville, Clearwater and Clear Lake. In addition, the Department also has a mutual aid agreement with the Holdingford Fire department.


In 1966, the Department did away with the subscription method of funding and began again contracting with the townships of Brockway and St. Wendel to obtain operating funds, in addition to money received from the city of St. Stephen. This gave the Department a more dependable source of income, as well as more of it, which was needed to keep the equipment up-to-date and effective.


In 1969, an addition to the fire hall was built, doubling the size of the apparatus bay. In addition, a new John Bean high-pressure pumper on a Ford F750 chassis was purchased, giving the Department much better firefighting capabilities. This truck was equipped with a two-way radio and the base station used to communicate with it was that of Trobec's Bus Service, which was located in the office of Chief, Joe Trobec's Bar. Through the years, as each additional truck was purchased, it was also equipped with a two-way radio.

At about this time, the first set of portable two-way radios were purchased. These are used for communication on the fire grounds and to communicate with the ambulance service, and if necessary, with the hospital in medical and rescue situations. All of the officers carry one of these at all times, to be in immediate communication with the County dispatcher in the event of a call.

Also in 1969, upon the resignation of the original Assistant Chief, John Vouk, Ray Trobec was elected to fill this position.


In 1970, the first set of self-contained breathing apparatus, better know at Air-Packs, and was purchased. These enable the firefighters to enter burning building, greatly increasing the change of extinguishing the fire and saving the structures. Also, heat-resistant Nomex coats were purchased for each member. The coats, which replaced the old rubber ones, are necessary equipment, if a firefighter is to enter a burning building. Through the years, more and more Air-Packs have been purchased. At the present time, the Department owns and uses 17 of these units.  

(Update: 2005) The fire department replaced these Air-Packs (SCBAs) with 26 new models.  See 2004.