Cuba City Fire Department History

In 1905, Cuba City’s first fire company was formed with 24 volunteers. The company’s first step in providing the town with better protection was to purchase firefighting equipment. Before the advent of such equipment, the only way to extinguish a blaze was by forming a bucket brigade, carrying water in buckets from the town pump to the scene of the fire.

The first piece of equipment purchased was a hose cart and 300 feet of hose. The hose cart was simply a large hose reel on two high wooden wheels. Though it could be pulled by horses, the cart was ordinarily hand drawn by the firemen and pushed by any local children who could run fast enough.

The second piece of equipment was a ladder wagon built by the Mitchell Brothers in 1907. While some funds for the $150 wagon and the $300 hose cart were supplied by the village board, the bulk of the money was raised by the firefighters themselves. They asked for donations and had fundraisers, which included a chicken pie supper.

All of the fire equipment was housed in the village hall. The firefighters were called into action by a “fire bell,” which was also located in the hall and rung by the first person to learn of a fire. The village hall stood on what is now the parking lot east of American Bank, and fronted on Clay Street.

Cuba City’s fire company fought fires with the early equipment until 1915, when a Ford Model T chassis was purchased from Loeffelholz Bros. & Wagner for $800. The J. J. Bass blacksmith shop built a box for the chassis, which was adapted for carrying lengths of hose and various hand tools the firemen needed. The truck box had no cab on it and winter runs were an experience not to be forgotten. How they were endured is a tribute to the purpose and dedication of this volunteer service.

Another more advanced truck was added in 1923 and through the years, the following equipment has been added to the fleet:

1936 Pump Truck * 1971 Tanker Truck 1980 Tanker Truck 2001 Tanker Truck *
1951 Pump Truck 1974 Van 1987 Pump Truck 2004 Pump Truck *
1961 Van 1976 Pump Truck 1993 Tanker Truck * 2009 Brush Truck *
1966 Pump Truck 1976 Rescue Truck 1998 Rescue Van * 2014 Pump Truck *

* Indicates Apparatus & Equipment still in use… CLICK HERE to check out Cuba City Fire Department’s Apparatus & Equipment!
The 1936 Ford Pump Truck is still owned and operated by the Department and is proudly used in parades!

About 1995, a new fire station was built on the south side of town, giving the department much-needed additional space.

The following men have served as Chiefs of the Cuba City Fire Department:

  • Edward McCormick
  • Thomas Kivlahan
  • Charles Eustice
  • Orville Sands
  • Jesse Taylor
  • Art Rudkin
  • Russell Eustice
  • Luverne Hilvers
  • John Loeffelholz
  • Clyde Downs
  • Halsey McNutt
  • Bill Clemens
  • Francis Kemps
  • Fred Steinbach
  • Steve Fry
  • Norman Larkin
  • Ken Junk
  • Thomas Kramer
  • Melvin Kreul
  • Steve Tranel.