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History of the Carpentersville Fire Department 1915 – 2002

Any history of the Carpentersville Fire Department would not be complete without insight on how the town of Carpentersville was founded and incorporated. The following are some facts and descriptions of what occurred when Carpentersville was founded.

In the spring of 1837 the banks of the Fox River were overflowing with floodwaters. The farm family of Charles V. Carpenter from Uxbridge, Massachusetts could travel no further. The long journey started months before using oxen to pull carts. Their destination was the Rock River. Accompanying Charles was his brother Daniel C. Carpenter, his wife and his ten (10) year old son Julio.

Old Main Street BridgeIt wasn’t long before these thrifty New Englanders began to visualize the opportunities that stretched before them. The narrow green valley of rich acres sprawling with black walnut trees and abundant water from the Fox River kindled the imagination of these settlers and they named the area Carpenter’s Grove.

This area soon became a thriving logging industry with the river providing power for the machinery used for the industry. The Carpenters remained here and in the fall built their first farmhouse in the north section of town, later to be known as “Old Town”, on the east bank of the river.

In 1840 Joseph Carpenter, the brother of Charles, also settled on this land. Here is where Angelo would grow into manhood. He obtained a quarter interest in his father’s first investment, a carding mill and cloth-dressing mill. Angelo assumed management position in 1850 and soon became sole owner.

In 1853 a man named George Marshall opened a shop that manufactured and repaired reapers. By 1864 he acquired two (2) partners and a stock company was formed and incorporated. This later became the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company.

Through the years of 1855 and 1871 Angelo Carpenter had many accomplishments. A two (2) story school was built along with a planning mill, post office and Valley Woolen Mills. He also gained a financial interest in the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company. In 1868 Angelo founded Star Manufacturing. During this time Angelo controlled and limited the sale of intoxicating liquors within the village limits. The Carpenter family never sold a piece of land without a clause in the contract that forbids the sale of liquor.

Fire Protection During The Roman Empire

A brief history of the fire service worldwide will add a nice outlook on how far we have progressed to modern day firefighting.

The first recorded attempts to control the ravages of fire took place about 300 B.C. in Rome, where firefighting duties and night watch services were delegated to a band of slaves, the Familia Publica, supervised by committees of citizens. During the reighn of Augustus Caesar (Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus) from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D., Rome developed what might be considered the first municipal-type fire department by organizing these slaves and citizens into a Corps of Vigiles (watch service).

The Corps of Vigiles represents the first organized form of fire protection. Night patrolling and night watch forces were its principal services. In addition, each of the vigils was assigned a particular task during a fire. For example, some members called Aquarii, carried water to the fire scene in jars. Later aqueducts were built to carry water around the city and hand pumps were developed to help get the water to the fire.

The earliest recorded Fire Chief was the Praefectus Vigilum who was charged with overall responsibility for the Corps of Vigiles. Roman law decreed that Quarstionarius, the Roman equivalent of today’s State Fire Marshall, determined causes of all fires.

During the time of the Roman Empire, leather hoses came in to use and large pillows were carried to the scene so people could jump from tall buildings.

Fire Protection In Colonial America

Night fire watches were instituted in the larger cities of America in colonial times. In Boston in 1654, a bellman was put to work from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM. These volunteers were called the “rattle watch” because of the large rattles used to sound alarms.

The night fire watch service was a community institution before there was municipal police forces. As a result of disastrous fire in Boston in 1631, the first fire ordinance in America was adopted. It prohibited thatched roofs and wooden chimneys.

Another large fire in Boston in 1679 led to organization of the first paid fire department in North America, if not the world. Boston selectmen imported a fire engine from England and employed a fire chief, Thomas Atkins, and twelve (12) firefighters to operate it.

In colonial American communities, each homeowner was required to keep two (2) buckets on hand. When church bells rang to report a fire, people formed lines to pass water from wells or springs to the fire. Although when fire engines were introduced, companies were organized to operate the engines, citizens still were required to respond with buckets to fill the engines. As late as 1810, Boston citizens were subject to a dollar fine for failure to respond to alarms with their buckets.

By 1715, Boston had six (6) fire companies with engines of English manufacture. This was before either New York City or Philadelphia had a single engine in service.

Benjamin Franklin, Fire Chief - Union Fire Co.In 1736, Benjamin Franklin recommended formation of a volunteer firefighting force called the Union Fire Company, and served on it as America’s first volunteer fire chief. Franklin also organized the first fire insurance company in the United States, the Philadelphia Contributionship.

However, the actual job of firefighting was performed either by the fire companies operating under the authority of the municipality or by independent volunteer companies that owned their own stations and apparatus. American insurance companies frequently contributed to the support of the volunteer fire companies.

Even in the 1800’s, American fire protection and prevention regulations still required major disasters before they were enacted and enforced, as can be evidenced by the great Chicago fire. On October 9, 1871 a sweeping conflagration destroyed most of Chicago. Following the great Chicago fire, the Chicago City Council decreed that the city be rebuilt of brick and stone. Fire Prevention Week, established in 1922 to mark the anniversary of the Chicago disaster, is intended to serve as a reminder of the destructiveness of fire and the importance of its prevention.

In 1906 the San Francisco earthquake and resulting conflagration caused six hundred seventy-four (674) fatalities and destroyed more than 28,000 buildings. It is considered the last of the huge urban conflagrations in the United States.

Later in the early 1900’s, fire hydrants, updated fire apparatus, hose, tools and equipment were all improved. That takes us to the actual history of the Carpentersville Fire Department. One of the Carpenter’s fondest dreams became a reality when in 1871 they formed the Carpentersville Library and Literary Association. They also endowed churches and parks with great deals of money.

One of Angelo’s last achievements before his death in 1880 was the extension of the Northwestern Railway from Dundee to Carpentersville.

Carpentersville Railroad Station in 1879The 1890’s era, called the gay nineties, was coming to an end and there was progress to be made. Cement replaced gravel for roads and sidewalks. Until the community water supply was installed, no plans for a fire department were in the future.

Fires were being fought by residents who dipped buckets in back yard wells. According to certain "Old Timers” fires were also fought by workers at the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company. They had a bucket brigade and would signal that a fire was in progress with a large gong located at the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company.

In October of 1914 an ordinance was created by the village to establish a volunteer fire department. On February 23, 1915 the first meeting of the Carpentersville Fire Department gathered at the Village Hall. The Village Hall was on the northwest corner of Main Street and Grove Street.

Listed below is the original roster of the first fire department in Carpentersville:

D.S. Davidson – Fire Marshall
John Schumacher – Asst. Fire Marshall
Henry C. Ehlert – Captain Hose Cart 1
A.P. Rynders – Hose Cart 1
Edward Smith – Hose Cart 1
Louis Henk – Hose Cart 1
Harry Nelson – Hose Cart 1
Walter Schumacher – Captain Hose Cart 2
Rudolph Holtz – Hose Cart 2
Henry Lange – Hose Cart 2
Charles Stoll – Hose Cart 2
John Wolfe – Hose Cart 2
Ernest C. Pundt – Captain Ladders
J.M. Rynders – Lad 03/25/2011 sh; Ladders
Herman Peterson – Ladders
Sam Prile – Valve Man
Charles Baker – Pumpman

Having organized a workable, effective force of firefighters, Fire Marshall Davidson resigned on May 21, 1915. Edward Smith was appointed to succeed Davidson. Smith served fourteen (14) years as chief until he resigned May 6, 1929.

Record keeping was not as accurate as it is today with computers and all the technology. However, many notes were kept as events occurred. Listed below are some of those kept. A brief notation of name and type of fire were the only things found in regards to information of the event. Some of these notes however, may not make sense to all people reading this. A dry fire is where no water was used and a wet fire was when water was used.

Fire Chief Edward Smith
Edward Smith
Fire Chief 1915 - 1929

November 6, 1915 – August Buethe
February 21, 1916 – Nolte, East Dundee
May 26, 1916 – Jack Masters
January 18, 1917 – Stern
February 12, 1917 – Carpentersville Grade School
May 19, 1917 – Edward Schwartz
April 4, 1918 – Albert Reske
June 25, 1918 – Jack Mason
December 24, 1918 – Max Jahnke
January 22, 1919 – Hubenbecker – chimney fire
July 24, 1919 – Charles Barkow
September 16, 1919 – Mrs. Plummer
January 6, 1920 – Fred Katz
February 16, 1920 – George Hill
November 12, 1920 – Gamble
December 1920 – Northwestern Railroad Car
December 1920 – VanSelow, dry fire
February 1921 – John Schumacher
February 1921 – W.H. Schwartz
May 7, 1921 – Edwards Farm
August 11, 1921 – E.C. Hookers
February 14, 1922 – Max Jahnke, chimney fire, dry fire
April 11, 1922 – Village Hall, dry fire
May 12, 1922 – Dave Hill, wet fire
January 11, 1923 – Hill Smith
February 21, 1923 – H.C. Edwards
April 14, 1924 – Frank Rossow, wet fire
June 1, 1924 – H.C. Edwards Estate
December 16, 1924 – Van Selow
January 11, 1925 – John Puff Paff, wet fire
March 8, 1925 – Livingston, dry fire
March 21, 1925 – Jahnke, dry fire
March 28, 1925 – grass fire, wet fire
March 31, 1925 – grass fire, wet fire
April 7, 1925 – grass fire, wet fire

Grade School FireThese are just some of the things that went on during those early days. As time went on record keeping got better.

Perhaps the largest fire of the early days in Carpentersville was at the Carpentersville Grade School. The fire occurred on February 12, 1917. A locomotive engineer that was near the Borden Milk Factory, noticed smoke coming from South Washington Street. He started blowing his whistle to attract someone’s attention. Firefighting efforts were hampered by extremely cold temperatures and windy conditions. Initial water lines froze, so hose was laid from the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company to the fire. The fire caused extensive heat and fire damage. The school was later rebuilt and still stands today as the Larkin Home for Children.

Hose carts were a welcomed sight in the early 1900’s. The carts were an improvement over what was being used at the time. The carts had two wheels with hoses that carried ladders, lanterns, ropes and axes. Once at the hydrant, hoses were hooked up to a “Gandy Dancer”. This was a type of hand pump that was on the hose cart. The device was set in motion by the pumpman. The hose carts were housed at the Village Hall and on Western Avenue (Route 31) on the property of Alice Schumacher. The hose carts were pulled by citizens or people that had horses.

As fires and other calls came in, the firemen needed a way to know that they had to respond to a fire. One of the ways was by ringing a 1000-pound bell with an eight-inch clapper that was mounted in the cupola of the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company. An employee would ring this when the fire department was needed. This bell was later replaced with a steam whistle also located at the factory.

Fire Engine from 1920It should be noted that in 1915 the price of eighteen sets of fireman suits were purchased for a total cost of $169.00.

In March of 1920 a much-needed addition to the Carpentersville Fire Department was a motorized fire truck. After training on the new vehicle the Village Board realized that eighteen (18) men were no longer necessary to pull the hose carts. The Board decided to reduce the force to eight men. Edward Smith, E.C. Hooker, Walter Schumacher, Ben Brammer, Ennes Schartow, Harry Nelson, Harry Peterson and E.C. Pundt were the men who remained. The hose carts were bought by the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company and kept on their property.

Following are a few notes taken from the minutes of various Village Board meetings.

1. March 1920 – A motion in regards to pay for fire calls was passed.

Chief $2.50
Asst. Chief $2.00
Fireman $1.50

Chief $5.00
Asst. Chief $4.00
Fireman $3.50

Chief $2.50
Asst. Chief $2.50
Fireman $ .50

2. Salaries for the firemen from April 1, 1921 through April 1, 1922 was $186.00.

3. August 21, 1922 – 250 feet of 3” hose was purchased for $245.00. That was with a discount.

4. January 2, 1923 – A lungmotor machine was bought to resuscitate people when they stopped breathing. The cost was $196.00.

5. August 3, 1925 – A petition was voted against issuing bonds for an automatic box type fire alarm system.

6. April 20, 1928 – A vote was posted to the residents for a taxation bond in the amount of $5,000.00. The bonds were for the purchase of a new fire engine. The vote passed 214 for and 141 against. On October 1, 1928 an American LaFrance engine was purchased.

7. August 3, 1931 – Postmaster Adams advised that street signs be put up throughout town. It should be known that the firemen had memorized the streets, but a post office ordinance stated that street signs shall be put up.

8. October 9, 1935 – Main Street Bridge reconstruction was voted on and passed. The cost was estimated at $37,300.00.

1957 Fire DepartmentAfter these appointed trustees began their terms it was time to get started. The proposed budget for the fiscal year ending 1957 was $23,085.00. Included in that budget was money for deposit on land owned by the Illinois Iron & Bolt Co. This property was located at Spring Street and Green Street. This was instrumental for the district because the equipment was still housed at the Village. The Village was still responsible for expenses of the district until tax monies were received by the district. The Trustees appointed Earl Schartow as chief who was also the chief of the Village Volunteer Fire Department at that time.

However, when assuming something as large as a Fire Department, there are many issues to consider. The district decided to rent space from the Village for housing the fire equipment until the stations were built. They also agreed to pay the Village $1,500.00 for all the various pieces of fire equipment that the Village owned. Maps had to be updated and Chief Schartow proposed higher pay for his men. The firemen were paid every six months. Chief Schartow also proposed buying a new engine. In 1958 a bid was awarded to American LaFrance for $21,777.55 to be paid over five (5) years.

A bond referendum was to be set for May 10, 1958 for the amount of $100,000.00 for two (2) new fire stations. However, there is no record as to how this bond was received. The bond was issued for $102,000.00 in April of 1959 and work began to accept bids for construction on the stations. Clinton Peters, Sr. was appointed to Treasurer due to the death of Mr. Schroeder.

Rescue Recovery BoatsIn June of 1959 the part time firemen donated the boats and trailers to the district. The firemen held fundraisers and spaghetti dinners to raise money for equipment. On Sunday, April 24, 1960, the dedication of the two (2) new fire stations was held. The VFW donated a flag and ceremonies were held at Station One on Spring Street.

Throughout the leadership of Chief Earl Schartow many new pieces of equipment were purchased. Every month (according to Trustee minutes) the chief came to the board meetings with requisitions for equipment and ideas to enhance the Fire Department. Most of the time he was granted these requests. He sent his men to training seminars and classes. In 1959 a Mack fire engine was purchased for $22,212.40.

Things were really starting to progress with regards to money coming into the district. This must have been an exciting time with all the changes going on. One unexpected change that took place was the retirement of Chief Earl Schartow on July 8, 1960. Nothing was noted as to why, but he wrote a letter of resignation and presented it to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees appointed Richard C. Paul as chief for the fiscal year of 1960. This was still a part time position.

In 1961 two (2) walk-in vans were bought with one housed at each station. The emergency equipment was kept on the engines at the time and was transferred to the vans. These vans were used to carry first aid supplies and emergency equipment.

Walkin Van Parked on Main StreetBy 1962 the Trustees voted that Chief Richard Paul be appointed to another one year term as a full time employee. He was paid $6,500.00 a year based on a 44 hour work week. He continued sending himself and other officers to fire classes and Universities to learn as much as possible about technological advancements in the fire service. It was known throughout the area that Carpentersville Fire Department was an aggressive department with good firemen.

On August 16, 1965, three (3) people were hired as the full time firemen. David Pearson, James Crotty and Jerry Dziewior. They were paid $450.00 a month. The number of full time men was at four, with the majority of the members being “volunteer”.

Fire prevention and education were being done in the schools and at the stations. A pension fund was established for the full time employees, fire inspections were being conducted and the community continued to grow. Certain homeowners that were not in the district asked to be annexed into the district. Chief Richard Paul entered into an agreement with Elgin Fire Chief Van de Voorde on a mutual aid proposal that would allow Elgin and Carpentersville to assist each other when needed. Soon after other Villages and Townships entered into similar agreements with Elgin and Carpentersville. These included East Dundee, South Elgin, Hanover Park, Pingree Grove, Huntley, Algonquin, Hampshire, Bartlett and Barrington.

By 1969 the administrative workload had increased tremendously. The chief was swamped with clerical work. He made a request to hire a secretary and on September 8, 1969 Mrs. Phyllis Bruggeman started with the Fire Department. She worked four hours a day at $2.25 an hour. Captain John Pearson was quoted as saying that, “Phyllis was the backbone of the department for many years. If you needed to know anything, you went to Phyllis.” Phyllis served as secretary to four Chiefs, was a trustee on the Board, a dispatcher and a mother figure to a lot of firemen. Phyllis spent many of her lunch hours with the firemen and told stories along with them. She retired in October 1995 after nearly 27 years of dedicated service.

1942 American LaFrance Ladder Truck behind crewThe decade of the 70’s brought many acquisitions. In 1971 two (2) new emergency vans were purchased at the price of $5,544.00. Firefighters worked to convert them to ambulances. An offer to the Oak Park Fire Department for a ladder truck was made for $6,000.00. The truck was a 1942 American LaFrance and was purchased in August (pictured).

Vehicles received fuel from various gas stations throughout town. Nevertheless, a couple of these stations went out of business. Chief Paul requested a 1000 gallon tank and pump be put in at station 2.

An ordinance was adopted in January 1971 with regards to having commissioners for the fire district and that was adopted. The first three (3) commissioners were Mr. Edwin Alberts, Mr. Arthur Pringle and the Reverend Glenn Mensing.

In March of 1971 legislation was being pushed by the Illinois Department of Public Health to make ambulance service available solely through the Fire Department.

When one of the emergency vans went to a call, they did not necessarily transport the patient. The officer would determine if a private ambulance could be used. If they rendered the call a life or death situation, the Fire Department would transport.

Dispatching was performed by the Police Department throughout these times, although it was becoming a burden to them. The district decided to require the first responding fireman to the station to take the radio. They hired dispatchers to come in during the day to dispatch calls.

An accident that involved Truck 99 resulted in a total loss. A used ladder truck was needed until the new Pirsch arrived. They purchased a 1942 truck from Philadelphia, the engine blew. A flat bed truck was used to finish the trip back to Carpentersville. Once back in town they took an engine from “Old Engine 93” and put it in the truck. This truck was used until the delivery of the Pirsch in 1975.

July of 1973 bids were taken for a 100 foot ladder truck. Bids were received from seven (7) companies and three (3) made the last cut. These were Peter Pirsch and Sons, Mack Trucks and Ward La France Corporation. Peter Pirsch was awarded the contract for $96,208.00. This aerial ladder truck was in service until March of 2000.

A very important time in the district’s future was about to surface. A special election was to be held to determine if the ambulance service should be the sole responsibility of the district. Mr. True of Northwest Ambulance Service came to a Board meeting because he was concerned that this action would put ambulance companies out of business. On May 23, 1972 a canvass of voters turned down this referendum 1201 against 817 for the ambulance service.

Also in 1972 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) became a reality. EMT’s were trained in first aid and first responder aspects. In 1973, Jack Epperson became a paramedic through McHenry Hospital, and Sherman Hospital held their first paramedic class in 1974.

Sherman became a resource hospital in 1975. It should be known that Carpentersville was the first town in this area to have an ambulance staffed with paramedics. Carpentersville would answer paramedic calls to neighboring towns. The paramedics that Carpentersville had at the time were graduates of Sherman Hospital’s first paramedic class in 1974.

3 Firemen on Fire Truck

Shown from left to right:
Larry Campbell, Charles Wagner and Steve Zaccard

In June of 1973 some problems began to arise. A well liked, level headed Trustee by the name of Kazmir Palac retired. At that time the Dundee Township Board of Auditors were responsible for appointing a new Fire District Trustee. A man named James Evans was appointed. As a Trustee, he was concerned with the dealings of the Fire District. He questioned some of the practices of the Fire District and made no secret of his opposition toward Carpentersville’s involvement in emergency care and transport of patients. He would no longer allow firefighters to go with the ambulance to the hospital. This did not sit well with the Fire District as they felt that Trustee Evans was trying to keep them from providing ambulance service and emergency medical aid. He went so far as to ask the Village to take over the Fire District. This was not successful, but history shows this was not the last attempt.

Considering these problems the district held a referendum on whether Trustees should be appointed or elected. On February 9, 1974 the voters decided to have Trustees elected. After a couple more years of waiting, another vote to see if the residents wanted the district to provide sole ambulance service was held on October 15, 1977. A special tax of one quarter of one percent on an assessment of one hundred dollars maximum was requested. The referendum passed 591 for and 377 against. The resolution passed. Chief Paul was quoted as saying “The prime responsibility of the fire service is to save life and property, and to prevent human suffering.”

Mack Fire Engine parked in stationIn 1979 the district decided to sign a contract with Quadcom. The Board of Directors consisted of one official from the neighboring towns of East Dundee, West Dundee and Rutland Dundee, but there was no representative from Carpentersville. The district Trustees had felt they could dispatch more efficiently with their own dispatch center and posted an add for communication specialist/fireman.

On January 11, 1984 Richard J. Paul, was hired as communications specialist. Quadcom still had the dispatching until May of 1984. Captain Zaccard and Rick Paul were in charge of purchasing the computers, telephones and necessary hardware to get things operational.

In February of 1985 a recruit training class for new dispatchers began and lasted until April. Those that passed were placed on a list and waited to be hired. Rick Paul was thoroughly trained and experienced in emergency dispatching. Chief Paul had Rick do the hiring and training of dispatchers. They needed to take both written and practical tests. Drills also were held to keep them up to date and sharpen their skills once they were hired.

With the advanced technology in the mid 80’s, a couple of programs were implemented in the Fire Department. The Medi-Alarm system was put in place. This consisted of a remote control with a base unit that could automatically dial the Fire Department for people with physical difficulties who were unable to get to the telephone. It would give the address of the person needing help through a computer programmed voice device.

This system received rave reviews from the public as well as state and local government officials. AT & T stated this program was the first in the nation to be used in the private sector. Public relations at the time were very important to the district because of the wary public perception with the Fire Department dispatching their own calls.

One other program that Chief Paul started was a status program. This was a computer generated data system to track manpower within the district. It was technology and the fire service working hand in hand. The basis of accurate data depended on the firefighters cooperation. If a firefighter was to leave town or be somehow unavailable to respond to a call he would be required to inform the dispatcher of his status.

There were three (3) classes of status: gone, slow and sick. These different status classes allowed the Chief to determine how far away from the station a firefighter might be or how long it would take a firefighter to respond.

November 9, 1987 Chief Paul retired after 35 dedicated years of service, 27 years of which he served as Fire Chief. The Chief had many accomplishments during his tenure. Apparatus was updated, specialty tools and equipment were purchased, the dispatching service and Medi-Alarm system were implemented along with many other improvements.

The Chief was rewarded and presented with a gold badge and the district ordered a corner stone to place in the wall at station one on Spring Street for his many years of service. The Board also let him keep his Chief’s car “rusty bolts and all.”

The man hired to fill the Chief’s shoes was John Helfert. Chief Helfert had been on the Carpentersville Fire Department in the past, serving as a firefighter and later as a part time Deputy Chief. He also was Chief of the Algonquin Fire Department for ten (10) years. One thing that the district Trustees did before hiring Helfert was keep Former Chief Paul on as an advisor to the Board and to Chief Helfert. Chief Helfert wanted to change the present shirts the firemen were wearing. They were dark blue and really hot in the summer. He changed them to light blue, and the “blue shirt firemen” sure appreciated it.

Chief John Helfert and then Lt. Steven Guetschow with poster contest winner.
Chief John Helfert and then Lt. Steven Guetschow with poster contest winner.

Chief Helfert was also very public education oriented, and took pride in the schools fire education program. However, Chief Helfert was in poor health for most of his time with the district and was not one hundred percent capable of performing his duties to the best of his ability throughout his tenure as Chief. He requested medical leave on April 29, 1991. After returning for a short time he retired on September 27, 1991.

In the absence of a Chief, the two Captains acted as the authority of the Fire Chief. On August 19, 1991 the district Board members interviewed Ronald L. Creek.They hired him to start September 25, 1991. He had previously been with the department for thirteen years as lieutenant and inspector prior to moving out of the area. On his return, Mr. Creek stated that the equipment was the same as when he left.

Chief Creek implemented a few programs to gain some rapport with the community. He offered free blood pressure checks to the public, and Operation Rescue, which was a door to door survey conducted by the firemen. Information was obtained with regards to the number of people residing in the home, if there any invalids, or any other information about hazards in the home. This was a good program, but unfortunately the amount of manpower and data processing it took to maintain these records was too much for the Fire Department current resources. The program was terminated.

Chief Creek also received approval to purchase two (2) new 1250 GPM triple combination pumpers from Alexis. One being a 750 gallon booster tank and the other a 1000 gallon booster tank. He also purchased a new air cascade system from Air One and updated the SCBAs (self contained breathing apparatus). The process for getting two new ambulances also was approved.

A need for written policy and procedures created the Carpentersville Firefighters Association. The CFA was voted the bargaining unit for the firefighters after a vote was held and proper paperwork with the state was completed.

This eventually led the Carpentersville Village Board to vote and take over the Carpentersville & Countryside Fire Protection District. This was made possible by the fact that over fifty percent of the district was in the Carpentersville Village limits. By law this could happen. This historical event took effect May 1994.

Throughout that year the Village decided to make a change. They hired a Deputy Chief from Mount Prospect by the name of Del Ulreich. He started May 1, 1995. Chief Ulreich had an open door policy and right from the start talked to the firefighters to get their ideas and thoughts on how to proceed into the future. Changes have been a welcome sight since Chief Ulreich’s hire.

Updating the mapping system, new portable radios and head sets for the engineers were purchased. Three (3) new Fire Department patches were designed and after a vote one was picked.

Historical Fire PatchDifferent Historical Fire Patch


Parade Grand MarshalThe painting and sprucing up of both stations were completed and the completion of the day room at Station One took place. A ventilation system was installed at both stations and policies and procedures were updated and implemented. With all the expansion taking place west of the Fox River, plans needed to be considered for the construction of a third fire station. Chief Ulreich worked hard to get a temporary station in place by the fall of 1996.

1995 also saw the department reach its 80th anniversary. This was celebrated with a parade including 24 pieces of apparatus from 14 different Fire Departments. Civic and social groups also participated. At Station One there was a puppet show for the kids on fire safety, a fire pole and a smoke safety trailer for the children to go through and play on. Phyllis Bruggeman was the Grand Marshall of the event to cap off her retirement from the department. With 80 years now on the books, the next 80 ought to be just great!

1995 Fire Department in front of Fire Vehicles

As of spring of 1996 the Carpentersville Fire Department employed 16 full time personnel. These consist of a Fire Chief, three Captains, four Lieutenants, eight full time Firefighters and a secretary. Out of those, twelve are state certified paramedics and thirteen are engineers. There are thirty-eight part time Firefighters, twelve of which are paramedics and fourteen are engineers. The remaining twenty-six are all EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians) or Provisional Paramedics.

The department has three front line attack engines, a reserve engine, a 100 foot aerial ladder truck and two (2) rescue boats for water recovery. The vehicles with the most use are the three ambulances. The department also owns a Suburban used as a command vehicle and two (2) cars that are used by the shift commanders.

In the summer of 1996 Chief Ulreich put in his resignation effective in December of 1996. He stated that he wanted to pursue his dream of being a lawyer. He was to finish his degree and enroll in law school.

Shared fire station rear of buildingShared fire station front of building1997 Ford Expedition for the Captains3 Ambulances parked on grass

After a nationwide ad went out to all the fire trade magazines, a search for a new fire chief began. Many applicants turned in their resume to the Village Board. After a long and tedious process by the Village Board decided who their top candidate would be. Lieutenant John Schuldt was offered the position of Fire Chief. After seventeen years in the trenches John became Fire Chief Schuldt. As probably anyone’s dream in the fire service, to become a Fire Chief, John’s hard work and dedication paid off for him, the promotion to Fire Chief. On December 20, 1996 Chief Schuldt began his role as Fire Chief.

Chief Schuldt had many great ideas and direction for the Carpentersville Fire Department’s future. The town is growing at an amazing speed and with that comes updating apparatus, manpower and stations.

One large job at hand was to finish what was in place when Chief Ulreich retired. The shared fire station with the Algonquin – Lake In The Hills Fire Protection District was a plan that was developed by Chief Ulreich and Chief Kite from Algonquin. The Village of Carpentersville purchased a house in a soon to be built subdivision in the western part of Carpentersville. The capital to build a permanent fire station was not feasible at this time so this was the way to provide faster response times to the residents on the west side of Carpentersville. Carpentersville would supply the station and one paramedic, while Algonquin would supply the Advanced Life Support Fire Engine, and two (2) EMT’s. The A.L.S. engine would respond to both Carpentersville calls and Algonquin, and provide Advanced Life Support until an ambulance was on the scene. Not only could this decrease response time to the outer areas for both towns, but a chance to do something no other area towns have thought about doing, working together under one roof and providing fire department services to both municipalities.

Serious thoughts were collected and much planning was put into this shared station, because this had not been attempted before. Two different fire departments, two different dispatching agencies, and two different towns providing protection from the same fire station. The fire station was to be numbered Station Six. After the bugs were worked out and the firefighters got the handle on procedures, the shared station was a success until it was closed in August of 2001 when Station #3 was opened.

The department also purchased a 1997 Ford Expedition for the Captains that are the Shift Commanders to use to respond to calls. This was a great addition and tool for the Captains to get around as it is a four-wheel drive vehicle and access to difficult areas could be reached.

Also along with the opening of station six was the task of increasing manpower. The Chief wanted more full time firefighters and he received approval in November of 1996 to hire three more firefighters. And again in 1997, the Chief hired three additional full time firefighters.

After much use, the reserve ambulance was replaced with a new 1998 Med Tech Ambulance to run front line at Station 1 at Spring Street. Rescue 96 was placed in reserve for the third ambulance if needed.

Chief Schuldt also felt the two fire stations needed to be updated and brought up to modern living conditions. These stations were built in 1958 and were not designed to be lived in for twenty-four hours. In addition to these improvements, the Chief received approval for six more full time firefighters, three at the end of 1998 and three more in May of 1999. For the first time in the history of the Fire Department, the eligibility list for full time firefighter candidates was completely exhausted.

The Village approved the remodel of Station 1 to begin in the fall of 1999.

Remodel of Station 1, southwest side of buildingRemodel of Station 1, north side of buildingRemodel of Station 1, northwest side of buildingRemodel of Station 1, southeast side of building

The 1974 100-foot ladder truck was replaced with a new 100 foot ladder tower. The tower is state of the art; modern piece of apparatus that will be used as commercial development increases in the Randall Road corridor, and the existing commercial and residential properties in the Village.

The purchase of a new rescue engine that will be capable of being a front line attack engine as well as be a specialized rescue engine. These two new apparatus will add to the fleet of two Alexis front line attack engines, one Mack attack engine, and three Advanced Life Support ambulances.

2 Fire Trucks with Ladders ExtendedLadder Truck on roadFire Engine park in driveway


As of spring of 1999 the Carpentersville Fire Department employed twenty-four (24) full-time personnel. These consist of a Fire Chief, three Captains, four Lieutenants, sixteen full-time Firefighters and a secretary. Out of those, eighteen are state-certified paramedics and twenty-one are engineers. There are thirty-nine part-time Firefighters, nine of which are paramedics and eleven are engineers. The remaining twenty-eight are all EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians) or Provisional Paramedics.

With all the progress that the Carpentersville Fire Department has seen in the recent months, this department will be ready for the growth and challenges that lay ahead. The pride and tradition of the Carpentersville Fire Department will continue to get stronger and prepare us to charge into the new millennium. With the positive times ahead many new candidates will desire to become a firefighter with the Village of Carpentersville.

As the year 2000 began, many changes were occurring. The remodel project at fire station #1 (old town station) was completed. Steve Roesslein was appointed to the position of Assistant Fire Chief. Plans were being designed for the construction of fire station #3 (west side). The current station being operated out of the house being shared with Algonquin was a temporary station and will be replaced by the permanent one. located at Grandview and Sleepy Hollow Roads. Construction began in September of 2000 and the station opened in August of 2001.

Fire Station 3 Artist Rendering 

As the year 2002 progressed, plans were set in place to evaluate the condition of Fire Station #2 located at 305 Lake Marion Road. Sente & Rubel were hired to perform a needs assessment study on the station. Calls continue to increase and Station #3 is in full operation. The department staffing as of the date of this report is as follows:

Deputy Fire Chief
Executive Secretary to the Fire Chief
3 Battalion Chiefs
9 Lieutenants
23 Full-Time Firefighters/Paramedics
26 Part-Time Firefighters
A new engine was purchased in late 1999 and was delivered in March 2000. Another vehicle, a Pierce 100 foot tower ladder was purchased and delivered in April 2000.

As a team, the Fire Department will continue to provide the highest level of service possible to the residents in which we serve.

Department Fire Chiefs

Dan S. Davidson – Served three months in 1915

Edward Smith 1915 – 1929

Harry Nelson 1929 – 1931

Walter Schumacher 1931 – 1939

Colin Livingston 1939 – 1949

Frank Geske 1949 – 1952

Earl Schartow 1952 – 1960

Richard Paul 1960 – 1987

John Helfert 1987 – 1991

Ron Creek 1991 – 1995

Del Ulreich 1995 – December 1996

John Schuldt 1996 – February 2013

John Skillman, Acting Chief  February 2013 -  April 2013

Alan Popp, Director of Public Safety April 2013 - Present

History of Apparatus

March 1928 — American LaFrance Engine — Cost Unknown

April 1929 — American LaFrance Engine — $5,000.00

1957 — American LaFrance Engine — $21,777.00

1960 — Two Rescue Boats — $1,800.00

1960 — Mack Fire Engine — $22,212.00

1961 — Two Chevrolet Walk-In Vans — Cost Unknown
(Bread Trucks)

1967 — American LaFrance Engine — . Cost Unknown

1967 — American LaFrance Engine — Cost Unknown

1970 — Two Chevrolet Emergency Vans — $5,544.00

1970 — 1942 American LaFrance Aerial Ladder Truck — $6,000.00

1973 — Pirsch Aerial Ladder Truck — $92,208.00 (Delivered in 1975)

1973 — Used Ladder Truck — $3,200.00

1975 — Chevrolet 1 Ton Modular Ambulance — Cost Unknown

1976 — Chevrolet 1 Ton Modular Ambulance — Cost Unknown

1980 — Mack Fire Engine — $93,000.00

1985 — Excellence Ambulance — $42,000.00

1990 — Taylor Made Ambulance — $55,000.00

1993 — Alexis 1500 GPM Triple Combination Pumper — $189,000.00

1994 — Alexis 1500 GPM Triple Combination Pumper — $189,000.00

1995 — Two Med Tech Ambulances (cost each) — $65,000.00

1998 — Command Vehicle Ford Expedition — $24,000.00

1999 — Med Tech Ambulance — $86,000.00

2000 — Pierce 1500 6PM Triple Comb. Pumper — $323,000.00

2000 — Pierce 100’ Tower Ladder — $636,000.00

2002 — Med Tech Ambulance — $96,000.00

I would personally like to thank each and every member of the Carpentersville Fire Department, both past and present, with help as well as stories and assistance with this history project. I truly believe every member will somehow relate to and enjoy this history. Hopefully everyone can see themselves in this history in some way or another, because without all of you this would not be history.

Robert A. Guetschow


Dundee Township 1835-1985. Copyright 1985 by the Dundee Township Historical Society. Published by Crossroads Communications, Carpentersville IL 60110 Page 1 and top of paragraph of page 2.

Principles of Fire Protection. Copyright 1988 by the National Fire Protection Association. Fifth Edition, April 1995, page 2 and top of page 4.

History of the Carpentersville Fire Department. Written by Lois McClure. Not published, self written in 1950, pages 4 through 8.

Carpentersville and Countryside Fire Protection District board meeting minutes. Past and present Carpentersville Firefighters, citizens and personal experiences, page 8 through 16.


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