1887 – Clarion established their first Volunteer Fire Department. In 1987, as they celebrated 100 years, a special issue of the Wright Co. Monitor was dedicated to our volunteers. They, like so many firefighters across the nation, put their own safety at risk to help others. Some of the information here was in the Wright Co. Monitor; and is similar to other fire departments in smaller towns.
The original fire bell, forged in 1882, is at the Heartland Museum. It is one of the attractions children and adults like to “gong”. Also at Heartland is a fire truck, donated by Shirley and Rick McGonigle. In 1888 a hand and horse powered cart was drawn by horses to area fires It was built by Remington Manufacturing Co. for a cost of $525. At that time, so many of the buildings were still entirely of wood, that any fire could soon wipe out a whole block of buildings.
The first auto fire truck arrived in 1918, a Ford. In 1987 there were 20 men on the volunteer force. At that time, the department average 40 fire call-outs per year, plus had meetings and training.
The fire department responded to some large fires – the south block of Main street was hard hit in 1888, several businesses were gone. In1930 they assisted with a large fire on Main Street in Holmes. 1933 found them responding to a fire in Blairsburg, started by a heater. Lightening struck the Congregational church in 1936, resulting in a destructive blaze. Shupe & Son Hardware had a basement fire in 1939. A 1951 fire gutted abasement room in the high school. Evans-Kay Lumber was ablaze in 1961. 1971 saw the loss to Brinkman Implement. In 1973, they responded to help Eagle Grove with a large explosion. All Star Pro Golf had a fire in 1976.
Thank you to our first responders and firemen from all over!