A brief history:
After a fire at Theodore Barron’s residence on Ida’s Mill Street, about 1936 or 1937 due to smoking a pipe while setting in a rocker in his front room, he burnt a hole through the floor. The town’s citizens began to concern themselves with the thought of fire protection.
Around 1938 the Ida Township Board sent out representatives asking various Ida citizens if they would act as firemen on a volunteer basis if the township purchased a fire truck and equipped it. After the Ida Township Board had obtained affirmative commitments from fourteen volunteers in Ida, the fire department was officially founded. It was late 1938 and the charter members were Ralph J. Mathews, Julius A. Miller, Winfred Toburan, Freeman Hoppert, Carl Leady, Thomas Hague, Gorman Gates, Russell G. Scheid, Albert Wellnau, Edward Wertenberger, Daniel Hanson, Joseph Brossia, Walter Eipperle, and Alphonse Billmaier.
An organizational meeting was held and Russell G. “Butch” Scheid was elected chief. The group began protecting Ida against fires.
The township purchased a new 1938 Ford fire truck and a short time later in 1939 they purchased a used Diamond T chassis and installed a water tank on the rear to establish Ida’s first water tank truck.
By 1944 the old 1936 Diamond T tanker could no longer serve the expanded needs of the department and would have to be replaced. It was war time and anything metal was almost impossible to obtain. It was decided to let Chief Sheid design the new rig and build the tanker body of steel plate in the old canning factory on Van Aikens Street. The new 1946 Diamond T. Chassis arrived and the well designed 1600 gallon tanker body was installed.
In 1951 the fire department moved into its new fire hall that included three bays for trucks and equipment, the township’s meeting room and squad room for the fire department. Ida’s fire department now had one of the modern fire houses in the county, adding pride to the community.
The department purchased a 1954 General engine to replace the aged 1938 Ford that had been the charter member of the Ida fire engine fleet. The old Ford engine was sold to a man from Wayne, Michigan, who purchased it to use at his Algier’s Drive-in Theater as an amusement ride. In the 90’s the Ida Firefighters Association bought it back. The engine was restored, and is now used for special events and parades.
In 1959 a third truck was added with the purchase of a 1959 G.M.C. small engine with a fogger system made by Jim Bean.
The department now had three trucks that were housed in their new modern fire hall. The equipment was now efficient for almost any need, and there was a full staff of well-trained personnel.
In 1963 the department out grew the three bays and two more were added being completed in 1964. With the additional quarters, a 1964 Chevrolet rescue truck was added to bring its fleet up to four vehicles.
In 1968 the township authorized an increase in members to nineteen. In the 1940’s two positions were added to the original fourteen. Currently the department has twenty four positions, from firefighter to chief.
The 1946 Diamond T was replaced by a 1969 Ford engine. From that the department moved to the modern trucks we have today.
To those first fourteen charter members that are gone but never to be forgotten, to all the deceased and honorary members who have shared their time in the past to protect others from the ravage of fire, and to the present active roster who answer the call anytime day or night, we honor and cherish them for their sacrifice.