Local fire department celebrates 50 years of service Saturday

Photo by Sean Bradley / News Advocate The Arcadia Township Fire Department in Arcadia, Mich. Saturday celebrated its 50-year anniversary with an open house including food and drink, demonstrations and information for community members.

Photo by Sean Bradley / News Advocate
The Arcadia Township Fire Department in Arcadia, Mich. Saturday celebrated its 50-year anniversary with an open house including food and drink, demonstrations and information for community members.

ARCADIA — A lot has changed in the 50-year history of the Arcadia Township Fire Department, which was marked Saturday with an open house.

From second-hand equipment, no medical first responders and a 1947 Chevrolet fire truck when it opened in 1964 to, in 2014, a healthy number of first responders and firefighters, improved equipment — including 1,000-gallon water pumpers on the trucks — and a helpful mutual aid agreement with other local fire departments, one thing hasn’t changed.

“Our mission is to protect and serve the people of the township,” said Wes Hull, Arcadia Township Fire Department chief.

And the community knows and appreciates this.

“We do have stories that come back to us where people say they remember us helping them,” Hull said. “Most of our thank yous – and we do get donations every now and then – are on medical. If somebody’s injured, in an accident or calls in the middle of the night, we do get thank yous and donations.”

Mary Whitmore, of Arcadia Township, said the volunteers do so much for the community and should be honored for it.

Photo by Sean Bradley / News Advocate Vicki Sproul, a Bear Lake firefighter and emergency service technician, helps 7-year-old Hayden Sawka, from Waterford, spray a fire hose while Sawka's sister Taylor, 5, looks on during the 50th anniversary event at the Arcadia Township Fire Department Saturday in Arcadia, Mich.

Photo by Sean Bradley / News Advocate
Vicki Sproul, a Bear Lake firefighter and emergency service technician, helps 7-year-old Hayden Sawka, from Waterford, spray a fire hose while Sawka’s sister Taylor, 5, looks on during the 50th anniversary event at the Arcadia Township Fire Department Saturday in Arcadia, Mich.

“We had a fire once get out of control at our home and they helped us,” Whitmore said.

The State of Michigan honored the fire department with a special tribute with a plaque saying in part, “Of all the services offered in our communities, none are more important than those provided by firefighting professionals.”

On hand for the event was Ray Franz, state representative of the 101st District, who spoke with fire department members and community members throughout the day.

“The biggest reward is to know someone will respond quickly,” Franz said.

Franz, who spent 35 years at the Onekama Fire Department — including four years as fire chief — said when the local fire departments work together, they learn to depend on each other.

“They become close friends, like a band of brothers,” he said.

Jed Jaworski, of Michigan State University’s Firewise Communities Project, educated local fire departments about safe and effective methods toward fighting wildland urban interface fire events.

These types of fires impact homeowners in rural areas because of the amount of trees and — with weather conditions such as wind or drought — can increase the risk of a fire causing damage to property or loss of life, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s FireWise website.

Jaworski said Arcadia Township has a low rating for wildland urban interface events.

avatar

Posted by Sean Bradley

Sean is the city and cops and courts reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the entertainment and Reasons to Celebrate pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3109 or sbradley@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply