©Illinois Trails History
History of Fire Department
In February of 1946, a few community-minded
men went from door to door for a $5.00 contribution to form a much needed
fire department. After much hard work from all of the people in the
Maplewood and Cahokia area a down payment was finally reached. With
this money a 1946 Chevrolet truck was purchased from Central Fire Truck
Company. Finally the community had a fire truck. Since this
was a community project, it was decided that this should be called the
Cahokia-Maplewood Community Fire Department. In April, a charter
was formed and in July the first annual picnic was held and in the following
spring the first annual dance was held.
After a year in an old garage on Mildred Avenue the firemen decided a proper place was needed for the fire house. In December of 1947, a lot was purchased and a building was built on the corner of Mildred Avenue and Range Lane.
All went well for the next four years and then the Cahokia-Maplewood area began to grow. In the fall of 1950, a contract with Central Fire Truck Company was signed to add another fire truck to the community. With the arrival of a 1950 Dodge Pumper, the Chevrolet was sent to the Old Cahokia area. Here the firemen took over the old village hall on the corner of Main and Second Street. This gave the people of the community better protection with a truck on each side of the railroad tracks.
Later in 1950 the Cahokia-Maplewood Fire Protection District signed a contract for the fire protection with the Cahokia-Maplewood Volunteer Fire Department. This meant that tax money would be received to help meet some of the financial problems.
In the years to come, two-way radios were installed in the trucks and the fire houses. A new building was being built at the Range Lane location. The cost of the building was $22,000..00.
By now in order to keep up with the rapid growth of Cahokia, the firemen decided to purchase another fire truck. Because of some industry and an airport, a much larger and better supplied truck was needed. In 1957 a GMC was received from Central Fire Truck Company for the sum of $18,327.00. With three trucks in service, this seemed like an ample amount of equipment to serve the needs of Cahokia.
In the years to come the fire department increased from a hand full of members to a 50 man force. The telephon alert system was put into service in 1963. The Cahokia side moved into the new Village Hall later that year.
With more schools and more homes in the Cahokia area, the fire department decided it was time for another fire truck. In spring of 1968, the Cahokia Fire Department received from Central Fire Truck Company a 1968 Ford for the sum of $26,000..00.
Today after many years of devotion and hard work, the department consists of 50 members, 25 assigned to each house. A chief, two assistant chiefs and four pieces of fire fighting equipment. We are very proud of the department we have today and hope, you the people of Cahokia feel the same about us. We hope that we can also progress in the future as we have in the past to keep up with the community needs.
This article was taken from the booklet given out at Cahokia Volunteer Firemen's 26th Annual Ball held at Turner Hall, Ccolumbia, Illinois on Saturday, April 26, 1969. At which time Phil Rachell was Fire Chief and Herman Erndle and Bill Buxton were the Assistant Chiefs.
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