At a meeting on October 7, 1889 they passed a resolution for the organization of “Fire Company No. 1 of North Judson” consisting of not less than 12 or more than 20 able bodied men, not under 18 years of age with consent of their parents, and who shall be exempt from all road and street work for their services as firemen. It also provided a penalty for failure of any member to attend a monthly meeting for practice or work in case of a fire, for offense 50 cents and $1.00 for a second offense and may be expelled, except in case of sickness of unavoidable absence.
The first members of the “Fire Company” were Louis Foust, Captain; A. J. White, Lieutenant; and Henry Replogle, Sergeant.
On December 4, 1889, the board approved the purchase of a hand engine for the Fire Company to be paid for by popular subscription. This was the first piece of fire equipment owned by the town. It has been preserved and now housed in the present fire station, located at the corner of Main Street and Keller Avenue, and build in 1952 without cost to the taxpayers of North Judson by the members of the department.
The hand engine is pictured on another page.
During a disastrous fire in the business of Knox, some few years after the hand engine, or better called hand pumper, was purchased, a telegram was received calling for help and in response it was loaded on a railroad flat car and taken there by a switch engine and crew then stationed at North Judson. Accompanied by several of our local firemen and citizens a helpful and heroic service was rendered.
When a fire destroyed, on Christmas morning, December 25, 1947, the largest and best business block in our town, the Knox and several other neighboring fire departments came to our aid. The loss included the Two Joes large general store, Post Office, Dr. Davis Dental and Weninger Insurance Offices, Blough’s Jewelry and Wakemans Drug stores, and several apartments on the second floor. The building was located at the S.W. corner of Central Avenue and Lane Street, the present location of the Two Joes Store.
I was lucky enough to find a better photo of the steam powered pumper that was purchased circa 1900. The gentlemen in the picture were identified as: Charlie Summers (?), Henry Schricker, Manual Knachel, Frank Eatinger, Unknown, and Joe Dolezal. (From "A Photographic History of Starke County, Indiana" compiled by Marvin Allen.)