Fire History
The Leaf River City Fire Department, under the leadership of Fred Robinson is an organization of volunteer citizens who are paid when called for duty.  The organization is maintained at a State of efficiency by frequent drills while inspection of apparatus is frequent and thorough.  A hose cart with 1000 feet of hose is maintained and the department also has a hook and ladder.  Each cart is manned by a special squad and the usual rivalry exists. 
A new Leaf River City Fire Department was formed June 1, 1920, J.W. Fossler was President;  First Foreman was F.W. Robinson;  Second Foreman was H.E. Bowerman.  The Hydrant Committee consisted of Leslie Kretsinger and Lloyd Motter.  The Hose Cart Committee was made up of:  J.B. Marks;  Harley Garner;  Jess Kuntzelman;  Fred L. Schrader;  Newton Wagner;  Albert Myers;  Dr. J.D. Corsue;  and Ward Myers;  Hook and Ladder Committee were:  R.W. Kline;  E.E. Guyer;  Fred Windhorst;  Millard Wakenight;  and John Haire.  Electric Lights were put in the Hose and Pump Houses.
Leaf River's modern Fire Department began, in the late 1940's, with the purchase of a 1930 Chevrolet Fire Truck.  Leonard Lovell and Herva Knodle picked the truck up from Mt. Morris.  It was purchased for the price of $ 1,000 and trade of the old Hose Cart.  "Old Betsy", as the fire personnel affectionately called her, was housed in the garage owned then by Shelby Bowers.  Old Betsy's first fire call in Leaf River was at the home of Olin Knodle on Blaine St.  The Dwelling now (1982) is owned by Ralph "Buzz" Blake.  The volunteers in the community manned the truck and put out the fire.  On June 24, 1950, the citizens of Leaf River voted into existence the Leaf River Fire Protection District.  The first trustees were:  President- C. Leonard Lovell;  Vice President- John Wagner;  and Secretary- Wilbur Light.  During the ensuing year, Shelby Bowers was appointed Treasurer, a 1951 Chevrolet Fire Truck was purchased, Herva Knodle was appointed the first Fire Chief, and "Old Betsy" was given to the newly formed fire district.  Charter members of the Leaf River Fire Protection District Volunteer Fire Dept. on February 22, 1951 were as follows:  Herve Knodle;  J.E. Nash;  Harley Motter;  Clarence Leerhoff;  S.J. Bowers;  Harlan Garrett;  Wayne Otto M.D.;  Ivan J. Miller;  Ralph Blair;  Irwin Light;  C. Leonard Lovell;  W.F. Light;  J.H. Wagner;  Jack J. Snyder;  R.G. Fry;  Kenneth E. Lovell;  Emerson Baker;  J.B. Jones;  Ed Reemstma;  William Hartje Jr.;  Phil Ballard;  and Bob Albright.
Others to join the fire district later were as follows:  Lee Westerman;  Fred Newcomer;  Harm Groen;  Robert G. Fry;  George Palmer;  Richard Frickson; and Quimby H. Davis.
In 1957 Robert Bennett was appointed Fire Chief, a position he held until 1972.  On September 24, 1951 the construction of the first fire station began at 101 W. Second St., in Leaf River.  An addition was added in 1954 for a kitchen and meeting room.  These facilities are presently being used (1981).  he former Sunoco gas station owned by Bill Campbell and the restaurant owned by Leonard Palmer were purchased in 1981 by the District for the use of new Fire Station facilities.  Work has begun on the construction of the new station and was available for use in the summer of 1981. 
An Ambulance Service was added in June of 1959.  A white DeSoto was purchased second-hand from George Ottis of Mt. Morris, who ran an independant Ambulance Service.  In January 1961, the DeSoto was traded in on a used Cadillac ambulance.  In May 1965, a new ambulance was purchased, a Plymouth station wagon.  The Volunteer fire personnel operated the Ambulance Service after taking the required Red Cross First Aid Course.  These were originally led by Harley Motter, then later by Leroy Wells, who continued to train th fire personnel and interested persons until the Red Cross requirements changed and more extensive training was needed.  In April 1976, a Modular Ambulance was purchased with the help of a State Dept. of Transportation Grant.  In 1977, Robert D. Fry was appointed Ambulance Coordinator, and is still serving this postion (1982).
Leaf River Fire Protection District is a non-profit organization

This page was last updated on: November 22, 2008