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Local History Index: Government Index: Fire Departments Index

 

 Lisbon Fire Department

Official LFD http://www.lisbonfire.com/Home.aspx

The Lisbon Fire Department history is short compared to most other fire departments in the Waukesha County area.  Established through a town board annual meeting on March 24th, 1982, the vote of the citizens was resounding for the formation of Lisbon’s own department.  Prior to 1982, the town contracted for its fire and EMS needs from the Village of Sussex.  At the time of contract renewal, the two communities were growing apart from the same needs for fire service, which made negotiations difficult.  The rising costs of buying protection made it feasible to create a department, tailor made to Lisbon’s individual criteria.  With support from the town chairman, Richard Jung, and two more board members, Gus Sandroni and Bill Grigg, they moved to present plans for the formation of a department.  They enlisted the help of Joseph Farley who was an acquaintance of Gus through business.  Joe was a firefighter for the Town of Delafield and Oconomowoc.  At the young age of 25, Farley drafted a proposal with the information attained from the I.S.O. (a fire department grading organization).  The plan detailed equipment and water deliveries needed to create a highly rated department for the town.  After the annual meeting won approval, Farley assembled a committee to build and operate the project.  The five-man team was recruited from Lisbon citizens and interested people who also had fire backgrounds.  These men were, Dave Parker, Roy Swantes, Herb Scherman, Ray Radke and Doug Brahm.  This group worked with Farley and the Town Board to purchase equipment, trucks and supplies.  With Bill Grigg watching the $621,000 fiscal budget, Joe directed the team to formulate the required combination of apparatus and equipment to obtain a favorable rating.  This undertaking was huge considering they only had one year to complete.

The call for residents to volunteer to become firefighters and emergency medical technicians went out and the response was very positive.  Forty civic-minded men and women did apply and committed to the accelerated training needed by the end of 1982.  There fitted with turn out gear then enrolled in firefighting and EMT school.  The members also met every Monday night and Saturday mornings for in house trainings and working on the equipment. The time spent by the committee and the membership was monumental and a true sacrifice for their community.  The first major purchase was a used fire engine from the Grafton Fire Department for $17,000; this purchase was made to establish immediate training.  Then two new engines were ordered from Pierce Manufacturing Co.  These twin fire engines, equipped with 1250 gallon per minute pumps and 1500 gallons of water in the booster tank were custom designed for rural firefighting with out the aid of hydrants.  These engines are still in service today, they are known as 2663 and 2665.  A new ambulance was delivered from Pierce in time for the 1983 target date.  Meanwhile, three tankers were designed using used chassis’ and custom-built tanks; Joe Farley oversaw this project.  The combined water amount was 9,750 gallons.  Because of the water capacity these tankers can carry, more than any other department in the area, the phrase “water on wheels’ was coined, as is worn proudly on the patches of the firefighters. 

The station to house the apparatus was a previously constructed building used by the Lisbon Highway Department.  Other purchases included hose, breathing apparatus, water appliances, rescue equipment, radios, Hurst tool, and a under ground 40,000 gallon tank.

The 1982 building year was extremely intense with several political controversies from opponents of the fire department.  Four out of the five original committee members dropped off for personal reasons.  Later in the year, a contract was signed with Waukesha County Sheriff’s dispatch to provide us with dispatching services.  With the radio being donated by the Lisbon Fire Department, County Fire dispatch was created.  The department prepared themselves for activation on January 1, 1983.  To come in under budget, the forty plus members agreed to accept no pay for 1982 through 1983.  On December 31, 1982 at midnight, the Lisbon Fire Department was activated.  Shortly thereafter the first call came in, a vehicle accident, three victims, one fatal, one critical and one with minor injuries and history was changed.  Joe Farley was named Chief along with Doug Brahm as Assistant Chief.  The first year saw a call volume of 220; though these were mainly rescue, the department saw its fair share of car accidents and structure fires.

By 1996, the call volume had increased to over 300.  The Town Board along with the department felt it was time to hire the department’s first full-time employee.  Troy Boesel was hired in June of 1996 and manned the firehouse during the weekdays.  Troy’s duties were, responding on calls, vehicle maintenance, and fire inspections.  A second person was hired, Scott Dallesasse, in March 1997.  Troy left to go to the Wauwatosa Fire Department in 1998, and was replaced by Dan Gabel in August of that year.  Through the years the roster has changed many times with over 120 men and women serving their community.  There are still six charter members active on the department.  They are, Doug Brahm, Bob Schiellack, Dave Mason, Phil Ferber, Jay Scheillack and Randy Wittig.  In 1997 Joe Farley resigned.  Doug Brahm became the Chief, along with Bob Scheillack as his assistant.

 In 1999 the department had answered 419 calls.  Since its inception, the Lisbon Fire Department has handled over 4,697 alarms.  Though the stories of the calls are interesting, the most moving historical fact about the department is the membership.  The dedication and unselfish determination to make Lisbon and its people safe.  There are numerous citizens and visitors that have received our services.  The future will see growth, and more bad situations made better because The Lisbon Fire Department was created.


Retrospect: Old Lisbon Town Hall cistern gives way to municipal water for Sussex firefighters

The doctor’s office at Sussex Family Practice on west Main Street today was once Lisbon Town Hall. The town built it on an acre of land under the direction of Town Chairman William Weaver II in 1866 on the condition that it not cost more than $1,100.

Lisbon officially began at its first meeting and election April 5, 1842, in Lisbon Plank Road School, where the Halquist Stone Co. office is today. Town officials continued to meet there and a few other places until early 1866, just after the Civil War, when the Town Board decided to build a town hall.

Sussex had its beginnings as an unincorporated village in 1842 around the “four corners” at Maple and Main and remained part of Lisbon until 82 years later, in September 1924, when Sussex incorporated.

Since the village was Lisbon’s population center, the town decided that its new 30-by-40-foot cream brick town hall would go up on the hillside near downtown Sussex.

The new Lisbon Town Hall became a central attraction, hosting town meetings, voting, dances, wedding parties, country fairs and important community events. One of the more memorable occasions was the welcome-back staged by about 300 Lisbonites in 1898 for local soldiers returning from the Spanish-American War.

Then two things happened. The Sussex Fire Department was formed in 1922. Then, just two years later, Sussex separated from the Town of Lisbon. Lisbon continued to have its Town Board and electors meetings in its town hall, which, however, stood within the new village’s borders.

The Village of Sussex also used Lisbon Town Hall for its village hall, but in 1937 built its own village hall, the Sussex Community Building, which is now used by Sussex-area Outreach Services’ food pantry.

Lisbon used the hall until 1955 when the town built a new one on Good Hope and Hillside roads (the site of Lisbon’s Fire Department and Public Works Department garage today).

The new Sussex Fire Department needed a water source since there were no hydrants back then. Firefighters took water to fires from wherever it was available: a cistern and well with a curbside hydrant at Sussex’s Marx garage, the Sussex swimming quarry behind Mammoth Spring Canning Co., and, in 1934, a new cistern at Lisbon Town Hall.

Sussex used federal money from the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) to build the 20,000-gallon cistern, which was fed by rainwater draining from the roof of Lisbon Town Hall via downspouts and inground drain pipes.

Sussex Village President Frank Grogan headed the WPA crew, which used wheelbarrows, picks, shovels and crowbars to dig the hole.

Local mason Valentine Marx poured the cistern’s concrete bottom and built the sides and vaulted ceiling with mortar and limestone. The first time they filled it with water, the bottom fell out and the water drained away.

The crew then redid the cistern base successfully, then installed a concrete cap with “Mar 1934-CPA” (Civilian Works Administration) troweled into it.

The new cistern became a major water source for firefighters over the years until April 26, 1966, when the downtown Sussex IGA store burned to the ground on the site of today’s Piggly Wiggly.

By late 1981 the village had installed more 175 hydrants supplied by its municipal water system. Believing the cistern posed a danger because a child could fall in if the cap were ajar, village crews removed the cap, filled the cistern to the top with sand, crushed the cistern’s vaulted ceiling and covered the area with topsoil.

Meanwhile, the village had acquired the old Lisbon Town Hall and the lot it stood on in the 1950s and sold it in 1962 for about $5,000 to Norbert Berchdorf, who ran an organ repair shop in the old structure, until he sold the building to Drs. James Davis and Terrence Hughes in 1987. The doctors remodeled it that year for their 1988 grand opening.


Lisbon Fire Department presents 2008 service awards

The Fire Department honored two of it firefighters, Matthew Mertens and Jeff Drager, with its 2008 Lisbon Fire Department Chief's Award at the department's awards dinner Jan. 17 at Fairways of Woodside.

The Fire Department honored two of it firefighters, Matthew Mertens and Jeff Drager, with its 2008 Lisbon Fire Department Chief's Award at the department's awards dinner Jan. 17 at Fairways of Woodside.

Mertens joined the Lisbon Fire Department five years ago as a paid-on-call volunteer, and grew to paramedic, certified fire fighter, fire officer, fire instructor, and inspector. He is now a career employee in another community.

“While he was here, he took over the fire prevention tasks and spent the necessary time to learn the job,” Chief Doug Brahm said. “He has taken the program and made it consistent and unquestionably the most professional it has ever been. I now have business owners calling to find out how to comply with codes instead of complaining about the inspectors or disputing the citation validity.”

Despite his career move, Mertens still puts in long hours completing plan reviews and writing letters for the department..

Drager is a certified firefighter, I and II, certified inspector, EMT IV tech and certified fire instructor. “Jeff has made a huge effort to accommodate the training of officers by assisting, presenting, and preparing for trainings,” Brahm said. “His interest in improving the department goes beyond just questioning and suggesting. He affects change by offering to perform the needed work to accomplish change and keeping in line the goals and culture of the department.”

The dinner also honored Bob Schiellack, Andy Brahm, Justin Kurszewski, Pete Brahm, Joe Brahm, Tom Van Aaken, Jay Schiellack, Justin Buening, Jeff Drager, Kevin Bujak, Jim Hafemeister, Mark Meyer, Dan Heier, Andy Kopplin, Pam Hitchler and Justin Sayre for the hundreds of volunteer hours they put into the building of the Richmond Fire Station.

Pins were award to Steve Plato, Mark Meyer, Jodi Hentzell and Kyle Gluth for earning firefighter state sertifications;.

Length of service pins for five years were awarded to Matt Mertens, Sue and Kurt Roskopf, Michelle Drager and Jim Hentzell; and for 10 years to Dan Gabel.


Lisbon fire station to open for business Saturday; Controversy continues over cost

The Richard M. Jung Memorial Fire Station will begin operations at 7 a.m. this Saturday, March 1.

The Richard M. Jung Memorial Fire Station will begin operations at 7 a.m. this Saturday, March 1.

Construction of the building, which was used as a polling place in last week's primary, is in its final phases, according to town officials.

A public opening ceremony for the building at Highways K and KF will be scheduled later this year, town officials said.

Controversy over the Fire Station continues, however.

Ron Esser, who is challenging Supervisor Robert Williams in the April municipal elections, questioned how long town officials intend to pay for the operation of two fire stations.

He said that the town's original fire station on Good Hope Road should be shut down.

He also pointed out that the Sussex Village fire station on Silver Spring Road could serve town residents.

Williams responded that the town does intend to shut down the Good Hope Road station eventually and build a new fire station somewhere in the northeast corner of the town.

Williams said the long-range plan is for the town to have fire protection based on the northeast and southwest quadrants of the town.

Other town officials, including Fire Chief Doug Brahm, have argued that the new fire station is needed to provide additional and faster fire protection to Lisbon's rapidly growing southwest quadrant.

Brahm said the new fire station's location is ideal because it provides firefighters with direct access to a number of major roads in the region.

Richard M. Jung was Town Board chairman in 1982 when it decided to create a fire department because board members thought the Village of Sussex was charging the town too much for fire protection.

TDI Associates, an engineering consulting firm owned by Williams, donated professional services for the design of the building.

Lisbon also had to pay the Department of Natural Resources $25,000 as part of an out-of-court settlement because the town violated state laws when it cleared wetland to prepare the site for construction.


Reed talks fire with Sussex, Merton, Lannon

Town supervisors were unhappy to learn Monday that Town Chairman Michael Reed has discussed the possibility of forming a regional fire and emergency medical service (EMS) department with neighboring communities.

Town supervisors were unhappy to learn Monday that Town Chairman Michael Reed has discussed the possibility of forming a regional fire and emergency medical service (EMS) department with neighboring communities.

Reed bristled at their criticism. "Are you saying you are against saving taxpayers' money?" he asked heatedly. "Are you saying you are against a regional fire department and EMS?"

"No one is saying that," responded Supervisor Matthew Gehrke. "What they are saying is they want to be told what you are doing."

Supervisors Robert Williams and Ron Fricke said Reed did not have authority to negotiate for the town without the Town Board's approval.

Reed said as town chairman he was entitled to meet with his elected peers from other communities and discuss mutual issues with them.

"Yeah, and that's how we got started on the Police Department, too," countered Fricke.

Reed - without the approval of the Town Board - initiated the negotiations with Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki that eventually led to dissolution of the town's police department and its replacement by a police services contract with the county Sheriff's Department.

Fricke opposed the abolition of the Police Department and had predicted Reed would also try to abolish the Fire Department.

Fricke asked Town Attorney Kathryn Gutenkunst whether Reed had authority to engage in such negotiations.

Gutenkunst said that if Reed wanted to attend meetings as a private individual, he could.

However, she said, he could not represent the Town Board at such meetings without prior board approval.

"You are only one vote," she told the chairman.

Reed went along with a unanimous vote by the supervisors naming him and Fricke to a committee responsible for conducting any discussions involving consolidating fire services with other communities.

But the committee might cause a crimp in those negotiations, since any committee created by the board will have to post public notice of any meetings it plans to have with officials from other communities.

Reed and Fricke are also likely to make an "odd couple" since Fricke is leading a campaign to recall Reed.

Reed has also been a vocal critic of the Town Board's spending on the fire department policies and recently described the town's new fire station at Highways K and KF as "excessive."

Reed said he has met a couple of times with Sussex officials to discuss sharing fire and emergency services.

He said he had one conversation with Village of Merton officials and another conversation with Lannon officials about their possible involvement in a regional fire and EMS department.

Reed and other Lisbon officials will also meet with Village of Pewaukee officials who said they would be interested in some type of shared service arrangement with the town.

Village of Pewaukee officials say they are interested in the town's new fire station at Highways K and KF providing some service to nearby village homes and businesses, and Lisbon officials have indicated they might be willing to do so.


Fun at the firehouse

The Lisbon Fire Department hosted a flu shot clinic for the first time this year on Saturday.

The department has been hosting blood drives for a number of years and this year approached Community Memorial Hospital about offering flu shots as well, said Fire Chief Doug Brahm. The fire station now has a large community service room and offered a good space for local residents to get their seasonal flu shot. Brahm said he thought around 60 flu shots were given.

"We're doing it as a community service," said Brahm.

He said the event went well as the rain held out and experienced a good turnout. The department christened two new trucks and an ambulance and did a short memorial service for firefighters and police officers.

Brahm said he estimates around 300 people attended the event because he gave away around 280 hot dogs, "but some people could have come back for seconds," he quipped. McDonalds donated orange drink, the Survive Alive house was on site as well as Sparky the Lisbon fire dog.

Brahm said the department works to make the open house an annual event during fire prevention month in October. The Waukesha County Sheriff's SWAT team, and the Sussex, Richfield, Merton and Hartland fire departments also attended.

"It seems like a popular event but we could always use more people," said Brahm. "All in all we had a fairly good turnout and the flu shot clinic was a success."


Lisbon OKs leasing fire station room

Local businesses can pay to use community room

Town of Lisbon — By a split decision, the Town Board voted Nov. 23 to allow businesses based in the town to rent the community room on the lower level of the new Richard Jung Fire Station near Richmond Road for business meetings and training sessions for a $100 fee and a $200 deposit.

The policy will permit not-for-profit community organizations to continue to use the room at no charge but will not allow town residents or other individuals to rent the room for private parties.

Supervisor Joe Osterman said "there was a lot of discussion" over whether to rent the room for private parties during a meeting between Osterman, Town Administrator Jeff Musche and Fire Chief Doug Brahm at which they discussed establishing the rental policy.

Osterman said Brahm was concerned that full-time and volunteer firefighters assigned to the station would spend too much time answering telephone calls and making lease arrangements if the room were available to individuals for private parties.

Osterman said the chief did not object to continuing the policy regarding not-for-profit organizations and leasing the room for business training sessions or meetings.

Business parties or sales events will not be permitted, Osterman added.

The room will be available for lease during times it is not being used by the Fire Department. A rental agreement could be canceled if the room must become available for department use, according to the policy adopted by the board.

The chief is authorized to decline a lease if he thinks use of the room is not appropriate for the building or the department or if it conflicts with scheduled uses by Lisbon or other nearby community departments.

Supervisor Ron Esser voted against the policy, warning that it exposed to the Town Board to possible liabilities.

Town Chairman Matt Gehrke, Supervisor Dan Fischer and Osterman voted for the policy. Supervisor Dan Heier abstained from voting. Heier, a lieutenant in the volunteer department, occasionally does not vote on issues related to the department.

Fischer expressed concerns about leasing the room and urged there be restrictions on how local businesses can use the facility.

"It is more of training room, and that is how it should be used," he said.

Heier also expressed some reservations.

"I think you are opening up a can of worms when you tell businesses in the Village of Sussex or the Town of Merton that they can't use it," he said.

Musche told the board that court decisions have permitted municipalities to restrict the use of leased facilities based on geographical or municipal boundaries but not on the lawful purposes of the organizations.

Both Osterman and Gehrke said they did not anticipate many businesses would use the facility.

Gehrke initially proposed the idea of leasing the room during a board meeting earlier this month. Gehrke said he thought the room could provide some limited additional revenues to the town without interfering with department operations.


Grass fire in Lisbon

Firefighters have responded to a fire at Lake Five Road near the railroad tracks, that reportedly started at about 4:15 p.m. The fire has also spread to Plainview Road. Updates as more information becomes available.

The City of Brookfield Fire Department is staffing the Lisbon Fire Department while firefighters are out on the fire, but would not release any further information.


Silo fire in Lisbon

The Sussex, Merton and Lisbon fire departments are at a silo fire on Highway K in the Town of Lisbon.

A portion of Highway K near the Lisbon station has been closed to traffic while firefighters battle the blaze.

More details as they become available.


Electrical line problems around area

Waukesha County Dispatchers have been directing emergency responders to areas of downed power lines Thursday evening. Calls have been heard to Stone Bank Fire Department and most recently the Lisbon Fire Department was dispatched.

Lisbon was dispatched to the N72 W22418 Good Hope Road for a downed power line arcing and blocking traffic at about 5:20 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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