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Local History Index: Lannon History Index

 

Lannon Volunteer Fire Department

    When Lannon celebrated its' 50th birthday in 1980, the village fire department was celebrating its' 64th year. The Lannon Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1916. It succeeded the "Bucket brigade", men who fought fires with pails and farmers' milk buckets.

    The original fire department had 17 members. Through the efforts of Charlie Horn, owner of the present Dugout tavern, the volunteer fire company was chartered with Wisconsin in 1917.

    While the present department (in 1980) has six trucks and two ambulances, originally, it had one hand-drawn cart. The two-wheel cart carried two 35 gallon chemical tanks and a 15 foot hose, with an opening of about an inch and a half in diameter. It took four men to push and pull it. The cart was kept in a garage at 20152 Main St. which served as the original firehouse and village board meeting place at times.    

    It wasn't very easy to effectively fight fires in the early years of the Lannon Volunteer Fire Company. The problems were numerous. Sometimes they would use a chemical tank faster than the other tank could be refilled. The tank lasted only for four or five minutes, then you had to add soda ash, sulfuric acid and 35 gallons of water to it.

    Sometimes the firefighters had to resort to the tactics of the "bucket brigade". The flames would crawl up a wall and there wasn't any ladders to get up that high. There wasn't equipment to go into smoke-filled rooms either. In fact, the firemen wore whatever they had on.

    Local blacksmiths, Otto and Herman Joecks, hand built the first ladder truck. That truck was usually pulled by hand too. It was made of a steel frame and buggy wheels. The frame was about 16 feet long and it carried six ladders that could extend about 30 feet.

    A Cadillac was Lannon's first motorized fire truck. The next piece of equipment was a 1929 Pirsch "Custom" pumper.

    The Department in 1980 has two 750 GPM pumpers, one 500 GPM pumper, two ambulances, one 2600 Gallon Capacity tank truck, and one utility vehicle.

    Until January, 1958, the Department was self-supporting by holding picnics, dances, etc. Since that time, the Department has been assisted financially by the Village of Lannon.

    Lannon has had 9+ Fire Chiefs since 1916:

Year(s) Fire Chief 1st Assistant Fire Chief 2nd Assistant Fire Chief Captain Captain Lieutenant Lieutenant Lieutenant
1916-17 Charles Horn              
1917 (later half -19 (early) no Chief              
1919-20 Otto Joecks 1920 *William Miller            
1921-22 John Wessner 1921 William Miller, 1922 P. Dennis 1922 William Miller          
1923-27 Paul Dennis 1923 William Miller            
1927-33 Albert Feltes              
1933-45 Otto Rossman              
1945-60 Matt Schneider              
1960-64 Louis Gissal              
1964 - 1985+(?) Keith Gissal 1.  1.          
                 
1990 Syd Gissal              
1991                
1992                
1993 Bob Chvosta              
1994 "              
1995 Gary Georgenson Jim Gissal  Ron Nelles Terry Kveen Joe Riefel Tom Gartman Wade Gruedeman Pam Gall
                 

    * William Miller lived directly across the street from the fire house garage.

Bob Chvosta served for 1 1/2 yrs.

1. Syd Gissal  and Godfrey (Shupe) DeCristofaro held positions in 1970.


Gissal, Keith R. Always of Lannon. July 27, 2006, age 86 years. Beloved husband of Ramona (Seraphine) and the late June. Loving father of Terry (Laurie), Thomas and Robert (Karen) Gissal. Dear brother of Sydney (Jeanette) Gissal. Further survived by 10 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, other relatives and many friends. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Sat., July 29 at 11 AM at St. James Catholic Church, W220 N6588 Town Line Rd., Menomonee Falls. Private burial Sunnyside Cemetery. Visitation Sat., 9 AM until time of the Mass. Memorials to St. James Building Fund or VFW Children's Home. Keith was a veteran of WW II, postmaster of Lannon for 26 years, a member of Lannon Volunteer Fire Department for 47 years serving as chief for 22 years. SCHMIDT & BARTELT A.A. Schmidt & Sons Funeral and Cremation Service Sussex 262-246-4774
 
 
Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 28, 2006 - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/jsonline/obituary.aspx?n=keith-r-gissal&pid=18693973&fhid=5694#sthash.H3AzbpOJ.dpuf

Gissal, Keith R. Always of Lannon. July 27, 2006, age 86 years. Beloved husband of Ramona (Seraphine) and the late June. Loving father of Terry (Laurie), Thomas and Robert (Karen) Gissal. Dear brother of Sydney (Jeanette) Gissal. Further survived by 10 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, other relatives and many friends. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Sat., July 29 at 11 AM at St. James Catholic Church, W220 N6588 Town Line Rd., Menomonee Falls. Private burial Sunnyside Cemetery. Visitation Sat., 9 AM until time of the Mass. Memorials to St. James Building Fund or VFW Children's Home. Keith was a veteran of WW II, postmaster of Lannon for 26 years, a member of Lannon Volunteer Fire Department for 47 years serving as chief for 22 years. SCHMIDT & BARTELT A.A. Schmidt & Sons Funeral and Cremation Service Sussex 262-246-4774 -

source: Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 28, 2006


Fire levels Lannon home

Village of Lannon – A fire completely destroyed a mobile home in the 20000 block of West Good Hope Road.

The three people inside the home are now staying with family members, according to Lannon Fire Chief Gary Georgenson.

The heat from Monday's conflagration also damaged the vinyl siding on four other mobile homes nearby, he said, and poured smoke into the one closest to the fire. The Red Cross assisted the two people who had been living in that home, and they are also temporarily living elsewhere.

Georgenson said that Lannon firefighters arrived about 3 to 4 minutes after the call came in, but the home was already "fully involved," and the roof collapsed just as they arrived.

A fire inspector has determined that the fire was caused by an electrical problem, he said.


Wedding 06/24/09

Gall-Martin

Amy Gall and Dan "Mouse" Martin were married Saturday, June 6, 2009, at the Lannon Fire Department garage.

Parents of the bride are Ken Gall and Pam and Mark Spranger. Parents of the groom are Dan and Sue Martin.

The bride is a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Lannon Fire Department.

The groom is a firefighter and motor pump operator for the Lannon Fire Department.

The couple rode to their reception at the Village Bowl in Menomonee Falls in Lannon's first fire truck, a 1928 Pirsch that the department still uses.


Daily apologizes for threat

Lannon divided over Fire Dept. proposal

Village of Lannon — A controversial proposal to reorganize the lines of authority between the Village Board and the Fire Department erupted into a shouting match - and a death threat - at a meeting last Tuesday in Village Hall.

Village Trustee Diane Daily later apologized for telling fellow board member Terry Gissal, "You're the first one I'm going to kill."

Gissal has said he would not press charges against Daily.

"I should never have lost my temper," Daily said in an interview Monday, "but that's not the real issue here."

Daily's proposal would change the way fire chiefs are hired. The department's on-call volunteers now elect or re-elect their part-time chief every year. Daily wants the Village Board and its Personnel and Public Safety Committees to make that decision.

One of the problems with the current process is that the majority of the department's volunteers are not Lannon residents, she said.

Fire Chief Gary Georgenson confirmed Monday that 24 of the department's 38 volunteers are nonresidents, but he didn't think that was a problem.

Only the fire chief has to live in Lannon according to current policies, but even that's too restrictive, he said.

"We have volunteers from Butler, Brookfield, Germantown, Lisbon and Menomonee Falls, many of whom would be qualified to serve as chief," he said.

Georgenson, who plans to retire from the $4,800-a-year part-time position when his current one-year term is up, said he would prefer that the village keep its current system.

"If you look at the municipalities around us that don't have a full-time chief," he said, "all of them except Sussex are elected by their volunteers."

The part-time Lannon Fire Chief is paid $4,800 a year; paid on-call volunteer firefighters are paid $9.94 an hour and EMTs $11.92 an hour.

Daily said she had "nothing against the chief. This is about how the next chief will be hired."

Georgenson said a Village Board takeover of the chief's hiring would "politicize" the process.

Village President Dan Martin - like Gissal, a former volunteer firefighter - would also prefer to keep the current system.

"It's been done this way ever since the Fire Department was formed," he said in an interview Monday, "and it seems to work."

Georgenson said politics had already prevented the hiring of a full-time firefighter/emergency medical technician (EMT), even though the Village Board had included the $44,000-a-year position in its budget four years ago.

Martin agreed, saying four board members had objected to the person the chief had selected to fill the position.

"Last year I told the volunteer I had picked that I had hired him," Georgenson said. "Then bad rumors about him started to fly around. I don't know if he'd even take the job now."

Georgenson claimed Daily's proposed new employee manual would worsen the problem, taking hiring, firing and promotions out of the hands of the chief, too.

Daily said the police and fire departments need employee manuals because current policies are "way out of date."

She said, "We looked at manuals in the municipalities all around us and picked language we thought applied to us."

The new manuals would "repeal and replace" current ordinances - a common parliamentary process - that might have led some to believe she was trying to disband the Fire Department, Daily said.

That charge, she said, led to some of the intensity at the meeting, which attracted many volunteer firefighters who challenged her proposals.

Daily also claimed that Amy Martin, a Lannon firefighter/EMT and another candidate in the Village Board election set for April 6, had "spread a rumor" that Daily was trying to disband the Fire Department.

Six candidates are running for three seats in that election.

The charge "doesn't make any sense," Daily said.

"I've always voted for what the people of Lannon want, not what I want. …

"The only way to decide this is by referendum: Would they prefer nonresidents choose the chief or do we want the Village Board and its committees to do the hiring?"


Lannon police, fire go above and beyond

Randy and Kari Cerny know who to call if there's ever an emergency at their home in Lannon. Thanks to overwhelming support from the Lannon Police and Fire departments, Kari said she's confident that if she ever needs to call 911 again, she'll receive swift assistance.

Back in March, the Cernys were home with their two children, 8-year-old Ethan and their newborn daughter, Addison, when Addison started to cry.

Kari said Randy thought Addison was hungry, so she went to make her a bottle. When she came back to the room, Addison was no longer crying.

"She was cold and clammy, and I told my husband something just wasn't right," said Kari.

Kari called her mother, a nurse, who came to their home from nearby Sussex. Meanwhile, Randy called 911.

Addison was not breathing and was turning blue.

Kari said she was concerned emergency officials would not be able to find their house, which is behind Halquist Stone.

"It's not the easiest house to find," she said. "We share a driveway with Halquist stone, and no one would know our house was there unless you know the area."

Luckily, the Police and Fire departments were familiar with the house.

Police Lt. Kevin Porter was the first on scene.

In a letter she wrote to the Village of Lannon Board expressing her thanks, Kari said "he swept my little baby out of my arms and brought her back to life."

The ride to Children's Hospital was the longest of her life - Kari is familiar with the drive, since she works at Froedtert Hospital - and Addison was in the hospital for the weekend. When she was sent home, it was with an apnea monitor, which the Cernys were told Addison should wear at all times.

The next day, Kari was out getting some things for the baby when Porter stopped by the house to check on the family. He spoke with Kari's mother.

"Now, let's be realistic here," wrote Kari in her letter. "Where else could you live where the lieutenant of the Police Department would stop to see how your baby is doing? This would only happen in Lannon."

Kari said she thinks that if the incident had occurred in a larger community, they would have been simply one more 911 call. But that wasn't the case in Lannon, she said. Later that night, Fire Chief Gary Georgenson was at their door to introduce himself.

Kari said that Georgenson asked her about the monitor and told her he would like to bring the department back to her residence so that they'd be prepared should anything happen again with Addison.

"Gary's words of comfort during this time of need were reassuring," wrote Kari. "He is truly a caring and compassionate man, and it made us feel more comfortable knowing he and his crew were there if we ever needed them."

Georgenson said what he did was standard procedure.

"We do that if we find out about any special needs," he said. "I would hope that's a standard in any type of community."

Georgenson said he invited Kari and Addison to the Fire Department for an EMT drill.

"I thought that was kind of neat," he said.

Porter reiterated Georgenson's sentiment that they were just doing their jobs.

"This is a small community here," he said. "The people on our Fire and Police departments like to look out for our neighbors. It's important that we do that. "Porter said he was just glad they got to the Cernys home in time to get Addison the care she needed.

"I'm glad they have the peace of mind knowing everyone on our fire department and police department know exactly where their house is," he said.

Porter added that Menomonee Falls and Waukesha County dispatch were made aware of the situation as well, in case of an emergency.

Kari said she is confident in the plan in place, should she ever need to call for help again.

Although Addison requires the monitor less often, doctors are still working to figure out why she stops breathing at times.

"I talk about this to everyone I come across," Kari said. "I cannot give enough credit to them."


Five applications for Lannon fire chief

Village of Lannon — Five applicants will be considered for Lannon fire chief. They include: David Batchke of Sussex, Brent Biedenbender of Butler - who has been recommended for the spot by Fire Department members -, Patrick Curtis of Sussex, Jeffrey Johnson of Brookfield and Bob Simon of Menomonee Falls. An advisory committee selected by the Finance & Personnel Committee reviewed the five applications last week and will hold interviews for all five on Saturday.

Using an advisory committee to interview the applicants and make a final suggestion to the committee is part of the process established by an ordinance created last year regarding the hiring of the Lannon fire chief. Committee Chairman Ron Nellis said the group made its selections based on each person not belonging to a immediate mutual aid area and that each person has experience in fire service.

The advisory committee consists of: William Selzer, Elm Grove fire chief; Charlie Meyers, City of Brookfield fire chief, and Kurt Zellman, West Allis fire chief. The committee members will be paid $50 each, per meeting. The funds for this will be allocated from the Fire Department capital expenditures account.

Once the first round of interviews is complete, the committee will do followup interviews with the top three candidates on March 31. Village Clerk James Lamb said the advisory committee will submit its top choice to the Finance and Personnel Committee after second interviews.


Committee selects top pick for Lannon Fire Chief

It appears a committee created by Village of Lannon Finance and Personnel Committee to aid in the selection of a new fire chief has finalized its top choice.  The Village Board is slated to hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday to discuss candidate Patrick Curtis according on the meeting's agenda.

The agenda has the board going into closed session at the meeting's start followed by open session and a possible open interview of Curtis by board members, "to enable the public to learn about the qualifications and experience of this candidate," the agenda said.

The search for a new fire chief began early this year when former chief Gary Georgenson retired after 30 years leading the department.

Curtis was among five applicants for the position. He is a firefighter at North Shore Fire Department. More on this story in Wednesday's Sussex Sun.


Patrick Curtis appointed Lannon fire chief

Village of Lannon — With no opposition from those in the audience of a special Village Board meeting Monday night, Patrick Curtis was unanimously appointed the new fire chief. The appointment is historic for the village because until Monday, the chief has been appointed by Fire Department members.

The board said it was necessary to put the decision in the hands of the body that governs the position. But Fire Department members took issue with the decision, saying that taking the power to appoint the chief out of their hands could mean someone less qualified could be appointed.

Amy Martin, a Lannon firefighter, said the change was unnecessary.

"I believe that change can be a good thing when change is needed. The membership, which include highly skilled and dedicated volunteers, has always been afforded the opportunity to choose their leader. Now it is left in the hands of people who have no clue what it means to dedicate their lives to saving others," she said.

Village President Jerry Newman said that Village Trustee and Finance and Personnel Committee Chairman Ron Nellis, who was in charge of selecting a committee to interview chief applicants - which was made up of area fire department leaders - is a former Lannon fire chief.

Newman said all three of the committee's top choices were extremely qualified, but what it came down to for the board was that Curtis was willing to dedicate the most time to Lannon.

Curtis said Monday he plans to spend his free time -when not serving as a full-time firefighter at North Shore Fire Department - at the village, which is about four days a week. Newman said the other two candidates only offered to spend one day a week at the village.

Curtis said Monday that he started in fire service with Sussex in 1999 before joining the North Shore department in 2003. He said North Shore is a shared-services department that serves seven communities, responding to an average of 6,500 calls a year.

"I've basically taken every class I can take and been involved in fire service since I was a young boy," said Curtis, the son of Sussex Fire Chief Colin "Corky" Curtis.

Curtis said he is taking an open-door approach to getting to know the members of the Lannon Fire Department and earning their trust. He said he plans to meet with each member of the approximately 50-member department personally.

"I've always looked at this opportunity as a challenge to further myself. It's always been a goal to hold leadership roles, and this is a great department that provides great fire and medical service," he said.

Newman said the board has asked Curtis to do a staff and equipment review and look at the department's by-laws in his first 60 to 90 days. Curtis said Monday that he is ready to begin right away.


Lannon-Falls fire merger pending

Village of Lannon - The villages of Lannon and Menomonee Falls are expected to adopt similar resolutions this month that will formalize 18 months of negotiations between officials of the two communities that could lead to either shared fire services between the communities or a consolidation of the fire departments.

The resolution is expected to be presented to the Lannon Village Board at its March 11 meeting and to the Menomonee Falls Village Board the following week, according to village officials.

The adoption of the resolutions will affirm that the elected trustees in both villages endorse the idea of a fire service agreement between two communities and the continuation of negotiations, according to Lannon Village President Jerry Newman

A tentative agreement has been reached regarding an operational structure for a consolidated department and how some, or all, of Lannon's equipment and apparatus would be incorporated into the Menomonee Falls department, according to Newman.

Newman said the issues of how the communities would share funding of a consolidated department or agreement, how the department would be governed, and how the Village of Lannon will be reimbursed for assets it contributes to the Menomonee Falls department, including fire equipment and apparatus, have yet to be resolved.

Newman said future negotiations may determine whether the Lannon department is consolidated or merged with the Menomonee Falls Department or whether Menomonee Falls might provide contractual fire and medical emergency services to Lannon which might later dissolve its fire department.

Newman said which one of several options adopted by the Lannon Village Board is likely to depend upon which option provides the best level of service to the village at the most economical cost.

"It will all depend upon the mathematics, how the dollar figures work out," he said.

Newman acknowledged he is not yet sure what voice, if any, the village will have in the operations of the department.

"They are about 30 times bigger than us," he quipped.

The Lannon department has a budget of about $190,000 with approximately 35 volunteers who are paid a stipend each time they respond to a call.

The Menomonee Falls department has a budget of $2.9 million with 14 fulltime firefighters, 24 firefighters who are paid part time, and 85 volunteers who are paid each time they respond to call or are on duty during overnight hours.

Newman anticipates the consolidation could save the Village of Lannon about $1.5 million which is the estimated cost for either remodeling the existing Village Hall fire station or constructing a new station, possibly at a different location.

Instead of the Lannon station, Newman anticipates that village residents will be served by two new stations being built by the Menomonee Falls department, one at Main Street and Menomonee Avenue and the other on Silver Spring Drive near One Mile Road.

Newman is also optimistic that future operating and other capital costs for the village will be reduced as a result of the consolidation.

However, Newman acknowledged that so far there has been no agreement on how much the village will be expected to contribute to the new department.

Menomonee Falls officials said the consolidation will enable them to provide faster response times to residents living in the western quadrant of the village, some who are presently served by the Lannon department.

So far most of the negotiations have been conducted privately between Newman, Falls Village Administrator Mark Fitzgerald and department directors with limited contributions from the elected officials in either community. Any final agreement will have to be approved by both village boards. The resolution will authorize Newman to continue the negotiations on behalf of the Village Board.

Consolidation negotiations in most other Lake Country communities have been open to the public and included active participation of elected officials. Those communities included the villages of Chenequa, Dousman, Nashotah, Oconomowoc Lake, Summit and the towns of Ottawa and Delafield along with the cities of Oconomowoc and Delafield.


Lannon adopts resolution for Falls fire talks

 

Village of Lannon - With some dissent, the Village Board Monday adopted a resolution authorizing continued negotiations between Lannon and the Village of Menomonee Falls over a possible consolidation or shared service agreement between the two community fire departments.

The resolution directs the village president "to negotiate and bring back for the Village Board's consideration of a proposed agreement, for possible approval, between the Village of Lannon and the Village of Menomonee Falls regarding the provision for fire protection, fire inspection and ambulance services."

Village Trustees Ronald Nellis and Daryl Fiene questioned why only the village president is directed by the resolution to participate in the negotiations.

Fiene noted after the meeting that both he and Nellis are members of the Public Safety Committee and were members of the village volunteer fire department.

"I have more than 17 years experience on the department, this man next to me (referring to Nellis) has even more experience. I don't understand why someone from the Public Safety Committee isn't also involved. Two heads are better that one," Fiene concluded.

However, Nellis voted for the resolution after Newman reminded him any agreements resulting from the negotiations would have to be ratified by the Village Board. Fiene, however, voted against the resolution on the voice vote.

The Village of Menomonee Falls is expected to adopt a similar resolution later this month.

Private negotiations between Menomonee Falls and Lannon officials have been going on for about 18 months, and Newman told the Sussex Sun two weeks ago that the negotiations had reached a point where it was necessary to gain both communities' approvals before continuing the talks.

A tentative agreement has been reached regarding the operating structure of the department and how some of Lannon's equipment and personnel would be incorporated with the Menomonee Falls department, according to Newman.

However, Newman said it has not been decided whether the two departments will consolidate or whether Menomonee Falls would provide fire and ambulance services to the Lannon on a contractual basis and the Lannon department would be dissolved.

The Lannon department has a budget of about $190,000 and relies on approximately 35 volunteers who are paid a stipend for each time they respond to an emergency call.

The Menomonee Falls department has budget of nearly $3 million with 14 full-time firefighters, 24 part-time firefighters, and about 85 volunteers who are paid a stipend each time they respond to a call or on duty during overnight hours.

Newman has said the consolidation or service contract could save the Village of Lannon about $1.5 million because it would enable the village to avoid either remodeling or replacing its existing Village Hall Fire Station.

Menomonee Falls officials have said the consolidation or service contract could help them improve emergency services to residents on the village's far west side. There are plans to build two stations in the vicinity of Lannon; one at Main Street and Menomonee Avenue and the other on Silver Spring Drive near One Mile Road.


Falls Village Board OKs plan to negotiate fire department merger with Lannon

Village manager given green light to reach formal agreement

Menomonee Falls - The villages of Lannon and Menomonee Falls could reach an agreement to consolidate fire departments by the end of summer, Menomonee Falls village officials said Monday.

Menomonee Falls followed Lannon's lead, adopting a resolution that formalizes nearly 18 months of negotiations between the municipalities to consolidate or share fire and ambulance services.

On Monday, the Falls Village Board approved a resolution that directs Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald to negotiate a formal agreement with Lannon and bring it back to the board for final approval. It also directs him to investigate additional opportunities for intergovernmental cooperation between the two villages.

Lannon adopted a similar resolution last week. The two municipalities can now work out details of a merger, with the hope of having an agreement in front of the Menomonee Falls Village Board by the end of summer.

"This formalizes this as a matter of policy so we will get down to the nitty-gritty," Fitzgerald said. "Now, we'll kick off in a more formal way and the goal is before the end of summer to bring you back a tentative agreement and we can move through a ratification process, if possible. That is our time frame."

Menomonee Falls currently provides fire dispatch resources to Lannon, while Lannon provides services to the southwest portion of the village, said Village Trustee Sharon Ellis.

As part of the Menomonee Falls' 2013 capital budget, the village is funding the design to relocate Fire Station 1 from downtown to Menomonee Avenue and Main Street, while using the same designs to build a new fire station on Silver Spring Road, west of Pilgrim Road. Lannon would close their fire station in downtown, moving personnel to the new station to help run it, said Village President Randy Newman. Falls would fund construction of the fire stations in its 2014 capital budget.

"We've been talking about this for a while. We think that's a great use of resources," he said.

Merging fire departments is one in a slew of intergovernmental agreements between the two villages. The dispatch agreement for fire services has been in place since 2009. In 1989, a mutual aid response agreement was implemented with Sussex and the Town of Lisbon.

Menomonee Falls also provides Lannon with snow plowing services for a set fee, which is the latest in a list of agreements.


Retrospect, Dec. 16, 2015: Lannon Fire Department starts with picnic

by Fred H. Keller, Pub'd Living Sussex Sun, Dec 14, 20015

The 99-year-old Lannon Fire and Rescue Department all but disappeared in 2015. Only bits and pieces, and memories, plus photo memories are all that are left now.

Most of the equipment was scattered to the wind.

It has been replaced by the newly constructed, equipped and manned station at the intersection of Menomonee Avenue and Highway 74, a mile northeast of downtown Lannon. On the front highway side is a large sign reading "Menomonee Falls and Lannon #1 Fire Department." It has access to Menomonee Avenue and Highway 74 from the former site of the pioneer town of Menomonee No. 9 one-room cream brick school house. It was actually multiple rooms because of later add-ons.

It has been a town of Menomonee and then village of Menomonee Falls public works storage and work area after it was consolidated and abandoned.

The history of the Lannon Fire Department dates back to Aug. 25, 1916. There were headlines in the Aug. 25, 1916, Menomonee Falls newspaper saying "Big picnic at Lannon" plus "Proceeds to go to organizing Fire Department." It told "everyone" to attend a picnic being held at McCarthy's Grove, which was south of the central village.

The invitation told the attending people that a fundraiser would occur that would include "band music, dancing, ballgames and other amusements." The last sentence was "Everybody turn out and help in a good cause."

A week later (published Sept. 1, 1916), a 19-inch Menomonee Falls News Week story told of the results: "Lannon now has a movement underway for fighting fires."

Then this followed, "Last Sunday afternoon in a picturesque little wood just south of the village of Lannon, we now have a movement well underway for the fighting of fires."

It was billed as a "Harvest Picnic" given by the local businessmen.

According to the copy, the day was ideal for the event and people, far and near, were on hand. They came to enjoy themselves and, at the same time, to demonstrate their public spirit in a move to the next step of providing the funds and volunteers for an effective firefighting capability.

It noted that this was the first really big attempt at a public gathering to be responsible for fire suppression.

Encouraging the crowd was the Menomonee Falls Fire Department, which was on hand with their unit band to entertain the crowd. There was a mention of "Mr. Joe Hoos and his husky brigade of Menomonee Falls firefighters."

There was full force to mingle their good cheer and the Lannonites' loose change was collected for the community project.

Other entertainment was given by the Waukesha Singers, a society of men who sang beautiful and enduring old German folk songs. They came without an invite as a compliment to a worthy endeavor by the people of Lannon. However, it was noticed that these singers did become thirsty as their throats dried out. The thirst was quenched by mugs of foaming liquids so eagerly used as a fuel to sing some more tunes.

The 19-inch newspaper feature estimated that the crowd was at "like 2,000" and added "behaved with irreproachable decorum."

The parking of cars was a problem for this big group and Lannon native August Lembke was appointed "officer of the day" as he "used his vigilant eye and a guiding hand to do a really good job."

There was a movement to make this picnic an annual event.

In a short time, the owner of the Dug Out, Charles Horn, was elected the first fire chief.

Incorporation was the next step on April 3, 1917. The charter was drawn up May 1, 1917, and received back June 12, 1917, just as the USA was entering World War I.

 



The former Lannon Fire Department shoulder patch logo is now a keepsake. The department was started in 1916 with a fundraising picnic near the end of the summer.
Retrospect, Jan. 6, 2016: Lannon Fire Department slowly acquires equipment, land

by Fred H. Keller, Pub'd Living Sussex Sun, January 5, 2016

This is the second part in a series on the Lannon Fire Department.

The recent first part of the history of the Lannon Fire Department goes back to an Aug. 25, 1916, picnic south of the present-day village of Lannon. It raised $405.75 and was considered well-attended. Also, dances were held and a Feb. 17, 1917, event raised an additional $136.45.

Equipment was purchased, including a two-wheel cart that carried two 35-gallon chemical tanks. It took four men to push it to the scene of a fire.

Six months after the first picnic fundraiser, a Lannon Main Street lot was purchased. It was 50 feet wide and "it went back to the Schmoller lot line." The cost was $200. Today, this relic of the former Lannon Fire Department's first station is still in place at W20252 Main Street, only it has long been sold and remodeled for other uses, other owners and other activities.

This original station was built off a sketch by Louis Schneider. The dimensions were 36 feet by 20 feet with a 10-foot high ceiling and three windows on each side.

A ladder cart was built in 1917 and it was hand-pushed to fires.

Two local blacksmiths, Otto and Herman Jocks, constructed it, charging the princely sum of $37. This cart carried six ladders. The ladders, when extended, could reach 30 feet high. The cart and ladders had a length of 16 feet.

Lennon Fire Department membership soared and it became the "thing" to belong to. Meeting on Dec. 4, 1917, the membership wanted loyalty and if you missed a meeting, there was a fine of 25 cents.

The firehouse was heated by wood and coal. It is recorded that the members were cold at this meeting as there was no coal available. So, members George Kesler and A.P. Walter got some coal.

On Jan. 8, 1918, following the meeting, electricity was installed. About a year later, A. Lempke got paid $5 a month to keep the fire going in the fire station.

Meetings were sporadic in the early years and there was a situation that there were no meetings between Feb. 4, 1919, and Nov. 4, 1919. Then there was another lack of meetings from Jan. 13, 1920, to Jan. 11, 1921.

At a meeting March 1, 1921, a fire bell for the station was purchased.

In about 1924, the company agreed to buy its first motorized piece of fire equipment. An old Cadillac chassis was rescued from a junk yard for $50 and was made serviceable. The old water tanks from the original cart were transferred to the new, motorized carrier.

The tanks were filled with about 35 gallons of water. When pumping pressure was needed, baking soda and sulphuric acid in measured amounts were quickly added to the water and a tight cap was put on securely. When shaken up, the mixture inside would build up to 100 pounds of pressure and hose would allow this pressure to expel the water mixture onto the fire. Meanwhile, the second tank was made ready, water, baking soda and sulphuric acid, and the first tank would be recharged with ingredients.

In simple, layman's terms, the charging of the 35-gallon water tanks was something like a bottle of soda water, shaken up with the cap on. It would build up pressure and exploded out when the cap was removed, or with a charged tank, shaken up and discharged in a hose by the chemical reaction.

To service these chemical pressure tanks, one needed supplies. A purchase order from that time shows they purchased a "carbon 175# Sulphuric Acid, 2 100-pound kegs of soda, and all at a cost of $14.13."

The Lannon Fire Department was operating using raised funds from a variety of sources. A fundraising picnic in August 1927 had a total profit of $2,000.59 and when the bills were paid, $1,117.01 was left.

That paid about 25 percent of the 1927 operating costs of $4,040.68.


Part Three wasn't published online!

The Lannon Fire Department was founded in 1916. This photo shows the membership of the department in 2000. Pictured are (from left, front) Lt. Wade Gruendeman, Secretary Robert Simon, Captain Daryl Fiene, Captain Tony Gartman, Assistant Chief Gary Georgenson, Chief Ronald Nellis, Assistant Chief Joe Riefel, Captain Terry Kveen, Lieutenant Shirley Fiene, Tom Gissal, (middle) Jim Henrichs, Dan Martin, Kenneth Heinemeyer, Pamela Spranger, Mark Spranger, Suzanne Zellmann, Ronald Dutcher, Linda Losiniecki, Patraic Maloney, Dennis McCarthy, Greg McCarthy, Gregg Malloy, (back) Dan “Mouse” Martin, Tom Truttschel, Robert Losiniecki, Tom Gudex, Brian Gerstmeier, Kurt Zellmann, Joshua LaDue, Gregg Oettinger, David Antonian, Jason Zabler, Sam Schmitz and Steve Wagner. Not pictured are Tammy Sherman, Fred Carsky, Chris Irvine, Mark Kenney, Nikolas Mueller and David Walters.

This is the fourth and final installment in a series about the Lannon Fire Department.

The Gissal family was huge in the 99-year history of the Lannon Fire Department. Collectively, the Gissal family put in more than two centuries of service.

Syd Gissal served as the Lannon fire chief from 1986-95, the third member of his family to serve in that role.

In an old interview, Syd Gissal said, "I sort of joined during World War II, but I had to go to the service. When I got out in August 1946, it was back on the Lannon Fire Department," where he served until his retirement in 1995.

Lannon got its first Gissals on the company July 10, 1917, when brothers Louis, Fred and Leo joined. In 1960, Louis became the chief, then his son, Keith, from 1964-85. Keith's brother Syd took over from 1986-92. That gave the Gissals 32 years collectively as chief. The father and two sons served an average of 47 years each on the department, and then there were other extended family members.

The list of fire chiefs for the 99 years goes this way: Charles Horne (1916-17), no chief (1917-19), Otto Joecks (1919-20), John Wessner (1921-22), Paul Dennis (1924-26), Albert Feltes (1927-32), Otto Rossman (1933-44), Louis Gissal (1960-63), Keith Gissal (1964-85), Syd Gissal (1986-92), Bob Chvosta (1993-94), Gary Georgenson (1995-97), Ron Nellis (1997-2000) and again Gary Georgenson from 2000 until recently, the only chief to have a staggered period in the role. Following Georgenson, there was a new way to choose who was the next chief, with the Lannon Village Board becoming heavily involved. The final chief was Patrick Curtis, a former Sussex firefighter/rescue member and Milwaukee North Shore Fire Department full-time fire/rescue member.

Meanwhile, Menomonee Falls expanding its fire/rescue calls. Lannon had for years been employed by Menomonee Falls to give service to the western parts of the village of Menomonee Falls. In maintaining the Lannon Fire Department, it was becoming difficult to get dedicated men and women to be members with all the training and time required and, at a meeting of two communities, it was decided that Menomonee Falls would take over service for both communities (the old town of Menomonee).

Menomonee Falls put up a Menomonee Falls-Lannon station adjacent to the northeast border with Lannon at Menomonee Avenue and Highway 74, a mile and a half from the center of Lannon (the old fire house). It is now up and running with a designation of "Menomonee Falls-Lannon Fire Department."

It has in-house fire/rescue-trained individuals that will have a faster response time than the former arrangements.

Terry Kveen, one of the all-time great members (27 years), served as the Lannon Rescue Department chief for 13 years and assistant fire chief. He had praise for the new arrangements as he listed the dwindling LFD membership and intensive time-consuming need for a high rate of certification required in a modern fire department. He also said that a series of former Lannon fire/rescue people are now members of the Menomonee Falls Fire Department.

Meanwhile, the former fire department quarters still houses the old LFD parade truck and now has space for the Lannon Police Department. There is also a need by the village of Lannon to have more storage space for records for the 85-year-old village.

The Lannon Fire Department now goes into community history, but it will continue as a part of the Menomonee Falls history.

 

 

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