History of Argenta Fire.



The following history was taken from a minute book dated 1905 to the present.

At a meeting dated June 26th 1905 a man by the name of George Lee was elected as acting Fire Chief for two weeks.

The next meeting was dated as August 28th, 1905. A carpenter was to be contacted as to the cost of a house for the engine 12 x 18 feet.

At the meeting dated April 30th 1906, a committee of three was appointed to check on a hook and ladder truck.

E.R.Evey was the next Fire Chief elected June 11th 1906

The first money making report was made at the August 27th 1906 meeting, from a chicken fry with $87.73 profit.

October 26th 1906 meeting a lock was ordered put on the firehouse with thirty keys for the members.  The department had their own hook and ladders made at the blacksmith shop, also bought their own lanterns, crow bars, and axes.  There was a collection of 2% tax on all insurance premium on the residence in the village.

At the March 29th 1907 meeting, it was voted to pay the secretary 50 cents per meeting for his services.  This was the last meeting on record until May 9th 1913.  At this meeting William West was elected Fire Chief.

May 13th 1913 was the last meeting on record until December 22nd 1922. A charge of ten dollars was voted for a fire call outside the village limits with a charge of $2.00 per mile thereafter, with the distance to answer a fire left up to the Fire Chief.

Melvin Manecke was elected Fire Chief September 13th 1926.  This was the last meeting until October 9th 1935.  Freeman White was nominated and elected fire Chief.  This was the last meeting until July 8th 1940.

The G.K. Rolofson Garage was started in the spring of 1938. The fire truck was stored there.  This was a 1916 Reo with four fifty gallon chemical tanks mounted with the lengths of ¾-inch hose.  These tanks were filled with water and ten or fifteen pounds of soda with a cage which held ½-gallon glass container filled with acid.  There was a type of hammer inside of the tank which could be worked with a lever on the outside of the tank that broke the glass container.  The tanks had a crank outside that would work a rod on the inside of the tank so the water, soda and Acid could be stirred.  This would create a pressure of around 90 pounds.

July 8th 1940 a meeting was held to organize a volunteer fire department after a series of meetings with a group of men and the village board.  The village board seemed to have control of the fire truck.  An agreement was reached on the use of the fire truck and limitations of the fire department.  This meeting seemed to have the forerunner of the present department. At this meeting Wayne Warnsing was elected Fire Chief.

The village board was to pay for the gasoline, oil and general operation expenses.  The newly formed fire department started to plan a way to finance the department in order to build up the firefighting equipment.  They started planning for a cake walk and dance August 30th 1940 was set for the date.  From this venture they cleared $96.38.  There was a 2% tax on all fire insurance premiums paid on residence of the village.  This was turned over to the fire department.  The village had a 1937 Chevrolet truck which was used during W.P.A Times.  The fire department talked them out of the truck at the April 14th 1941 meeting.  The equipment in the Reo truck was transferred over to the Chevrolet truck.

August 28th 1941 meeting, the first bingo game was held at what turned out to be the annual carnival.

March 16th 1942 G.K. Rolofson was elected Fire Chief as Wayne Warnsing was figuring on leaving town.

At the June 8th meeting Wayne Warnsing was again back as fire Chief as he decided to stay in Argenta.

At the May 10th 1943 meeting they voted to purchase a front mounted centrifugal pump with a 200 gallon booster tank at the cost of $443.00.  Charles Gorenflo was paid $62.28 for mounting the pump on the truck.  Hose and nozzle were ordered at a cost of $110.41 and a hose reel for $40.74.

William Evans was elected Fire Chief July 10th 1944. During the summers of 1948 and 1949 the fire department put on free moving pictures for the public.

December 6th 1948 seemed to be the last meeting for the fire department, though some remained active until the present fire district was formed and voted upon.

At the May 9th 1955 meeting, arrangements were made to purchase the lot for the firehouse located on North Street.

At the August 8th 1955 meeting a contract was made with H.T. Ray and Sons to construct the firehouse.

W.F. Evans resigned from the fire department March 9th 1959 and Eric Heinz was appointed to fill the vacancy.  Don Adams was elected tire Chief on June 13th 1960.

December 10th 1962 Dr. Madden and his assistant were present to explain the operation of the Civil Defense radios installed in our fire trucks.

June 28th 1966, a meeting of the trustees was held to order new equipment for the John Bean Equipment Co. to be installed on an International truck.  In June of 1967 a group of firemen were sent to the John Bean plant in Indiana for instructions on fire fighting.

June 12th 1967, Harold Kaufman was elected Fire Chief

January 19th 1969, a special meeting was held in order to buy two new trucks of which I.H.C. were the low bidders.  John Bean equipment was to be installed on each truck consisting of a booster tank, volume pump, for pumping from fire hydrants, also pressure system.

Six firemen were sent to the John Bean plant for schooling.  The fire district belongs to a district of several fire departments of which have signed mutual agreements to assist each other as needed in case of emergency.  The Civil Defense has a tanker available in case of a need for water during a rural fire.

Dates of large fires in Argenta:

East Elevator: August 22nd 1927 at 4:00am

East Elevator: May 25th 1935 at 11:45am

West Elevator: October 8th 1935 at 2:15am

East Elevator: November 3rd 1951 at 8:45PM

Explosion at the East Elevator: April 22nd 1963 at 10:20am

House burns valued at $40,000 on November 13th 1957

Argenta Lumber Yard fire: February 2nd 1951

The Village of Argenta was evacuated in a blast fear: December 20th 1958 as a truck carrying chemicals was on fire in Rt-48 South of Argenta.





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