Brownsdale Volunteer Fire Department


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     In 1937, J.H. Risius and Harold Hartson took a Model “A” truck chassis and purchased a cylindrical 500-gallon tank, mounted it on the truck, installed a pump, connected it to the power take off and added a couple wooden ladders. This became Brownsdale’s first fire truck which was in service until 1948.

     In 1945, Brownsdale Mayor Vietor appointed Richard Tricker as Fire Chief and eight men, who in turn picked eleven more to complete a twenty man department.

     In 1948, enough money had been raised to purchase a 1948 International KB5 and had Minnesota Fire Equipment in Madelia install a pump to the chassis and fire fighting equipment.

     In 1952, a 1000 gallon water tank was built by Harold Pollock and mounted on a used Ford truck. After that a Metro van was added as an equipment truck.

     In 1968, a new GMC was purchased and sent to Tipton Indiana, where a new high pressure John Bean fog nozzle was mounted. Three department members flew to Tipton for two days training. The three men drove the new truck home after the training.

     In 1980, the department purchased a John Bean pumper truck mounted on a Ford Chasis.

     Finally, in 2003 the department purchased the new 2003 Pierce Contender which is in use today.


Fire Chiefs

     The department has been served by many chiefs over the years. The first was J.H. Risius who served until 1945. Risius was followed by, Richard Tricker, Leo Senst, George Donavon, Kenneth Hitzemann, and Mert Jenson.

     After that the department was lead by, Don Foster, Ernest Nelson, Phil Hatten, and Curt Unverzagt. Currently the Fire Chief is David Pike.


Fires of Historical Significance

     On November 4, 1904 a fire started in the H.A Brown machine shop and caused $25,000 worth of damage. The property was left in ashes. Numerous other business were damaged in the fire. They were: Sleeper and Son, Thompson and Skogen Hardware, Rockwell Building, Warren Groceries and H.A. Brown Machine Shop.

     On January 28, 1949 a fire driven by high winds did an estimated $25,000 damage as it leveled three buildings in the Brownsdale business section. The fire started in a warehouse owned by Harold Hartson, produce operator. The fire spread north and leveled a garage owned by Otto Klingsheim and finally spread to the Hartson Produce office and egg handling building.

      On February 8, 1963 a fire destroyed J.H Risius Motor Sales, causing an estimated $47,000 damage. It is believed that the fire was started by an explosion in an overhead gas heater. The fire spread through the building.



      Today the Brownsdale Volunteer Fire Department is a volunteer organization contracted to provide life and property protection from natural and accidental disasters within the City of Brownsdale, Red Rock, and part of Waltham Townships in conjunction with the Brownsdale Firemen's Relief Association.

     Our department is one of only a few in the state of Minnesota to be independent of the City or Townships relying only on it’s contracts for service, fund raising and donations from it’s citizens for it’s day to day operation.