The original two-bay station that the Harlem-Roscoe Fire district in 1940.

The Harlem-Roscoe Fire Protection District #1 is celebrating 80 years of service throughout 2020.  On April 4th, 1940, the old Roscoe Fire Department became a fire district.

The department strives to lead the pack with extensive training and the latest state-of–the-art gear, and equipment.

Harlem-Roscoe Fire Chief Don Shoevlin reminisces, “It is a surreal feeling to look back in our history and see the progress that has been made over the past 80 years. We have had strong leadership (only 8 Fire Chiefs in our history), members with a vision and commitment, the strong support from Winnebago County, Village Boards that we serve, and the citizens we protect. The success of our Fire District has been driven on the foundation built by its members over the years and will remain that for many years to come. It is an honor for me to serve in the position of Fire Chief for the past 12 years and a small part of the foundation.”

Highlights by decades:

1940’s – Incorporated as a Fire Protection District, had 2-door fire station located at 10670 Main St. in Roscoe. Three Fire Chiefs served, Harry Evans, John Kelly, & George McDonald – Harry was the first.

1950’s – Addition built to fire station, department had three trucks, Cobby Rogers became Fire Chief.

1960’s – Ben Alexander became Fire Chief, Inspection Bureau started.

1970’s – First paramedic in volunteer fire department. First rescue truck. First department to purchase “Jaws of Life”. Second fire station built at 825 Ralston Road.  Pagers were added for notification of volunteers.

1980’s – First true trauma units/ ambulances were purchased. Three Fire Chiefs served, Chief Ben Alexander , Jack Brown, and Oscar Presley. Bunker pants replace rubber hip boots. Training division started. Trucks now had closed cabs and riding on back of trucks was stopped. The Association’s Spring Coon & Ham Dinner had to drop the coon from its menu.

1990’s –  Fire Station Three  was built at 13974 Willowbrook Road,  First in area to purchase Thermal Imaging Cameras.  First aerial truck was purchased, and Station One was moved 10544 Main Street.  Department Photographer. Web site debut and monthly newsletter.

2000’s – Became an Ambulance District. Training Tower and training facility addition, Purchase 3 aerials including two Quints, Fire Chief Oscar Presley retires, new Fire Chief Don Shoevlin. Advanced training directives were incorporated. Larger ambulances and cots, preemptors, and computer mapping and 24 hour in-house dispatching center.

2010’s – All three fire stations received major remodels. Major technology leaps including more use of mobile computers, advanced computer dispatching and fire prevention programs. Fire Prevention, Chaplain and Media Divisions updated. Major advancement and upgrades in medical equipment such as Auto Pulse Resuscitation Systems and state-of-the art defibrillators.

24-hour full-time medical staffing at each fire station. Upgraded all SCBAS and integrated office’s units with thermal imagers. New Zodiac boat and new engine with Ultra High Pressure Foam system.


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