The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

February 1, 2013

Clinton Fire Department: A walk through time

CLINTON — In a few years the Clinton Fire Department will celebrate 125 years in existence with little to show for it in the way of artifacts. It’s a deficiency Fire Chief Mike Brown and Battalion Chief Creighton Regenwether hope to end with the help of the community.

Brown and Regenwether plan to turn the former secretary area at Central Fire into a room filled with historic memorabilia. Regenwether even created a two-tier wooden display case to exhibit the fire department’s relics. The space would become the starting point for tours, but would also fulfill a need within the fire department.

“Unless you understand where you’ve been, how can you move forward?” Brown asked.  

A number of fire department items are on the display at the Clinton County Historical Society, and the department has a few items such as an old alarm box that used to alert the department of a fire before the days of 911 and the record book of every firefighter that has ever served in the department. Beyond these items, department officials believe an abundance of artifacts could be floating somewhere in the community unbeknownst to them.

Even the fire department’s original charter has eluded the department’s officials.

Brown asks residents who have an artifact or know someone who does to help support the mission to create a historical display by donating or lending them to the fire department.

Specifically Brown said he would like to see old helmets, coats, uniforms, badges and old nozzles, but would appreciate any historical item. He would also like to see old photos that highlight the department’s past and potentially get a computer running that would display videos and other written artifacts during tours.

While Brown and Creighton can remember the past based on stories from former firefighters, they would like to have the physical remnants.

“The badges used to have a one, two, three or a four on them depending on the station. We don’t have any of those,” Brown said.

They hope to learn about the past too far removed for Brown’s 26 years of experience or Regenwether’s 33 such as the time when horses were still vital to ferrying the firefighters to a scene.  

“We have to remember,” Regenwether said. “There’s probably stuff out there that I wouldn’t even know.”

Currently all the firefighters are making trips to the historical society to see the items that exist and get a sense of how far firefighting in Clinton has come. Soon department officials hope they will be able to reflect on the history within their own four walls, but advise they won’t be able to without the help of the community.

“I just think it’s only fair for somebody to get this stuff together,” Brown said. “It’s part of the department’s history.  It’s part of Clinton’s history.”

1
Text Only
Top News
  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

    The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

    April 17, 2014

  • Defend 'Obamacare' unabashedly, some Democrats say

    With enrollments higher than expected, and costs lower, some Democrats say it's time to stop hiding from the president's health care overhaul, even in this year's toughest Senate elections.

    Republicans practically dare Democrats to embrace "Obamacare," the GOP's favorite target in most congressional campaigns. Yet pro-Democratic activists in Alaska are doing just that, and a number of strategists elsewhere hope it will spread.

    April 17, 2014

  • Search for Chicago site for George Lucas museum

    As Yoda might say: A site for a museum you must find.

    Those are the marching orders Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving a dozen civic leaders as the city searches for a potential location for an interactive museum to house filmmaker George Lucas' collection of art and filmmaking memorabilia.

    April 17, 2014

  • Illinois unemployment drops to 5-year-low

    State officials say unemployment in Illinois dropped in March to 8.4 percent. That's its lowest level since 2009.

    April 17, 2014

  • Gaming commission rejects Cedar Rapids casino

    The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission rejected a proposed $164 million Cedar Rapids casino Thursday, saying it would hurt existing casinos.

    Supporters of the Cedar Crossing Casino development have said it would give an economic boost to Cedar Rapids and the region. They also argued it would be a catalyst for development in an area ravaged by a 2008 flood, create jobs and generate millions for tax revenue and charities.

    April 17, 2014

  • Iowa Senate race suddenly more competitive

    A catchy political ad and a gotcha video have raised Republican hopes of capturing the Senate seat in Iowa, a prospect that would greatly enhance the party's chances of regaining control of the Senate.

    Republicans are adding the seat, held for three decades by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, to their list of winnable races in the November midterm elections.

    April 17, 2014

  • Evacuation came too late for many on sinking ferry

    An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday.

    Meanwhile, the coast guard said it was investigating whether the ferry's captain was one of the first ones off the sinking ship.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video