Department Marks a Century of Professional Firefighting

Monday, June 30, 2008 - 6:07am

July 1, 2008 marks an historic milestone for the City of Madison Fire Department. On that date 100 years ago, the City saw the birth of its first fully paid career fire department.

For the 70 years leading up to that moment, the Department evolved through numerous volunteer crews and reorganizations.

To celebrate the occasion, Fire Chief Debra Amesqua has commissioned a commemorative lapel pin fashioned after the insignia worn by firefighters when the Department began."The fire service takes great pride in its history and its volunteer origins," Amesqua said. "The many individuals who recognized the need and stepped in to fill it deserve our gratitude. And the best thanks we can offer, both in honoring the legacy of those early volunteers and firefighters throughout our history, is to continue to improve our processes to ensure that all firefighters return home alive and well at the end of each shift.

"Just last week, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Fighters joined forces to mark Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week. As part of that event, Fire Fighters Local 311 president Joe Conway and I asked all personnel to re-commit to a culture of health and safety.

"Though firefighting remains an inherently dangerous profession, the transition to a fully paid career Department 100 years ago was a huge step in managing that danger, providing the City with better equipped and better trained firefighters.

"A century of career service has also resulted in additional emphasis on prevention through education, engineering and enforcement.

"Safety for firefighters and the community remains our commitment today, informing every decision the Command Staff makes."


  • Lori Wirth, PIO608-266-5947
  • Community Education Unit608-266-4709