Dewittville Volunteer Fire Department
In 1935, 80 Dewittville residents met in the one-room schoolhouse in Dewittville and discussions led to the formation of the Dewittville Fire Department and Ladies Auxilary.
The first piece of equipment was horse drawn pump unit. It was stored in the garage of one member and the horse was in the barn of another member. The department’s first fire truck purchase was a Stutz.
When the Dewittville school merged with the Mayville school, the old schoolhouse became the firehall for Dewittville. It was remodeled, updated, and enlarged to make it more usable.
Over the years new equipment was always needed to fight fires. Some of the purchases were a John Bean high-pressure unit and a 2,000-gallon tanker. 1967 saw the purchase of another fire truck and a Chevy van which was used as a miscellaneous unit. Other purchases were a 750 gpm pumper, a mini pumper and a 1,000 gpm pumper. Storage became a problem, so the high pressure pumper and storage tank were remounted to a 1972 Ford cab and chassis.
In 1992, there were several drowning deaths on the ice of Chautauqua Lake. DFD leased a hovercraft for ice rescue on the lake. It was successfully used for ice rescues and saved lives.
A fund drive was started for the purpose of purchasing a hovercraft. The first Hovercraft was purchased in 1993. A new hovercraft was purchased in 2003. This hovercraft is still in use, today, and has saved at least five lives.
The Ladies Auxilary holds two smorgasbords in the summer. The money raised is used to buy much needed equipment for the firemen. They have purchased cold water rescue suits, two AEDs and other rescue equipment needed by the fire department.
The most recent addition to the department is an 18-foot Edgewater boat. It is used during the warmer months on the lake.
Dewittville Fire Department has answered many fire and rescue calls during the years. One of the most memorable was July 24, 2010.
Dewittville Fire Department was celebrating its 75th anniversary. There was a formal ceremony and a community picnic. The ceremony was moved inside to the truck bay because of threatening weather. After the presentation ceremony, the community began the picnic. The tornado struck. The firemen were called to duty. Members of the community were evacuated to the basement until the all-clear signal was given and then the picnic continued. Much later that evening, the firemen returned to the hall and found the Ladies Auxiliary waiting for them at the firehall to provide them with a much deserved meal.
Dewittville Fire Department serves 400 residents, year-round, This number swells to 5,000-plus during the summer months. Dewittville is proud to serve the community and is always looking for new members.
Don Emhardt, chief
Burl Swanson, first assistant chief
Jason Donato, second assistant chief
Warren Doud, president
Jim Backlas, vice president
Delos Stage, secretary
Vicky Swanson, treasurer
Vince Munson, chairman
Roger Klossner, treasurer
Delos Stage, Ross Munson, Dick Engdahl, Paul Stage, Dick Albanesius, Ray Biekert, Donna Stage, Ray Jones, Dave Nickerson, Tony Donato, David Parker, Bob Perry, Jeff Munson, Dale Albanesius, Vince Munson, Burl Swanson, Fred Humm, Warren Doud, Vicky Swanson, Dale Akin, Jim Backlas, Jason Donato, Don Emhardt, Furlow Francis, Tom Bozak, Mike Lachajzyck
Delos Stage, Ross Munson, Dick Engdahl, Paul Stage, Dick Albanesius, Ray Biekert, Donna Stage, Ray Jones