Fire Protection District
Our family protecting yours.....since 1931
In 1836, settlers would arrive to the area and build their first home about 3 ½ miles northeast of the current village. After the small community of Henpeck began to grow, the settlers realized they needed to be closer to the Chicago-Pacific Railroad in order for the town to grow.
After the move to what is now the village, the community began to experience growing pains such as a lack of fire protection. There were numerous fires over the next couple of years that would devastate many homes and businesses. In 1920, a fire completely destroyed the J.F. Farney Bakery, which was located near where the Rose Garden Restaurant is today. Afterwards, there was a push for a fire department, but it never took hold.
On Sunday September 9, 1929, a fire broke out downtown Hampshire that would that would change the course of history. The fire started in the back of the Hampshire Market, which is where Dreymiller & Kray is today. Coincidently, the village water pump had been broken and was in the process of being repairs, so there was no water.
The Elgin Fire Department would refuse to respond and assist the Village of Hampshire. Help would eventually come from the Sycamore Fire Department and the Genoa-Kingston Fire Protection District. The fire would inevitably burn from where Chiro-One Chiropractors is, down to Randy’s Gas Pumps on Rinn Avenue. The villagers would form bucket brigades to help protect other nearby structures.
In the end, nine buildings had been destroyed causing over $50,000 in damage at the time. People from the village got together to help form a fire department. Equipment was obtained and was stored where the current village hall sits. The first piece of apparatus was purchased for $3,200 and was a Peter Pirsch Combination Pumper with a booster tank and hose. In February of 1931, the fire department would become official.
In 1961, the Hampshire Fire Department would become a Fire District which would allow for the levy of taxes and move them to a compensated entity. In 1962, the first tax funds were received and were used to build the current fire station at 202 Washington Avenue.
On August 1, 1974 the District began providing emergency medical services. The first female to join the District was Laura Ulrich in the 1980’s. Kathleen Randecker was hired in 1992 as the first full-time paramedic of the District. In June of 1995, Trevor Herrmann was hired as the first full-time firefighter / paramedic.
The station would be staffed Monday-Saturday from 0500 – 1820 hours. In the evenings and on Sundays, firefighters would respond from home using an “on-call” schedule. On January 21, 2007, the District would switch to staffing the fire station 24 hours a day.
1931 - 1948
Herman N. Petersen
1948 - 1961
1961 - 1975
1975 - 1981
1981 - 1995
1995 - 2004
2004 - 2012
2012 - 2020
2020 - Present
Chief Ernest Gustafson
Chief Herman N. Petersen
John W. Herrmann
Herbert G. Warrington
Severin “Sev” DuMoulin
Past Fire Chiefs