Archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Firefighters celebrating birthday

August 22, 2001

Fairmount Township volunteer firefighters are throwing a birthday bash next month, and everyone's invited.

The department, which is the state's oldest township fire department, will celebrate on Sept. 22 and 23rd in Basehor.

The festivities will get under way on Sept. 22 with a barbecue cook-off at 2 p.m. and a community dance from 7 p.m. to midnight. The cook-off will be at Basehor-Linwood High School, and application forms are available at Casey's in Basehor and Tonganoxie, Kelley's restaurant in Basehor and B&J Country Mart in Tonganoxie. The dance will be in Quinlan Hall at the Catholic church at 155th Street and Leavenworth Road in Basehor, with music by Tim Rose.

On Sept. 23, the celebration continues with an antique fire apparatus parade at 1:30 p.m. that will run south on 155th Street from Iron Creek Subdivision to the high school. Apparatus will be on display, along with antique cars, during the afternoon at the high school. And the fire station in Basehor will conduct an open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

According to Doug Metzger, volunteer firefighter, the department got its start when eight area residents gathered one Sunday in September 1951 at the home state Rep. William Denholm, in an effort to convince him to introduce legislation that would allow townships to tax themselves for fire protection. After several hours, Denholm agreed to introduce the legislation, which passed the Kansas House on Tuesday and the Kansas Senate on Wednesday, Metzger said.

"That's how every township and volunteer fire department got started in the state of Kansas," Metzger said.

The following day, a new truck was purchased for $2,500 and it was shipped to Luverne Manufacturing in Luverne, Minn., to be outfitted with firefighting apparatus. That pumper, although unofficially retired, still sits in the Warden station, 158th and Metropolitan.

The eight men who sought Denholm's help were Wilbur Grisham, Bill Lendel, J.R. "Bud" Klamm, Richard Warden, Jerry Oroke, Joe Carney, Frank Eyerly and Bob Van Tuyl.

The department now has 31 active members, eight of whom are first responders, and the department's equipment includes a new 105-foot aerial-pumper. So far this year, the department has responded to 204 emergency calls.

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