Fire departments in Roscoe and Rockton commemorate Fire Prevention Week


Gabe Born and his pal Blaze entertained visitors at the Rockton Fire Department open house, Oct. 9.

October is the month fire departments across the country traditionally make an effort to remind the public about fire prevention, common causes of fires and how to be safe.

Oct. 9 through 16 has been designated as Fire Protection Week.

A little history about how Fire Prevention Week started:

It was established in 1922 to commemorate the great Chicago fire on Oct. 8, 1871 that killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 homeless.

According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary kicked over a lamp, setting fire to the barn and eventually the whole city.

On the same day, a fire destroyed a swath of Wisconsin forest 10 miles wide and 40 miles long, debilitating the towns of Pestigo and Brussels, Wisconsin. The fire killed about 1,500 people. The fire burned more than 280,000 acres in Oconto, Marinette, Shawano, Brown, Kewaunee, Door, Manitowoc and Outagamie counties. Property loss was estimated conservatively at $5,000,000.

The Rockton Fire Department held an open house on Oct.9. The fire station is located at 201 N. Blackhawk Rd. in Rockton. Most of the 43, mostly volunteer, fire fighters and EMTs were on hand to talk with visitors.

Adults and children toured the station, watched demonstrations, got up close to the 13 fire trucks and vehicles, played games and sampled the hot dogs, cupcakes and drinks.

Kirk Wilson has been Fire Chief since 1984. He was a member of the Harlem-Roscoe Fire Dept. for 25 years before coming to Rockton. He became fire chief 13 years ago.

Rockton Fire Dept. Chief Kirk Wilson greeted visitors at the open house, Sunday, Oct. 9. Visitors enjoyed tours, demonstrations, games and refreshments.

The Harlem-Roscoe Fire District will be celebrating Fire Prevention Week with an open house at 10544 Main St. in Roscoe, on Saturday, Oct. 15., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tours of the station, fire poles, a visit from Sparky the Firehouse Dog, fire extinguisher simulation, sandwiches and refreshments will be available.

The open house will also mark the retirement of Chief Don Shoevlin, who has spent 32 years as a fireman, and 15 years as Roscoe Fire District chief.

Chief Shoevlin will officially retire Dec. 31, 2022.

Residents will have the opportunity to wish the chief a happy retirement and welcome the new chief, Patrick Trollop.

Trollop has been with the fire department for about 10 years, most recently as a battalion chief. He will take over as chief on Jan. 1, 2023.

Trollop plans to keep HRFD moving in a positive direction, focusing on training and education.

State Farm Insurance has taken up the fire prevention cause in locations across the state. The campaign works to educate the public about simple and important actions to take to keep homes and occupants safe.

Every day, seven people die in home fires. The homes are usually without working smoke alarms.

Rockton Fire Department EMT and firefighter Thea Melcher showed two young future firefights how emergency equipment is used by Rockton EMT personnel.

That’s why State Farm agents Mike Frank and Erik Abrahamsen want to be involved. The agency is located at 5290 Williams Dr. in Roscoe. Frank and Abrahamsen will be delivering safety kits this month to their local fire stations to help spread the word about protecting homes against common causes of house fires.

Jim Blevins State Farm, 10684 Main St in Roscoe, is also donating fire prevention materials from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Fire fighters not only fight fires, they regularly visit schools and organizations to make children and adults aware of safety precautions and what to do in case of a fire.

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