Earliest records reveal that Kewaunee’s first Fire Department was organized on March 20, 1870. The department consisted of two groups called Fire Company No. 1 and Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. Equipment used by the firemen at the time were buckets, axes, shovels and ladders. That same year, the City of Kewaunee purchased a used “Hand Tub” pumping engine from the City of Milwaukee.
The “Hand-Tub” was built as the #266 in 1845 by W.C. Hunneman & Co. of Boston. In 1884 a new hand fire engine arrived from New York. In 1898 both volunteer organizations, the Fire Company and the Hook and Ladder Company of Kewaunee, sent notice to the common council of being dissolved, leaving the city without any organization to man the fire apparatus in the event of fire. The mayor appointed thirty able bodied men to act as a temporary fire department. The city quickly authorized the purchase of a new American Steam Fire Engine from New York, followed by an ordinance establishing and regulating the Kewaunee Fire Department.
Today, the fire department has grown with manpower and equipment to offer fire protection to a 60 square mile area in Kewaunee County, with an average population of approximately 5000 people. The fire protection territory includes the City of Kewaunee, Townships of West Kewaunee, Pierce, Casco and the Kewaunee Power Station. The fire department has eight pieces of motorized fire apparatus available and 38 firefighters who carry radio pagers to be notified in the case of a fire.
The fire department museum is a newly constructed building show piece where historical antique fire apparatus is on display. Fire department history is available for public viewing as wall mounted pictures, antique fire apparatus and equipment are there to see. Taking us back into time is the actual 1845 “Hand-Tub” pumping engine purchased from the City of Milwaukee, the original 1884 hand pumper, a 1908 hand drawn wheeled Hose Cart, and a 1927 American LaFrance pumping engine, still in working condition.