Fire Dept. Was Organized in August 1894
Rushville's Most Disastrous Fire Was in Jan. 1924

The Rushville Times
October 7, 1948

In National Fire Prevention week, and in connection with the old time stories being printed in this Centennial Edition of The Times, it is appropriate to make mention of the organization of the city's volunteer fire department.

This department was organized on August 21, 1884, with 20 members, and a picture, taken a few years later, showing the old horse-drawn house cart, is printed in this edition.

In the first organization H. B. Roach was elected president, William Frizzell secretary, Thomas Noble treasurer, and William Kistler foreman. Members were Arthur Parrott, George Mead, John Branstool, James Denny, James Rippetoe, Edward Beatty, Pulaski Day, Harry N. Frizzell, Ralph B. Easley, Rollo Peters, John Dodge, Herb Foote, Otto Angell, Bert Dennis, and Asa Finch.

Soon after the organization the town board ordered 500 feet of three-inch hose and a hose cart. On several occasions of practice drills, a stream of water was thrown to the top of the court house, and with the full pump pressure on, the stream shot up above the clock in the tower, which was a convincing test then that Rushville had fire protection.

Built Waterworks In 1894

It was in that same year of 1894 that the city's first waterworks plant was completed and accepted by members of the town board on August 14. A bond issue of $17,000 was voted and the present water tower was built at that time, along with a pumping plant. This tank is 100 feet high and holds 115,000 gallons. A total of 18,328 feet of water mains were laid to complete the system.

Rushville has had several disastrous fires in its history, the worst of which was the night of January 4, 1924, when several buildings on the north side of the square, including the Bank of Rushville, were destroyed by flames, and five persons were killed. The five who lost their lives in this fire were John Stover, Elmo Byrns, Raymond Briggs, Maurice McFeeters, and George T. Purcell.

A little more than a year later, on March 15, 1925, Rushville had another disastrous fire that wrecked the George Little three-story building on the northwest corner of the square, along with two other adjoining buildings. Property lose was estimated at $140,000.

The largest recent fire was in February, 1945, when the Hotel Schuyler building was burned with two adjoining buildings, causing an estimated property loss of $125,000.

West Side Has Escaped

In earlier days there were disastrous fires, one on the south side of the square in 1882, one on the north side in 1884, and one on the east die in 1892. Only the west side has escaped the ravages of fire.

Since the big fires in 1924 and 1925 Rushville has greatly improved her fire-fighting equipment, which includes two modern pumpers, one of which is owned by the Rural Fire association and which answers calls to the country for all members. The complete list of members of the present day fire department is given in an ad in this issue of The Times, where several business houses are co-operating with announcements in support of National Fire Prevention week.

Your Rushville Fire Department:

Wayne Rinehart, President
Vail Foster, Fire Chief
William Edwards, Secretary

John Keeney
Karl Strong
James Strong
Willard Greer
James Kelly
Kenneth Toland
A. E. Rebman
Glen Knous
Harold Beck
Fred Edwards
Roy Schieferdecker
Sterling Swearingen

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