Fire & Rescue

The Valders Fire Department was organized in 1918 and started operations with a hand-drawn chemical engine. The first truck was housed in the blacksmith shop on Washington Street, which was operated by Arthur Thiel, the fire chief. The first truck the Fire Department owned was a 1921 Ford Model T pumper truck.

In October 1928, the department was reorganized and headed by Arthur Thiel as fire cheif. A new pumper truck was also purchased. A universal Nott 400 gallon-per-minute pumper was purchased from the W.S. Nott Co. of Minneapolis, MN. Mr. Thiel served as chief until 1930.

In 1930, Norman Torrison was appointed chief of the department. Under his leadership, a 1954 Ford-Melray 500 gpm pumper truck was purchased to replace the 1934 Ford-Pirsch. In 1967, a Ford-Melray 750 gpm pumper truck was purchased to replace the 1928 Nott, which was retired to use as a parade vehicle. Also under Torrison's leadership, a used tanker truck was purchased to haul water for rural fire fighting, and in the early 1960's radio equipment was installed to give the department complete radio communication and dispatching.

Sometime around 1954 the Valders Volunteer Fire Department, having some difficulty raising funds to pay for equipment approached the Valders Village Board about the village taking over the fire department. The fire department then went from a volunteer department to a municipality-owned department.

Under the direction of Chief Erickson the village purchased a 1959 Chevrolet station wagon which served as the first ambulance/police car. The women's auxiliary ran the ambulance. In 1964, the 1959 station wagon was replaced with a 1964 Ford Station wagon. Chief Erickson served until his retirement in 1969.

In 1969, William Wiegert was appointed fire chief. Under his direction the department expanded their EMS operations. In 1969 they purchased another Chevrolet station wagon, which replaced the 1964 Ford station wagon. It served as the ambulance/police car until 1974, when the department puchased a van-type ambulance, meeting all state and federal criteria. In 1975, a new GMS tanker truck was purchased to replace the existing tanker. In 1977, a new Ford-Pierce diesel-powered 1,000-gpm engine was purchased to replace the 1954 Ford Melray pumper, this being the first diesel-powered pumper in Manitowoc County.

In 1978, the "Jaws of Life" hydraulic rescue tool was purchased, also a first for Manitowoc County. In 1981, a second ambulance, a Ford-Horton modular type was purchased, giving the department two ambulances to better service the surrounding community. In 1989, a new Pierce-Arrow 1,250 gpm engine was purchased to upgrade the department.

In 1991, a new Ford-Lifeline ambulance was purchased to replace the 1974 van-type ambulance. Also in 1991, a GMC Suburban vehicle was purchased to be used as combination rescue and command vehicle.

In 1994, a new Ford-Lifeline Ambulance was purchased to replace the 1981 Ford-Horton Ambulance. In 1999, a 1997 Freightliner tanker was purchased to expand the department, and in 1999 a Ford-Marion F-450 was purchased to replace the Suburban to carry expanding rescue and extrication tools. Chief Wiegert retired in February of 2000.

In 2000 Daniel Esser was appointed Chief. Under his direction the Department purchased a 2000 Ford-Lifeline ambulance to replace the 1991 Ford-Lifeline. In 2005 the department purchased a 2005 Pierce Pumper, to retire the 1977 PierceEngine #31, and a 2005 Ford Med Tech Ambulance to retire the 1994 ambulance unit. Our current list of equipment is listed below.

In 2013 Christopher Dallas was appointed Chief, as Chief Esser stepped down but remains a member of the department.

The firefighters hold training sessions Monday evening and attend various training sessions.

The Valders Fire Department answers an average of 110 fire calls a year, and the ambulance responds to an average of 500 calls per year. The department also provides mutual aid assistance to surrounding area departments. The fire department services 36 square miles with a population of approximately 2,340. The ambulance service serves a territory equal to about 2/3 or 260 square miles of Manitowoc County including the villages of Valders, St. Nazianz, Whitelaw and Reedsville and the towns of Maple Grove, Franklin, Rockland, Cato, Eaton, Liberty and Meeme, with a population totaling over 11,000.

The fire department has grown to a 4-truck organization with 27 volunteers. The ambulance service inaugurated in 1960 has grown to include 2 fully equipped ambulances with 6 full time members and 12 paid members manning the units on a 24-hour community service basis.  In 2007 the ambulance upgraded from an intermediate service to a paramedic level of service.

Please visit the Fire Department and Valders Ambulance websites for more special features and information

The current officers of the Valders Fire Department are:

Fire Chief/Service Director . . . Christopher Dallas . . . 25 years of service
Assistant Chief . . . Brandon Sy . . . 18 years of service
Assistant Chief . . . Robert Ebert . . . 34 years of service
Training Captain . . . Kyle Christiansen . . . 18 years of service
Captain . . . Jeff Tuschel . . . 16 years of service
Captain . . . Ben Behnke . . . 8 years of service
Lieutenant . . . Dylan Hammel . . . 12 years of service
Lieutenant . . . Dustin Hammel . . . 11 years of service
Safety Officer . . . Dan Esser . . . 46 years of service


The fire station and ambulances are located at 103 Eisenhower Street. The department's equipment consists of:

Utility 30 - 2023 Chevy 3500
Engine 33 - 2015 Pierce Engine
Tanker 34 - 1997 Freightliner
Engine 35 - 2005 Pierce Engine
Ambulance 7 - 2022 Crestline
Ambulance 8 - 2009 Horton
Boat 1 - Rescue Zodiac
Reserve Ambulance - 2005 Medtec