The Waterloo Fire Department was organized on January 8th, 1887 and consisted of a hose company, an engine company, a hook and ladder company & a supply company. The department officers consisted of a Chief, Assistant Chief, President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Each of the four companies were under the direct supervision of a Foreman and Assistant Foreman, they started out with 66 members. Today we operate with about 50 members; some of them are both Fire Fighters and EMT’s.
The first fire station was located on Madison Street, where the present day Neitzel Hardware is located. This fire station was located there until 1899, when a new fire station was built. That station was located on East Madison Street next to what is now Stubby’s Bowl & bordering the Maunesha River. It was both the Fire Station and City Hall, complete with a jail.
In 1905 the firemen built the Waterloo Firemen’s Park; the park had a baseball field, a pavilion, restrooms, and eventually a Carousel. In 1984 the City of Waterloo bought the Park from the Firemen. The Fire Department then essentially became two separate entities. One was the active members who responded to calls and the other the Firemen's Park Board who managed the park operations. For years the Fire Department operated the Fireman's Park Board and the active members along with retired members and community members volunteered their time to maintain and run the park. In 2016 the City of Waterloo took over Fireman's Park management under their newly formed Parks Commission.
In 1963 a new Fire Station, City Hall and Police Station building was built. The Fire Station had three apparatus bays, a meeting room, kitchen, radio room, and an area for the fireman to relax after a calls. This Fire Station was located on North Monroe Street, on the site of the present day City Hall. In 1964 a Federal Fire Siren was installed, it sounded to alert firemen to respond to the station for a fire call.
In 1945 the Waterloo Fire Department purchased a Resuscitator Unit to be used by trained members of the fire department, this was the harbinger of the great EMS service to come. As ambulance rules changed in the Sate of Wisconsin, the EMS division of the Fire Department was started in 1966 with the building of and ambulance. The ambulance crew started with 10 fire members under the medical direction of Dr. John Garman who trained the EMS members for emergency response. The Waterloo Fire Department was the second fire department in the state of Wisconsin to have a fire department based EMS service. In 1992 Benjamin Schmidt, MD took over as Medical Director propelling our EMS to higher levels and modern techniques. Tragically, we lost Dr. Schmidt on Sept. 7th 2009 to a farming accident. Today we operate under the medical direction of Dr. Edward Foster.
In 1998 the Waterloo Fire Department moved to the current station located on the East side of Waterloo, in the industrial park. We have five apparatus bays, a communication room, ready room, meeting/kitchen area and sleeping quarters. We also included offices for all officers and full time staff. Then to complete our station we included a mezzanine with a weight and exercise area, a hose drying room that also has an air compressor refill station for our SCBA’s, an EMS Supply Room, and a mechanics room. Outside we have a training tower, burn/search and rescue simulators, and smoke house.
The Waterloo Fire Department installs and maintains Lifeline phones in the Waterloo area, promote public education, offer CPR classes, fire safety education, car seat installation and checks and other community related programs.