Just as the city of Norwood Young America began their histories as two seperate cities – Norwood and Young America – the FDNYA also began as two seperate fire departments. Here is a brief history of the department:
The Young America Fire Department
The Young America Fire Department records begin with January 4th, 1894. It had been organized years before, but the records have been lost or destroyed. This first fire equipment consisted of a hand pump, hook and ladder, and hose cart which were drawn by hand. Large cisterns were built from time to time for the water supply.
In the early years, the fire alarms were given by a large bell in the tower of the City Hall and in 1929 the siren was installed. Pagers were purchased in December 1980, eliminating the use of the siren.
In 1903 the first gasoline engine was installed, which was a great improvment over the old hand pump. A new chemical engine was installed in 1923, which was always very effective in putting out small fires and sometimes keeping fires under control when the big engine was moved from one cistern to another.
As time went on, better and more fully equipped trucks were purchased to serve the community in the event of a fire. For many years, the fire vehicles were housed in the back area of the City Hall. In 1959, a block building was built that housed three fire vehicles and contained a small office and storage space. In March of 1979, what is now the FDNYA North Station was built.
For many years that records have been kept, the department had always had a large membership and had also hosted many of the town celebrations such as the 4th of July, many dances and card parties. The Young America Fire Department also began carrying on the celebration of Stiftungsfest, which today is still the oldest continuous celebration in the State of Minnesota.
The Norwood Fire Department
In the early days, the town of Norwood had no organized fire department. When there was a fire, and the horn was blown, everyone grabbed buckets, ran to the fire, formed a “bucket brigade”, and threw water on the fire by hand. Later on, a hand pump was purchased and was used with good results in the Norwood elevator blaze of 1894.
In 1888, a fire hall was built with a village meeting room upstairs. By 1907, the Norwood Fire Department was officially organized, with August Arndt becoming the first Fire Chief of the Norwood Fire Department. The original member list of the department reads as follows:: Adam Stadick, Herman Fruetel, Peter H. Heimkes, H.F.W. Lindert, R.B. Mueller, J.E. Sweeney, J.J. Fahey, A.C. Leistico, Christ Effertz, Herman Heinbockel, H.C. Harms, F.W. Roth, O.A. Mielke, H.W. Mielke, Otto Hartelt, W.G. Fabel, R.J. Rick, Theo Zieper, W.H. Effertz, August Arndt, Peter Kamps, Joseph Braunwarth, H.C. Schmidt, Henry Heinen, Herman Hartelt, Ed Bauermeister, Herman Effertz, August Noll, G.R. Teubert, William Arndt, Adolph Splettstoeser, G. Eickschen, Fred Falk, A.C. Klancke and H.F. Leuders.
The first equipment was a hand pump transported by horses, however in 1907 a gasoline engine was purchased and a cistern built under the hall. The engine was placed on top of the cistern, ready to be connected with instant service.
In 1962, what is now the FDNYA South Station was erected on Elm Street. The building is a combination community hall and fire station. The station originally could house up to five trucks. Later, another door was added to accomodate one additional truck.
On April 1, 1969, the Norwood ambulance was purchased by the Young America, Hamburg and Norwood Fire Departments. It was decided that the ambulance would be operated and maintained by the Norwood Fire Department, however members of all the communities donated towards the purchase of the ambulance.
On January 1, 1997, the cities of Norwood and Young America merged together to form the city of Norwood Young America. Thus, the two departments also merged into one. Bob Kroells was the first Fire Chief of the new department.
The merger of the two departments involved not only combining personnel and equiptment . . . but also procedures, Relief Associations and traditions. The department has continued to streamline the department, so it can best serve the community of Norwood Young America, as well as the surrounding townships.