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Article updated: 1/15/2013 3:02 PM

Fire department celebrates 100 years in Lombard

By Marie Wilson

The Lombard Fire Department has come a long way -- and extinguished a lot of fires -- since it was formed in 1913.

Faces from the past helped current employees celebrate their history during a celebration Jan. 3, exactly 100 years after the department held its first meeting.

The first "fire shed" on Lake Street at Charlotte Street has been replaced by Fire Station 1, which is in about the same location on what now is called St. Charles Road.

The first piece of fire equipment, a two-wheeled hose reel firefighters pulled themselves, has been replaced many times over by more modern vehicles, including a horse-drawn model purchased in 1913 with $10 assessed from each of the fire department's 16 original members.

Fire Chief Paul DiRienzo, who rose to the department's top spot in September 2012, said the centennial celebration was complete with historical fire helmets, badges and photos, and the opening of a 25-year-old time capsule buried when Station 1 was built.

"We had many artifacts to put on display that people donated," DiRienzo said.

Former chiefs Jack Jones, who served from 1963-79, and Mike Torrence, who led the department from 2010 to January 2012, were among those in attendance.

DiRienzo said Jones discussed the "old days" when "a siren mounted on top of the fire station would notify members initially that something was going on."

As the department begins its next 100 years, the contents of the time capsule will be reburied so they can age even further, and the Lombard Historical Society will display an exhibit of fire department artifacts throughout the year.

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