As Mount Prospect approaches the 100th anniversary of its fire service on Sept. 29, trustees Tuesday honored firefighters with a proclamation. The fire service predates the village's incorporation in 1917 by a few years.
On Nov. 14, 1914, C.D. Busse was elected the first fire chief, and in 1936, with the assistance of Chief Frank Biermann, the Mount Prospect Rural Fire League was organized to handle the rural areas.
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In 1956, Edwin Haberkamp was hired as the first full-time fire chief, while in 1960 two full-time firefighters were hired.
As Mount Prospect's population grew, the village saw the completion of Station No. 2 at 1601 W. Golf Road in 1964, the Public Safety Building at 112 E. Northwest Hwy. in 1993 and in 2010 the completion of the newly rebuilt Fire Station No. 3 at 2000 E. Kensington Road.
The village also forged relationships with other departments, helping to form Division One of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) in 1970. In 1971, the department took over fire protection for the Forest River Fire Protection District.
All of these accomplishments were noted in the proclamation. John Malcolm, Mount Prospect's fifth fire chief, presented commemorative badges to trustees.
He said that from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, the department will be hosting an open house at the public safety building where it will show off historic fire equipment, including the hand pumper it bought in 1914 from Niles Center for $60 and used until 1932.
The pumper in 2010 was restored by Skokie Fire Department Lt. Ron Smith under a 10-year agreement which has it on display most times at the Skokie Heritage Museum, which is housed in a historic engine house. "What a beautiful job he did on it," Malcolm said.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, the department will host a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children 6 to 12, and free for younger children. Proceeds benefit education and fire safety training.
Village President Arlene Juracek pointed out that the department was founded in the village's historic Central School building, which a few years ago was moved to its current location next to the historical museum so that it can be preserved.
Trustee Richard Rogers related his personal experience with the department.
"I have had you come out to my own home, when my mother-in-law was ill," he said. She was transported to the hospital, he said. "You did the same for my daughter when she was ill. And that was a life-and-death situation. You guys do such a fantastic job. And you make it look so easy."