History

The Swansea Fire Department was organized in 1940. Prior to 1940 fire protection in Swansea was provided by the Belleville Fire Department. On Halloween 1939 a house belonging to Hugo Gunia, who lived on Duncan St. caught fire. The Belleville Fire Department refused to respond, and the house burnt to the ground. Shortly after this incident, Mayor Edward Davis went to Central Fire Equipment in St. Louis, and bought the Village a fire truck. The Mayor did this on his own without board approval, and no funds to pay for the truck! We now had a truck but no fire department or firehouse. January 1940 the first organizatioal meeting of the Swansea Volunteer Fire Department No. 1 was held at Hepp's Service Station on North Illinois Street. The new fire truck was also stored there. At the second meeting in January Elba Waller was elected the first Fire Chief. Within the next year, 2 seperate bond issues were on the ballot to pay for the fire truck and build a firehouse. The first bond issue failed! The second however did pass and the firehouse was constructed next to the Village Hall located at Illinois and Brackett St .Irvin Hieneman was a brick contractor who lived on Brackett St. He donated all of the labor for the brick work at the firehouse. Used bricks were used and a number of the fireman on the department, cleaned and scraped the bricks in their spare time. Fire Calls were first dispatched from Tribout"s Tavern accros the street from the firehouse. Later, Chief Walter "RED " Luehder dispatched calls from his home, as did Melvin "Curly" Klein. Brede Brewer was the last fire department dispatcher before the calls were answered by St. Clair County Civil Defense. Today all emergency calls are answered by our own Police and Fire Dispatch Center located at 1400 North Illinois St. Over the years as the Village of Swansea grew so did the fire department. Engine house 1 at 1350 North Illinois St. became our home in 1983. In 2005 Engine house 2 at 144 Huntwood Road was constructed to cover the Village's Northern, Eastern and Western expansion.