Since 1901, the New Germany Fire Department has provided service, loyalty, and protection to the city of New Germany, as well as the surrounding townships of Camden and Hollywood.
The volunteer department currently has 18 active members (those who are firefighters and first responders), and six rescue reserve members (those who are available during the day and can be either first responders, firefighters, or both).
Active members, listed by seniority, are as follows:
- Eric Roepke
- Ryan Goede, Chief
- Dan Mielke
- Travis Kubasch
- John Lenarz, 2nd Captain
- Ria Roland
- Craig Kahle, 1st Captain
- Cole Midthun, 3rd Captain
- Jacob Floer
- Nick Erickson
- Alex Kurtz, Secretary
- Jacob Kemnitz
- Dan DeRusha
- Dustin O’Brien
- Jon Heitz
- Devin Lilienthal
- Christopher Barlau, Asst Chief
- Dane Wagner
- Jerry Goede
- Paul Roepke
- Mary Fillbrandt
- Chris Rademacher
- Bruce Fillbrandt
- Steve Van Lith
“These volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; it’s a huge commitment. Anyone who lives or works within the fire protection zone served by the department is eligible to volunteer for membership. Physical and other requirements must be met. Contact any fire department officer for more information on joining this honorable crew.
Intense training is an important part of being a firefighter. All members of the department participate in regular ongoing training in a variety of areas. The department conducts one training meeting every month, and in addition to this, members participate in classes and training events throughout the year.
One of the goals of the department is to make sure firefighters are always prepared to deal with the situations they may encounter. Today, training is more important than ever because the nature of fire fighting has evolved over the years.
Equipment to fight fires has also evolved, and this is another reason that ongoing training is vital. Firefighters must be comfortable with and understand the equipment before they are called upon to use it at a fire scene.
In 2022, the Fire Department ordered a new tanker, with supply and demand issues looking at a 2024 delivery date. The Fire Department is always updating radio communications in the department and will continue to update communication equipment in the future years.
Other pieces of equipment that were updated over the past few years are; an automated external defibrillator (AED) – a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and, if necessary, delivers an electric shock – and an AutoPulse, designed to perform CPR chest compressions automatically.
The annual Fire Department Ball Tournament is always the first weekend in August. Proceeds will be donated to the City of New Germany for the fire department retirement fund. Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact any member of the fire department.
New Germany Fire Department past chiefs are the following: Conrad Neustel, 1902; JJ Schlecter, 1903-1907; Albert Groenke, 1908-1910; HD Mielke/Wm. Stender, 1911; Wm. Stender/Albert Groenke, 1912-1916; Wm. Stender, 1917-1919; Fred Hein, 1920; Gust Lohrke, 1921-1922; Fred Hein, 1923-1924; Oscar Trittabaugh, 1925; Hy Steinke, 1925; Herman Roepke, 1926-1933; Herman Briesemeister, 1934; Herman Roepke, 1935-1945; Albert Lueck, 1946; Louis Mielke, 1947; Ralph Stahlke, 1948-1965; Viron Roepke, 1965-1967; Harlan Wolter, 1968-1991; Steve Van Lith, 1991-2003; Bruce Fillbrandt, 2004; Steve VanLith, 2005-2012; Daniel Ruschmeier, 2013-2022.