Odin Fire Department
By David Frimel
The town of Odin was laid out by the Illinois Central Railroad on April 6, 1860. The Fire Department, like all other departments at that time, was nothing but a bucket brigade. In the early 1900’s the first fire fighting pump was a pump on a wagon with handles on both sides that men pumped up and down by hand. It was stored in a shed where the present fire department is today. The first gas-powered truck purchased by the town was a Model-T in 1921. They later bought another used Model-T from Xenia, Illinois. In 1939 they purchased a Chevrolet truck from the Central Fire Truck Company with a 500 gallon tank for $3,750.00. It was "#1". It was delivered at Station Number One on North Main and DeWolf Street in the old telephone company building. The salesman took it down to the Mine Pond to show the department how to pump it. The muffler set up the weeds under it on fire and the truck was burned up. It had to be taken back to St. Louis, MO, to be rebuilt.
The Fire District was formed in 1953 and covered five square miles. That same year the department bought a used gasoline delivery truck and converted it into a tanker truck "#2". Later they sold it and bough an old Ford butane gas deliver truck that held 2,500 gallons of water and labeled it Truck "#3". A Chevrolet panel truck was bought to haul equipment in along with the purchase of a boat and a Jeep truck "#4" which was made into a brush truck. The station at that time was in the old theatre building on South Main until a new station was built in 1963.
In 1958, a new Chevrolet fire truck was bought at a cost of $9,600.00. In 1963 a new brick station was built at a cost of $40,000 and is in use today. In 1977 a new GMC fire truck was bought at the cost of $28,632.85. In 1982 a new truck was purchased and labeled "#5". The old Jeep truck "#4" that was a brush truck was sold to Irvington for $1,200.00 and two regular Jeeps were bought and converted to brush trucks "#6" and "#7".
In 1999 a new Freightliner fire truck was bought by the district for $170,000.00 and in 2007 a new Freightliner fire truck was bought for $230,000.00. The department has been made up of hundreds of volunteers that it would be impossible to name them all without leaving somebody out. Also, so many have had the trustees job that it would be impossible to name them all. When the district was formed it was stated that each trustee was to be paid $500.00 per year and over the 56 years it has been existence no trustee has ever taken any pay which is about $85,000.00 in savings for the district. Two of the biggest fires experienced by the department were the Texico Pump Station, south of town, loss estimated at $3,000,000.00 and Vernon’s Reproductions, estimated loss of $750,000.00.
Odin has had 23 Fire Chiefs. Those appointed by the town board were Pete Ingram, Jack Lusch, N. P. Sloan, Johnny Cox, Shannon Morgan, Walter Baugh, Stanley (Peg) Hawley, Stanton Hawley, Ruben Jackson, Frank Green, Ted Harrell, Dan Fisher, Tommy Harris and Bill Spitler. The following were appointed by the Fire Protection District: Wilburn Ellis, Ward Hawley, Willis Hodge, Mel Burr, David Frimel, Dean Fogerson, Les Rains, Greg Miller, and Greg Smith. Many of the Odin firemen have hundreds of hours of state approved training. The Odin Fire Department now has a Class "A" rating and has been designated as the first responder department.
A special thanks to the taxpayers, the firemen, and their wives for all the ice cream socials and fund raisers they have had raising much needed money for the department.