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Station 1 - Headquarters

120 E. Prairie Street, Marengo, IL 60152 Non Emergency 1-815-568-8912

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Back To The Roots of 1883

  • Not until 1883 did Marengo have an organized method of fighting fire. In that year, on October 29, the Marengo Fire Corps was organized by H.B. Smith, J. Temple and A. W. Kelley, with charter members of the corps numbering 52.
  • The city at this time purchased to chemical engines, which were pulled with ropes, at an expense of $1800. The engines were under the control of the fire corps whose duty it was to keep them in good working order and place them on the grounds ready for action as soon as possible after the alarm of fire was given.
  • A fire-limit ordinance was adopted by the city on September 25, 1883, which set the limits as “being between Railroad and Main streets and between Taylor and Ann streets extending to Railroad street.”
  • Twelve rubber fire buckets were purchased for the use of the fire company in November, 1883.

Get Supply Tank  

  • The committee on fire apparatus was instructed to provide suitable water supply tank for the engines on December 7, 1889.’’

One-Horse Engine

  • It was voted on December 21, 1897, that the city make a proposition to the Fire Extinguisher Manufacturing Co. to exchange the two old chemical engines for a one horse engine. On the first of March in the following year, 1898, it was voted that the second chemical engine bellowing to the city be changed from a hand to a horse machine at the expense of $25.00.
  • The committee on police and fire was instructed on June 27, 1905, to lease a building for storing the fire department apparatus, to be erected in the east part of Mrs. Rider’s property on Prairie street providing they could do for a cost not exceeding $100.00 per year for land and building.

Install Alarm System

  • It was agreed on December, 19, 1905, to accept the proposition of the Ganwell Fire Alarm Telegraph Co. for installing a fire alarm system in the city of Marengo for the sum of $350.00.
  • On September 19, 1911, in consideration of the building and construction of the water main system in the city, the Public Service Co. agreed to install a suitable fire alarm whistle at the power house and connect it with the Public Service Co. power house. The whistle was to be maintained without expense to the city until the first of January 1922.
  • The city purchased 500 feet of hose on August 1, 1916.
  • Rubber boots and coats for the use of the firemen were purchased on January 1, 1918.
  • A Ford-Boyer triple combination fire engine was bought from the Boyer Fire Apparatus Co. of Logansport, Ind., on April 30, 1929.
  • The fire committee was instructed to purchase a new hose for the special purpose of cleaning sewers in August 1929.
  • Collision, property damage, and public liability insurance was taken out on the Marengo Fire truck on July 2, 1930. At this same time the Fire Marshall was instructed to see that proper fees were collected and turned into the city treasury for all country fires among non-members, where the city fire truck was used.
  • Seven raincoats for the fire department were purchased in April 1932.
  • The fire department was instructed not to attend a country fire unless the owner of the farm at which the fire occurs has a fire department clause attached to his fire policy or is a member in good standing of the Marengo Fire Truck Association.
  • On November 7, 1933, the city paid $25.00 toward the erecting of a fire whistle tower on the city hall.



The Marengo Rescue Squad was established and in service on July 12, 1961.

The Charter Members of the Marengo Rescue Squad were:

Noel Lambert Bill Shielbergen
Denzel Thompson Ronald Davis
John Lockhart Tony Mack
Paul Bower David Nelson
Maynard St. Clair Joseph Havens
Dennis Madaus Gordon Lee
  • Spring 1960 - The Jaycees of Marengo formed a committee to investigate the idea of the Marengo community having an emergency rescue squad. The Jaycees met with Walworth, Wisconsin and Harvard, Illinois rescue squad to gather information. From this information, the Marengo Rescue Squad was formed.​
  • July 1960 - F.W. Means and Company donated a clean-towel truck to the Marengo Rescue Squad to serve as its first rescue vehicle; the members reworked and altered this truck into the emergency rescue vehicle. This was done at the sight of Arnold Engineering. Materials and equipment for this conversion were donated by Arnold’s. The community donated money and equipment with a few examples; International Associates of Machinists #1832, $200; Moose Lodge, Harvard and Woodstock, $200; and the Marengo Grange, $140. The Marengo V.F.W. purchased an E & J Resuscitator for $683; the American Legion donated monies and the use of the Legion Home for fundraisers. The Lions held $1.25 plate dinner for men’s night; children sold Kool-Aid, and individual donations made up the rest.
  • July 12, 1961- First official day of emergency rescue, the members wore white coveralls and red coats and white hard hats. Ten of the charter members worked at Arnold Engineering and responded to calls during their working day.​ At this time, the Marengo Rescue Squad was a member of MARS and Redi Association which was comprised of 16 emergency units throughout the county. The men were independent units under the Police Department. The emergency telephone number for the Marengo Rescue Squad was 568-8333 and was housed at Kelly Bros. Garage, Chevy/Olds Dealership at the corner of Rts. 20 & 23. The Jaycees distributed phone stickers with the emergency phone numbers of the Marengo Rescue Squad, Marengo Police Department, and Marengo Fire Department to the Marengo/Union population. Emergency calls were received and answered by the two funeral homes in Marengo, Cooper Funeral Home and Osborne Funeral Home, and dispatched from these locations. Squad members responded by siren and a conference telephone line which was a solid ring to alert the members of a call and the location of the call. Rescue vehicles and members communicated by CB radio.​
  • September 1962 - The Marengo Rescue Squad moved into the Marengo City Building at the corner of Rts. 176 & 23, in Marengo.
  • October 1965 - The Marengo Rescue Squad purchased a new rescue rig from Gertenslager and Co. of Wooster, Ohio. This rig had the capacity to carry 6 stretchers. The vehicle was 11 feet high and was tall enough to allow members to stand up inside of it. A change was made from CB radios to a 100-watt FM radio using the police frequency. A carnival was planned to help pay for the vehicle and the balance was from donations from the community. Ambulances were used from Osborne and Cooper Funeral homes.​
  • 1972 - Marengo Rescue Squad switched from using station wagon-type ambulances to raised van-type ambulances.​
  • 1972 - The start of the Illinois EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians). Members attended classes, at the college, for 130 hours of classroom instructions and then attended the hospital for 20 hours of emergency room time. All members had to pass the State of Illinois testing.
  • 1975 - Start of the 911 system.​
  • 1976 - Start of EMT II (Paramedic) program. Requirements were EMT I plus 500 hours of classroom instructions and State of Illinois testing. With this program came drugs and Life Pack (cardiac monitor). In 1976, Marengo Rescue Squad had 2 ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulances and in 1978, 1 more was added for a total of 3.​
  • 1981 - Life-Line State Helicopter Service Emergency Transportation was put into service and was housed at St. Anthony Hospital in Rockford.
  • 1985 - Started replacing van-type ambulances with modules; in comparison the 1978 van-type ambulance cost $30,000 and the 1994 modular ambulance cost $94,000 unequipped.​
  • 1987 - Flight For Life helicopter went into service. It was housed at the McHenry Hospital and was staffed with 1 pilot, 1 flight nurse, and 1 paramedic.​
  • React helicopter went into service. It was housed at Rockford airport and was staffed with 1 pilot, 1 flight nurse, and 1 paramedic.​
  • 1990 - Bill 1297 of the State of Illinois was put to a community vote in the fall of 1990 and was passed so the Marengo Rescue Squad District could be formed and receive taxing money.​
  • 1991 - Marengo Rescue Squad District was formed.​
  • 1992 - First taxing money, in the amount of $176,000, was received in August.​
  • March 1993 - Start of P.O.P. (Paid on Premises) program. Hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with 1 EMT I and 1 EMT II being stationed at the rescue squad quarters to immediately respond to an emergency call. Until this time, no monies were received by any of the rescue squad members. When not on a call, the P.O.P.'s perform various tasks and vehicle inspections. This program relieved employees from leaving their jobs to respond to a call with the exceptions of automobile accidents (10-50’s), fire calls, back-to-back calls and multiple calls.
  • Marengo Rescue Squad went from white coveralls to blue. These new coveralls have reflective tape and are made of the fire retardant material.
  • 1998 - The building was purchased.​
  • 1999 - First Mock Prom Crash​
  • 2002 - P.O.P. was changed to 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. P.O.C. (paid on call) 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. Outside P.O.P’s fill open shifts when needed.
  • May 2007 The Marengo Rescue Squad District Board of Trustees hired the District’s first full time Chief. They also approved the hiring of a Deputy Chief, Captain, and (2) Lieutenants. These officers’s worked shifts of 24 hours on and 48 hours off.
  • 2008 - MRSD applied for and received an AFG grant from FEMA for $146,509 for Personal Protection Gear, (4) 12 lead EKG monitors, and a station Vehicle Exhaust Removal System.​
  • A “Jump Company” was formed with Marengo Fire Protection District utilizing employees from both districts. Employees that are crossed trained can “jump” from Rescue to Fire and from Fire to Rescue if needed to assist on Rescue or Fire calls. This enables each department to have better coverage for all emergencies.​
  • To better serve our community, 24 hour shift personnel were hired. Shifts are the standard Red, Gold and Black working 24 hours on and 48 hours off. The remainder of the openings is covered by POP personnel.​
  • 2012 - Marengo Rescue Squad District and Marengo Fire Protection District jointly purchased 13 acres on Coral Road, Marengo, for a future station.


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Station #1 / Headquarters

120 E. Prairie Street
Marengo, IL 60152

Non Emergency 1-815-568-8912

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