Letter to the Editor: Fire Department Conflicts Are Not Unusual; Political Leadership Can Help

I’m a former Nasewaupee resident and member of the Southern Door Fire Department [SDFD], 1995-2014, and I served as captain of the department, 2007-14. I was shocked to read the story in the Peninsula Pulse recently [“Nasewaupee Residents Urge Board to Leave Southern Door Fire Department,” April 29 issue]. 

Apparently the SDFD is in turmoil – again – and once again, the Town of Nasewaupee is considering pulling out of the department. Even though Nasewaupee has the largest population, is largest in square miles, has the highest property value, and probably has the highest call volume of the municipalities making up the SDFD, somehow it’s viewed that their township isn’t getting a fair shake. It’s just like rewatching a bad movie from years ago.

My father was fire chief for Brussels-Union-Gardner (BUG) for 18 years (January 1990 – December 2007), and he joined BUG when it formed in 1967. During parts of his tenure, there was much turmoil that always seemed to boil down to personality conflicts rather than actual poor decisions being made by those in charge. 

Upgrading facilities and equipment was discussed near the end of Dad’s time in charge, but getting everyone to agree was difficult. Now that department has made upgrades to both stations and should be proud of the facilities and equipment they have for many years to come. I had a “unique perspective” back then and am looking from that “perspective” once again.

When I left Door County in 2014, I joined a new department (Denmark Fire and Montpelier emergency services), but I have remained in contact with some of my old crew, who have asked about how things work in my current department, what we have for equipment, how we conduct training, etc. 

Departments all over the state and nation are merging because of shrinking numbers of people willing to serve. Apparatus and equipment costs never go down, and upgrading or building new facilities only gets more expensive. Political leaders need to do a better job of working with fire/rescue-service leaders so all departments can better serve everyone.

Thad Tremble

Luxemburg, Wisconsin