1897 – 1950 The Early Bartlett Fire Years

On Wednesday, December 22, 1897, a group of Bartlett citizens gathered together for the purpose of forming a volunteer fire department. Twenty-six men, all over sixteen years of age, signed the by-laws and the constitution of the new fire department which was drawn up by George Struckman. Mr. A.C. Schick was elected the first fire chief of the department at the first meeting held on January 10, 1898. From that time on, the department functioned well according to records, even though the chief was known to report at meetings, "that the engine was in working order, but leaks worse than ever."

The department continued its operations until the middle of 1901, when it apparently disbanded. It was reorganized on July 11, 1910 with many of the same men as members. This organization appeared to have continued until sometime in 1915, although there are no records documenting this after November 7, 1911. A third and final reorganization of the department came on November 16, 1925. At this time twenty-nine men became members of the department.

H.C. Thurnau was elected fire chief of the new department. This group not only functioned as a fire fighting unit, but soon became the center of social activity in the community. Dances and picnics, along with grand and glorious 4th of July celebrations were held. The 4th of July celebration in 1926 had a parade that contained thirty-one floats; there were fireworks, dancing, and games of chance. It was so successful that they quickly planned another picnic in August. This was the forerunner of the former firemen's picnic.

Sometime in 1930, the firemen became movie stars. The Atlas Educational Film Company wanted some shots of the volunteer department in action, so the men gave a demonstration of how it should be done. Unfortunately this film is no longer available. Throughout its existence, the department has always had cordial relations with the village board, realizing that cooperation and understanding were essential to a smooth operating partnership. The department held a special meeting on December 6, 1936. The minutes of this meeting read as follows:

“Meeting called to order by President H.E. Schnadt. Roll call showed twelve members present, none absent, and all members of the village board present. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss with the board members the activities of the Bartlett Volunteer Fire Department. The chief addressed the members present and also the board about the duties, requirements, and services necessary to maintain an efficient operation of the Bartlett Volunteer Fire Department. The president of the village board gave a short talk expressing the board's appreciation for the manner in which the fire department has maintained an efficient operation and service, and assured the board's cooperation was welcomed at any time. After adjournment, a social evening was had at the Village Hall, refreshments were served, and a good time was had by all."

As a fire department, this group did their usual fine work during this period, and they also played a large part in building the community. The department, along with other civic groups in town, was largely responsible for the formation of present town parks and field house. On April 12, 1948, a special meeting for the fire department was called by Chief Bull. The order of business for this meeting was to discuss purchasing six lots from Mr. H.W. Schnadt to complete the park. Motion was made to buy this land and turn the property over to the village. Mayor Thurnau, who was village president at the time, thanked the fire department for their action and said he was sure the village board and the rest of the people in town would be very thankful for what the department had done.

Much time, work, and money went into building the present field house. At their meeting on July 13, 1948, the department voted to donate their share of the annual firemen's picnic for the purpose of building the field house. At this time, the Rural League also donated their share of the picnic to this worthy cause.

1950 – Today

Positive changes and development took place rapidly over the next 60 years. The following items are short summaries of many of these important milestones.

October, 1950 The first fire department trustees were Art Holtz, Bill Rees, and Tony Whitmer.
August, 1952 New fire station was dedicated at 218 S. Main Street.
August, 1956 The department and the village formally joined the Hanover-Wayne Fire Protection District, and a new siren was installed in order to improve the alerting system.
October, 1960 A complete mobile radio system was installed.
April, 1965 A rural fire numbering system was established.
July, 1968 Elmer Hecht was appointed the first full-time employee and fire chief of the Hanover-Wayne Fire Protection District.
January, 1969 The Village of Streamwood de-annexed from the Fire District to become a municipal fire department.
January, 1971 The name of the Fire District was officially changed to "Bartlett and Countryside Fire Protection District."
October, 1973 Moved into the completed Fire Station #1 at 234 North Oak Avenue.
July, 1974 Cadet program for firefighters was established.
March, 1976 An agreement was drawn up to participate in multi-agency dispatching provided by Du Page County Communications (Du-Comm).
November, 1977 A fire station site on Struckman Blvd. was acquired as a donation from Roy Gottleib.
April, 1980 An Ambulance Tax Referendum was held and passed by 447 votes.
May, 1980 An agreement was signed to participate in the Greater Elgin Area Mobile Intensive Care Program and Advanced Life Support Ambulance Service.
November, 1980 First contract with Paramedic Services of Illinois was signed to provide the paramedics to staff the advanced life support ambulance.
August, 1986 New station at 501 Struckman Blvd. was completed.
April, 1990 Trustees adopted an ordinance to establish a fire commission.
September, 1990 Notice published in newspaper that the Fire District would be accepting applications for full-time firefighter position. 246 applied.
December, 1991 First firefighter eligibility list was established for full-time personnel.
January, 1992 Seven firefighter candidates started full-time employment.
January, 1994 Fire Chief Elmer Hecht retired as chief officer of the Fire District. His retirement culminated 42 years of service to the community.
1994 Fire Chief Steve Figved replaced Chief Hecht and led the department until March of 2002.
January, 1995 The Fire District Trustees voted to increase the size of the board of trustees to five.
July, 1996 The name of the department changed to “Bartlett Fire Protection District”.
February, 1998 One lieutenant was promoted to captain, and three firefighters were promoted to lieutenant.
May, 2001 The department launched its first web site.
December, 2001 Kevin Heine was sworn in as assistant fire chief.
November, 2002 William O'Boyle was appointed fire chief of the District and served until 2005.
November, 2003 Lt. William Anderson was promoted to the rank of assistant chief of administration and a firefighter was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
2004 Twelve Bartlett residents completed a very successful Citizens Fire Academy.
February, 2006 Kevin Heine was appointed chief of the Bartlett Fire Protection District.
April, 2006 Lieutenant David Misner is promoted to assistant chief of operations and a firefighter is promoted to lieutenant.
November, 2006 Passed referendum which provided funding for a 3rd fire station and personnel.
February, 2007 The Fire District received a communications grant in the amount of $219,000.
April, 2007 The first six additional firefighters were hired as a result of the successful 2006 referendum.
May, 2007 Lieutenants Mike Clarke, Ralph DeFreece and David Misner were promoted to the rank of battalion chief and two firefighters were promoted to lieutenant.
July, 2007 An Intergovernmental Agreement between the District and the Village of Bartlett was signed for the construction of a new fire station.
September, 2007 Michael Falese was appointed to the position of assistant chief of operations.
December, 2007 Three firefighters were promoted to lieutenants.
February, 2008 Two additional firefighters were hired.
June, 2008 The Bartlett Fire Protection District was awarded a $948,825.00 SAFER grant for the hiring of nine additional firefighters.
October 2008 Fire Station 3, located at 1575 West Bartlett Road, was dedicated and opened for service. Three additional firefighters were hired and three firefighters were promoted to the rank of lieutenant bringing the total number of lieutenants to nine.
September, 2009 The Fire District hosts the “Pink Heals Tour” and with combined efforts of area residents and local community schools, helped raise $11,000.00 that was donated to the Alexian Brothers Foundation, to offset costs to local cancer patients.
March, 2010 Fire Chief Kevin Heine retired after 30 years of service to the Bartlett Fire Protection District.
June, 2010 Assistant Chief Michael Falese was appointed to the position of fire chief.
November, 2010 Michael Figolah was appointed to the position of assistant fire chief.
November, 2011 The District receives the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for year ended December 31, 2010.
October, 2011 The Fire District receives an Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity grant in the amount of $200,000.
January, 2012 The District honored the first five full-time 20 year employees; Assistant Chief William Anderson, BC Michael Clarke, BC Ralph DeFreece, BC David Misner, LT Brian Corn
February, 2012 Assistant Chief William Anderson retired.
April, 2012 Michael Kelly was appointed to the position of assistant fire chief.
August, 2012 The District hosts the Pink Heals Tour and raises nearly $1,000 for women's cancer.
October, 2012 Fire Chief Michael Falese is elected as President of the Illinois Fire Chief's Association
November, 2012 The District receives the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for year ended December 31, 2011.
May, 2013 The District receives an Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity grant in the amount of $200,000.
May, 2013 Construction begins on the fire station 2 remodel.
June, 2013 Fire Chief Michael Falese is elected President of the Bartlett Rotary Club.
August, 2013 The District hosts the Pink Heals Tour and raises $5,851 for women's cancer.
October, 2013 The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance awards Assistant Chief Michael Figolah a Special Recognition Award for his 15 years of service on the Fire Safety Alliance Board of Directors.
November, 2013 Remodel of Fire Station 2 is complete and operations begin again in the fire station.
December, 2013 The Illinois Fire Chief's Association presents Office Manager Janice Gumprecht the 2013 Administrative Professional of the Year Award.
February, 2014 The District receives the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for year ended 2012.
May, 2014 Sherman Hospital recognizes Lieutenant Dana Costa Rica for 35 years of service for Bartlett Fire District as a Paramedic.
May, 2014 The Illinois Fire Chief's Association presents Fire Chief Michael Falese the 2014 Illinois Fire Chief of the Year Award.
June, 2015 The Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts (IAFPD) presents Former Trustee John Whitmer the Trustees’ Outstanding Services Award at the 72nd Annual Conference in Peoria.


  • Auble, Glenn
  • Brandes, John
  • Buckner, Donald
  • Faber, Gerald
  • Holtz, Art
  • Jackson, William
  • Lichthardt, Theodore
  • McGuire, John
  • Meyers, Lawrence
  • Montgomery, Broc
  • Pierscionek, Art
  • Rees, Bill
  • Salter, Hal
  • Sheeny, William
  • Smith, Kenneth
  • Straub, William
  • Taylor, William
  • Tiknis, William
  • Weaver, Norman
  • Wehle, Peter
  • Wetherton, Norm
  • Whitmer, John
  • Whitmer, Tony
  • Wiley, Kevin
  • Wrobel, Richard


  • Busto, Lisa
  • Faber, Gerald
  • Genslak, Thomas
  • Giovannelli, Frank
  • Heneghan, Martin
  • Mategrano, Albert
  • McCarthy, James
  • Regal, Arthur
  • Tiknis, William
  • Weaver, Norman
  • Whitmer, John

Previous Trustees and Commissioners information is still being researched and updated at this time.