In the early days, fire fighting in Verona was performed on a very primitive basis. If it appeared that any thing might be saved from a fire, an impromptu Bucket Brigade might be formed but more often than not their efforts were very disorganized and practically useless.
In 1914 an explosion of carbide gas used for a lighting system in the Central Hotel set off a fire which, for a time, threatened to engulf the entire village. The gravity of the situation was quickly apparent and the usual Bucket Brigade formed. A few people in the village owned fire extinguishers of the soda-acid type and these too were quickly assembled and used. Careless handling of these extinguishers soon broke the glass acid bottles and made them useless for refilling, but the buckets of water, filled from a, were passed from hand to hand.
Following this near disaster, the first Volunteer Fire Company was organized in the Village of Verona. Contributions were received and dances were held to raise money for equipment.
Among the first equipment to be purchased were three 40-gallon soda-acid chemical tanks mounted on wooden wheels and equipped with rope and handles for movement from place to place by hand. One of these was stored in the old hotel barn at Verona Station and the other two were stored in the old Presbyterian Church sheds--two stalls of which were donated for that purpose by Franklin T. Sleight and Bert J. Dodge. Dances were held in the Old Town Hall and sufficient funds were raised to keep things on a sound financial basis, but when the Town Hall burned in 1925 there was no place in town to continue fund-raising activities. For the next three years the going was pretty tough.
In 1928 Cheney's Store burned and brought the town to another climax. Two Fire Districts had already been formed in the township and it was decided to form a third one to be known as Verona Fire District #3. It was then possible to finance their needs by direct taxation of property in the district.
During this period, from 1914 to 1928, the Volunteer Company had worked under the direction of four different chiefs: Howard Goff, Fred Avard, Morris Wholihan, and Frank Hawley; and had acquired, in addition to the chemical tanks above mentioned, a Model T Ford one-ton truck equipped with a barton front-end mounted pump and about 200 ft. of 2 1/2 inch single-jacket hose. The old sheds donated by Dodge and Sleight had been torn down and a 20 x 20-ft. concrete block building now housed the equipment. All this equipment was turned over to the three newly elected commissioners: Fred Avard, Frank Phelps, and John Link who each served a three-year term. They were then replaced by five commissioners with staggered terms of office--one being elected each year thereafter.
The original Commissioners adopted a budget of $400.00 for the first year. They appointed Frank Hawley as Chief and George Link as assistant Chief.
For greater mobility, two of the chemical tanks were mounted on a Cadillac Chassis. In 1935 the Ford truck was replaced with a used Chevrolet chassis and equipped with a 200-gpm rotary gear midship-mounted pump and a 150-gal booster tank at a total cost of about $650.00. Water supply was dependent on wells and ponds. In about 1930 a dam was built near the cider mill at a cost of $500.00. The work was done by hand with some excavation using horses at a standard rate of $0.50 per hour.
In 1937 a telephone was installed in the home of Warren Beaver to receive fire calls. In that same year an overhead door was installed in the firehouse at a cost of $120.00
In 1942 Bonds were issued in the amount of $4,500 for the purchase of a new Fire Truck. Due to war time restrictions and shortages the truck was not secured until 1947 when the Firehouse was enlarged by extending back to make room for the longer truck. A 5Hp siren was also installed.
In 1949 the building was enlarged by adding to the West Side for a social room.
In 1958 the building was again enlarged by adding a second story for a meeting room and adding further to the back for a game room with a kitchen above the game room. The social room downstairs was then used to house additional apparatus.
Due to the purchase of a new and larger pumper in 1965, the building was found to be too small for satisfactory operation and in 1967 an entirely new building was erected on an adjoining lot purchased from the Harry Walker Estate. This building now houses all the fire-fighting equipment and the old building is used for office and recreational purposes.