Walworth County Firefighters' Association

Fire Cheifs 1925-Current

1925-1947 Dr. Cecil Bachelle

1947-1951 Russell Babcock

1951-1953 Grover Maack

1953-1958 Samuel Leathem

1958-1965 Grover Maack

1965-1974 Howard Boviall

1974-1981 David Babcock

1981-1992 Verlyn Fladten

1993-1999 John Jarosz Sr.

1999- Current Gerald Edwards

Town of Delavan

On a chilly August evening back in 1915, a family vacationing on Delavan Lake built a fire in the fireplace of their cottage at he Higland Hotel, a popular summer resort on the north shore of the lake. 

After the father and mother had put their two small children to bed and had fell asleep, they then walked over to the hotel to play some cards. There was a strong westerly wind that evening and perhaps a downdraft came down the chimney and blew cinders out onto the living room floor of the cabin. Before anyone knew it, the cottage was aflame. when the alarm was given,  people rushed from the hotel and cottages, but it was too late to save the children.

Eleven cottages all in a row were burned or destroyed that fateful night, the last ones being dynamited to stop the fire from continuing on down the lakeshore.

The Highland fire got the members of the Delavan Lake Improvement Association interested in a fire department for homeowners on the lake.

Dr. Cecil Bachelle, of Chicago and Delavan lake and son of the Cheif Surgeon of Chicago, arranged for some of his high ranking firefighting friend to come to Delavan Lake and assess the situation.  Dr. Bachelle, with the help of his friends, convinced the Delavan Lake Improvement Association to form a fire commission in 1924, with Dr. Bachelle as the chairman.

In 1925, Dr. Bachelle was made Cheif and a Pirsch truck with four Chemical tanks was purchased.  The truck was kept in the doctor's own garage. This was Truck #1.

The telephone operators would call the homes of the firefighters and set off the alarms to notify them of a fire.

In 1926 a second chemical truck was obtained and housed in a home specially made for it on the Buzzell Farm on the North Shore area off the lake. This was Truck #2.

The Assembly Park already had a small chemical truck of their own.  They joined the department and their truck became Truck #3.

The Fire Boat at the Delavan Lake Boat Company came next and was named #4.

In 1931, Cheif Bachelle started the Walwprth County Firefighter's Association for promoting mutual aid in Walworth County.

A dance was held in 1933 as the first fundraiser for the fire department to raise money to purchase personal gear for the men.  The Delavan Lake Improvement Association was co-sponsor of the dance. 

The next truck, Truck #5 was housed at Lake Lawn.

Fire House #2 was added in 1936 to house Truck #6, the Rescue Squad.

Next came Hook and Ladder #1, housed at the LaBarr Farm.

When the department got their first tanker, they put ladders on it and also housed it at the LaBarr Farm.

The Fire Boat and Rescue Squad were pulled from service in the late 40's or early 50's due to a lack of trained personnel to operate them.

Truck #6 was assigned to the new volunteer built fire house on County Highway "O" at the west end of the lake.

Around 1940, the Walworth County Tavern Keepers Association purchased an Iron Lung and placed the Delavan Lake Fire Department in charge of it.  In the 1940's during the polio epidemic, it was sent to a hospital in Madison.

The Town of Delavan purchased the fire department from the Delavan Lake Improvement Association in 1963. At the same time, the Inlet Fire Department joined the Town of Delavan Fire Department.