Fire & Rescue Department
Contact Person: Duane Hendrickson, Chief 
Phone: (515) 827-5922

Jewell is very fortunate to be able to provide excellent services for the protection and safety of it's residents. Service was originally started over 100 years ago in September of 1902. Throughout the years, the service has diligently kept abreast of advances in fire protection by regularly updating equipment as well as ensuring that staff is thoroughly trained in advanced emergency care.

Special events supported by Jewell Fire and Rescue include the following:

To learn more about Fire Prevention Tips or perhaps a more in-depth paper on the history of the Fire Department, please read all about it below the following pictures.

Fire Prevention Tips
Smoke Alarms
Fire Escape Plans
Candle Usage

If you need help in any of these areas, call Jewell Fire and Rescue at 827-5922 and trained firefighters will assist in any way they can.

Fire Prevention Tips
Jewell Fire Department

In 1885, the town marshal began the inspection of all chimneys that might need repair to stave off the possibility of fire. In April of 1889, equipment was purchased for protection in case of fire. These included several ladders, rubber buckets and a hook and chain for a cost of $50.73. On March 8, 1892, a Howe Fire Engine was purchased for $415. In May of 1892, a building to be used as a fire station was bought from J. R. King for $135. The ordinance regulating the first fire department was passed in September 1892. The fire department was D.D. Fuller, Chief, Ezra Stevens, Assistant Chief, George Foval and F.H. Snyder. A fire bell was installed in front of the city building in December, 1892. A hook and ladder wagon was purchased from Webster City in December 1893. The purchase made it necessary to extend the fire house to accommodate the additional equipment. In July 1894, the city council appointed a committee to develop a constitution and by-laws for a hook and ladder company. The committee members were G. Knutson, Alva Headley and E. Stringer. In March of 1896, the Iowa Union Telephone Company placed poles and wires necessary to maintain a fire alarm system.

In April 1929, a new motorized fire truck costing $2,451 was delivered to Jewell. Half of the cost was raised by nearby farm owners and others. Fire Chief A. L. Fleenor announced the selection of the fire team who would have charge of the truck. DeVere "Stub" Kahl was a member of that team and went on to become Fire Chief for over 30 years. By 1941, a new fire truck was needed. The old one was sold and a new one was purchased. The old original Jewell fire truck bearing the letters JFD still exists in operating order at a private collection in Minnesota.

In 1955, a 1953 and a 1954 model pumper had been purchased to replace the old equipment. Because of the larger trucks, a new fire station had to be built to house these and Lyon Township's equipment. This was located at 740 Collins Street in Jewell. In May of 1960, J.D. "Stub" Kahl retired as Fire Chief. Stu Barkema was elected as the new Fire Chief and served until July of 1965. Ken Headley then became Fire Chief and served until December of 1971. During the tenure of Lloyd "Sparky" Wiese as Fire Chief, the 1953 pumper was wrecked enroute to a scene and replaced with a 1974 truck. The annual Halloween party for area children was a popular event and still continues today. Hot dogs are still served to trick or treaters during the night's activity.

In May, 1977 a new pumper truck was purchased for $36,000. This replaced the 1954 truck. In December 1978, Ron Ringstad became Fire Chief. He was Chief for one year followed by Gene Hyland for three years. Lori Thompson became the first woman firefighter/ rescue member in 1980. In 1982, Denny Bell was elected Fire Chief. Fire calls up to this time were sent by sounding a siren to call firefighters to the station. The 1970's and 1980's saw the increasing use of first, fire phones and then radio activated personal pagers to alert firefighters of a call. In 1986, volunteer firefighters began to discuss attending National Fire Protection Association classes and test to become nationally certified as Firefighter I.

The Jewell Volunteer Fire Department became Jewell Fire and Rescue in 1988 and rewrote their articles of incorporation and by-laws. Rusty Hockman became Fire Chief in December of 1990. He served as president of the Hamilton County Fireman's Association and the Iowa Firefighters Association during his tenure. In December 1992, Ellen Hagen became the first woman officer of the fire department and served as secretary.

In December 2001 the fire department moved to a new building on 838 Main Street in Jewell. As fire trucks, rescue trucks and ambulances became larger and the number of apparatus needed to serve the fire area increased, the old station was simply outgrown. The City of Jewell owns and operates the fire department and contracts with Clear Lake, Ellsworth, Hamilton and Lyon Townships to provide fire protection. Each township levies a tax for fire protection and pays the City of Jewell according to each contract. The department also has agreements with every fire department in Hamilton County to provide mutual aid when called. Duane Hendrickson was elected as Fire Chief in December 2003. There are currently 23 members that make up Jewell Fire and Rescue. Of these, 16 are NFPA Firefighter I certified, 11 are certified as Basic Emergency Medical Technicians and 2 are certified First Responders. The department responds to an average of 25 fire calls per year. 1/3 of this amount is town fires and 2/3 is country fires. Each member is compensated $5 per call attended to offset any personal expense traveling to the station or scene. The city owns a 1976 pumper truck, a 1988 pumper truck, a 1973 tanker, a 1992 tanker, a 1990 heavy rescue truck, a 1985 fast attack pickup. There is a current drive to replace the oldest pumper truck because of major changes in the fire service area. Replacement cost could approach $150,000. Sources of funding for major projects have exceeded the limits of the local taxing bodies and even the ability of local citizens through fund raising efforts. Lately, new apparatus and equipment have been funded through a process of competitive federal grants through the United States Department of Homeland Security. 

History of Rescue in Jewell

In January of 1961 the Jewell Fire Department purchased a 1961 Chevrolet panel truck to convert to a rescue wagon for the purpose of rendering emergency first aid and share trauma transport duty. The truck cost $2383.71, was staffed by firemen with first aid training and, in its first year, was called 5 times. By 1966, rescue calls numbered 22. At this time in history, Becker's Funeral Home did the majority of transport of the sick and injured to a hospital. They simply put a first aid emblem in the window of the hearse. Discussion for a new ambulance operated by the Jewell Fire Department began in July of 1967. By 1969, rescue calls numbered 36. In September of that year, enough funds had been collected to order a 1970 Chevrolet Suburban. This unit went into service February 15, 1970 and, after taking over all patient transport in the community, was called 96 times. The ambulance was staffed by a crew delegated monthly.

By 1981, a new ambulance fund drive was started. In 1983, ambulance fees rose from $35 to $45. Also this year, fire department members began taking EMT training. On February 21, 1983, the move was made to purchase a 1983 Ford Econoline XL Wheeled Coach Type III ambulance for $40,000 and on July 5, 1983, this unit was placed into service. The old Suburban was used as backup for a time. By 1995 a new Ford E350 Osage ambulance was purchased and the old Ford put into reserve as the second unit. Today, Jewell Fire and Rescue operates a 2001 Ford E450 Lifeline ambulance that cost in excess of $100,000 and the 1995 E350 Osage and is called on average of 190 times a year for patient transport.

As of 2006, the Emergency Medical Service division of Jewell Fire and Rescue is totally self supporting. Initially through generous gifts of several local citizens, the service has been able to replace funds for capitol purchases through fees generated by ambulance transport. By maintaining a positive balance of assets, the EMS division is able to not only replace an ambulance when necessary but help in the funding of fire equipment and apparatus there by easing the burden on the taxpayers of the service area.