Recently a small fire station was completed in Cleveland. It is large enough for only one fire truck, Jasper.
This truck is the first fire engine used in Cleveland. Years ago there was a chimney fire on a windy day which made the citizens of Cleveland recognize a need for protection against fires. In 1952 the citizens used money from pheasant hunts and donations of about $100 per family to purchase a small fire truck. This was the only fire truck for around 20 years.
Later a volunteer force was organized. Owen Olsen became fire chief and new trucks were purchased. The original truck was forgotten. The tires went flat and the paint was old.
In 1999, Owen wrote a story about a fire truck named Jasper who was honored for his many years of service with his own fire station. He shared his story with Greg Oliver who, a few years later, fixed up Cleveland's original fire truck and gave it to Owen. Owen named the truck Jasper and decided to build him a little fire station. With the help of many individuals, the station was completed this spring.
Now the small station houses an old couch and chess set, some knives made in scouting years ago, a trophy won by Jasper, and a small fire truck. Owen hopes to create a small museum, housing artifacts from Cleveland in order to preserve the heritage of the town. Because of Owen's passion, this fire truck - which would have gone to a museum in - has its own home in the town where it saved many houses.
Olsen was a fire department member for 20 years and the fire chief for 15. In honor of this dedication and commitment to the safety of the Cleveland and Elmo communities, the city council presented Olsen with his very own fire engine. It's a 1945 Dodge which served Cleveland well during its years in service.
Hazel McMullin remembers a time when Cleveland only had one fire engine and she would drive the engine to the fire and then the fire chief would show up to put out the fire. A call would come into the store and then calls would be made to locate the fire chief who was usually out in a field working.
He would get to the fire as soon as he could and get it put out. Things have come a long way over the years with the advancements and the new equipment Cleveland has been able to acquire.
Olsen will be ready with Jasper to drive in the Cleveland parade on July 24.