DE PERE — After 150 years of service the De Pere fire department has gone through many large changes.
Despite these changes, the department uses its history to prepare for the future.
"We always grow from the big events we have to get a little bit better," said battalion chief Brett Jansen.
There's been several large fires in De Pere that have molded the town's history. Jansen said the last major one unlocked a new method to battling fires in downtown.
"It allowed us to put in dry hydrants which connect right to the river," said Jansen.
Those hydrants allow the department to take water from the Fox River and pump it up to an active scene.
A technological advancement that is a far cry from the humble beginnings of the fire department back more than a century ago.
Gone are the days of simple coats and boats. In their place, firefighters have full structural gear that Jansen said has helped them save countless lives on the job.
One of the biggest legacies left behind from the decades of old is the unification of De Pere.
In the early days of the fire department, De Pere was a town divided by the river.
The east side's fire company, also known as the Badger fire company, eventually combined with west side's fire company to form the department seen today.
"The fire department helped drive the whole city to come together to be one city instead of just east De Pere and west De Pere," said Jansen."