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highways in March of 1959.
The ambulance service provided by the fire department has also been an important service. In February of 1959, a Chevrolet station wagon was purchased to be used as the fire department’s first ambulance. Firefighters took basic First Aid instruction to help with medical emergencies. In 1974, nine firefighters took the rigorous training to become certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). Currently, the fire department has 18 of its 31 members certified at EMTs.
Speed in responding to emergency situations is important because the Maple Lake Fire Department has a lot of ground to cover. Close to 110 square miles of territory is protected by the Maple Lake Fire Department, serving about 10,000 people which include the townships of Albion, Corinna, Chatham, Maple Lake, Marysville and Silver Creek.
The fire that gutted the Wright Theatre in October of 1964 is most often mentioned as one of the most severe in Maple Lake history and as a result of its effect on the town. The fire departments in Annandale and Buffalo were called in to provide assistance and the Melvin Borell family was dramatically rescued from an upstairs apartment by local firefighters. That fire was especially devastating to Maple Lake because the movie theater, the bowling alley and the post office were all housed in the building, which is now the home of the Maple Lake Library.
Another major fire in the downtown area came in January of 1996 when a fire destroyed a building across from the city hall that housed the Finders-Keepers Antique Store and JMTD Color Stix.
By the time firefighters got the call at 6 a. m., flames were coming out of the roof of the structure and it was reduced to rubble by 10 a. m. The owners of JMTD Color Stix, Tom and Kim Breiwick, were staying with their four children in an apartment at the back of the building. The family escaped with what possessions they could carry across the street to the Maple Lake Cafe, where patrons could feel the heat from the fire through the cafe windows. After the debris was removed, the property was purchased by the Maple Lake American Legion Club for an expanded parking lot.
In February of 1989, the former Frank Baert house on Division Street, owned at the time by Gunther and Judy Hinz, burned to the ground on a night when temperatures were as low as -20 below zero. Because of construction practices in the early 1900s when the house was built, walls in houses of that era tended to act like chimneys since they had no fire breaks from top to bottom. No one was injured,
The Borell family was rescued from the Wright Theatre in 1964.