West Peoria
Fire Protection District

Captain Daniel V. Wilson Named Firefighter of the Year 2017

Congratulations to Firefighter of the Year for 2017 Captain Daniel V. Wilson.  Wilson was honored at the annual appreciation dinner on May 12, 2018. Caption Wilson joined the department in March of 1985.  He worked through the ranks, becoming an Engineer in June of 1994, First Engineer in 1997 and appointed to Captain July of 2012.  This is the second time that Wilson has been honored as Firefighter of the Year, the first time occurred in 1996.  Wilson also was awarded the Peoria County Farm Bureau Volunteer Emergency Service Provider Award in 2011 for saving the life of a two-year old drowning victim.


West Peoria Fire Department set two records in 2017:  most calls in a year and most calls in a month.  December of 2017 saw 71 calls and the year ended with 634 total calls. The fire department responds to fire, EMS, rescue and mutual aid calls.  


West Peoria Fire Department took delivery of the 2017 Pierce Heavy Rescue truck in May.  The vehicle was in the planning stages for over a year, with the officers and firefighters carefully designing all aspects of the truck.  The $298,864 vehicle represents only the fourth rescue truck the department has had in its forty-eight years of offering rescue services.  One of the major challenges was designing a vehicle that would fit into the existing fire house.  The door opening is only 10’ high and bay is only 36’ deep which required some creative thinking to fit a new vehicle into the spot.  The new rescue truck occupies the bay the original fire truck sat in when the fire house was built.  The door was enlarged back in the 1980s to accommodate a larger fire engine.

The rescue truck is built on a 2017 Ford F650 chassis and was manufactured by Pierce Manufacturing Company.  The cab is a four-door vehicle which will carry four firefighters.  The rescue box is 12’ long and houses rescue tools, emergency medical supplies and equipment, and fire equipment.  The department decided on a heavy-duty chassis in order to carry additional rescue equipment.  Smaller vehicles similar to the former rescue truck could not accommodate the additional weight, nor had the space to store the equipment available today.  

The new rescue truck will replace the 1985 Ford.  The thirty-one year old vehicle was donated to Ridge Lake Fire Department. According to Ridge Lake Facebook page, "We are beyond excited to bring this rig home, it will provide a climate controlled rehab area on extended scenes, extrication, RIT Rescue efforts, as well as a manpower transport, and in the near future water/ice rescue, medical non transport first responder to help aid our area’s ALS providers and as mobile cascade for Mutual Aid Scenes."

 1985 Marion on a Ford E350 Chassis served West Peoria for 31 years.  It was donated to Ridge Lake Fire Department in December 2017

Firefighter and EMT of the Year 2016

Congratulations to Firefighter of the Year for 2016 Scott Ruskusky and EMT of the Year for 2016 Kelly Stecher.  Both were honored at the West Peoria Fire Department Appreciation Dinner on May 6, 2017 at Alexander Street Steak House.  

Captain Scott Ruskusky was named Firefighter of the Year for 2016.  Scott joined the department in 1998, relocated out of town with his family and rejoined the department in 2009 upon his return to West Peoria. Scott previously earned the Firefighter of the Year honors in 2011.  

Kelly Stecher recently earned her EMT license and was recognized for her dedication to the department by her peers and was selected as Emergency Medical Technician of the Year for 2016. Stecher joined the department in 2016.

Also receiving recognition at the annual Appreciation Dinner for 5 years of service included Dan Grothe and Malakai Szczepaniak.  Captain Scott Ruskusky was recognized for 10 years of service.  Captain Rob Stecher was honored for serving 20 years and Guydeen Roos for 25 years.  

Rob Stecher, Jr. Named 40 Leaders Under 40 

Rob Stecher, Jr. was honored as a 40 Leaders Under 40 by Inter Business Issues magazine.

Captain Rob Stecher, Jr. joined an elite group of Central Illinois leaders having been chosen as a 40 Leaders Under 40 recipient.  Stecher  is an active member of the West Peoria Volunteer Fire Department and has advanced through the ranks of the department, from firefighter to engineer (within two years of joining) and then to first engineer by 2003. He was appointed to Emergency Medical Services Captain in 2004, a position he still holds.  Rob provides leadership as the Emergency Medical Services Captain and is responsible for scheduling training for the department's emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Additionally, he is required to keep records related to EMTs continuing education, which is necessary for re- licensing. He also continues supporting the department by providing leadership during fire ground operations as one of the command staff. He participates in the goal-setting for the fire department. Rob has been honored by his peers with both of the fire department's top awards: Firefighter of the Year in 2011 and Emergency Medical Technician of the Year in 2000. Stecher also serves on the St. Mark School commission and coaches for the Peoria Youth Hockey Association.  Rob is President of Stecher Automotive, a family-owned business serving the Peoria area since 1923. He is the fourth generation Stecher to lead the firm.  See complete IBI story http://www.omagdigital.com/publication/?i=351107#{"issue_id":351107,"page":96}

Congratulations to 2nd Assistant Chief Bob Harris who was honored by the Illinois Valley Fuller Center as a veteran who served in the Marines.

Deb Gaught (left) of the Illinois Valley Fuller Center gives Bob Harris (far right) his award at the November 6, 2016 Association meeting. Doug Peterson a member of both organizations assists is the presentation. 

West Peoria Fire Department Holds Annual Appreciation Dinner
Jack Girard Named Firefighter of the Year 2015 Bryan Santowski Named EMT of the Year 2015

Brian Santowski (left) and Jack Girard (right) awarded the two highest honors at the West Peoria Fire Department's annual appreciation dinner.

Congratulations to Firefighter of the Year for 2015 Jack Girard and EMT of the Year 2015 Bryan Santowski.  Both were honored at the West Peoria Fire Department Appreciation Dinner on May 8, 2016 at Alexander Street Steak House.  Santowski and Girard attend Bradley University and volunteer at the fire department.
Jack is studying Industrial Engineering at Bradley and has been on the department since September of 2013.  He is actively involved in the department and association. He is in his second term as secretary of both the West Peoria Firefighters' Association and the Central Illinois Fire Investigators Association.  
Bryan Santowski is studying Psychology at Bradley.  Santowski joined the department in October of 2013.  In addition to his studies at Bradley, Santowski attended ICC and earned his EMT license and was recognized for his dedication to the department by his peers.
Also receiving recognition at the annual Appreciation Dinner for years of service included Matt Schadt and Jerry Tupper for having served for five years.  Nate Clow and Jim McCarter were recognized for 15 years of service.  Mark Stecher was honored for serving 35 years and Joel Van Ness for 40 years.  

West Peoria Fire Department
Celebrating 75 Years 1939-2014

On August 5, 1939, a special election was held that would create the West Peoria Fire Protection District.  The results of the election, 476-25 favored creation of a district.  The results were certified by Judge Francis Vonachen on August 8, 1939, thus creating the new fire district, one of the first in Illinois.  Between the election in 1939 and the answering of the first fire call, a chimney fire on Clifton Court in March of 1941, much needed to be done.  William Mehlenbeck was selected as the first fire chief.  The fire house above was completed in December of 1940 and the first fire engine was a 1941 Ford built by Howe Fire Apparatus Company from Anderson, IN.  It was delivered in January of 1941. 

The City of West Peoria is served by the West Peoria Fire Protection District, a special district separate from the City. The Fire Department is staffed by over 40 highly-trained volunteers who provide fire suppression, rescue operations, emergency medical services, fire prevention and are active in community involvement activities. The West Peoria Fire Protection District serves approximatley 5,000 residents in a mostly residential district, covering 1 1/4 square miles. The West Peoria Fire Protection District is a member of MABAS Division 36.

West Peoria Fire Protection District
406 N. Waverly Ave.
West Peoria, IL 61604
 Emergencies Call: 911   

•    Non-emergencies    

Call: 1-800-517-5678    •   Administration  Call: 309-674-6615


The West Peoria Fire Department trains twice a week:

Wednesday Evening 7pm - 9pm

Sunday Morning 10am - Noon

EMS trainings are open to all PAEMS providers, please call ahead

Volunteers are always needed!


If you are interested,

please contact

Chief Terry Schadt


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