Hall of Fame Inductees July 20th 2001 – Superior, WI
At 1:20 in the afternoon of April 17, 1941, City of Superior Constable A. G. Jacobson was shot three times as he was serving an eviction notice to Walter Karo of 701 22nd Ave. East. The wounds proved fatal, as Constable Jacobson died the next day.
This sad story started two months earlier, as the first eviction notice had been served to the Karo family, a family of nine. As a temporary halt to the eviction, Karo reported an outbreak of chicken pox in his house, which then had to be quarantined. During this period of quarantine, Karo was able to get out and procure a .32 pistol that he had used as a threat toward his family. Karo even had one of his daughters unload and load the gun in front of his family to show them it was loaded. Reports of this gun and his actions got to the Superior Police Department, and they attempted to find it, but were unsuccessful.
On the day before the shooting, Constable Jacobson had gone to the Karo home with a priest in order to help them find resolution to their housing problem. During this visit, Karo “…brandished a revolver … and declared that he ‘didn’t like people who stuck their noses into his business’.” This brought an abrupt end to this assistance. With great dedication to his public service, the unarmed constable returned the next day to fulfill his obligation and served the fateful eviction notice to Karo.
Police officers go to work and unselfishly perform their duties knowing fully that this could be their last day. It is with this spirit and dedication to service that Constable Jacobson will be enshrined as a reminder of all those lost in the line of duty.
At 7:45pm, November 25, 2000, a call came into the Manitowoc Fire and Police Departments for a report of a house fire on Cleveland Avenue. While enroute, dispatch announced that a woman was inside the burning home but would not leave until her dog was found. As emergency personnel rushed to the scene, the phone fell silent. Manitowoc Police Officer David McCue arrived first to the burning home and reported there was thick smoke and flames coming from the downstairs level extending up to the second floor.
Officer McCue went around the outside of the home looking for the missing woman. He came upon the back door and was able to see her lying on the kitchen floor, under the heavy smoke layer. Officer McCue then made the decision that he would go inside and try to get her out. He first took a large breath, held it, and then proceeded to crawl under the smoke. With great effort, he was able to pull the unconscious woman outside onto the back deck where they were met by a fellow police officer, who helped carry her to a safe place away from the burning building.
The victim was then attended to by Manitowoc Paramedics and regained consciousness. Her pet dog, Willie, fled the home as officer McCue opened the door and was later caught and found to be in good health.
Officer David McCue is a past volunteer firefighter and is well aware of the dangers he faced during this rescue, but he was also aware of the danger Ms. Pieschel was in and that a moment’s hesitation could cost her life.
According to the words of the Manitowoc Fire Chief, “… Due to the intensity of the fire, the victim, Susan Pieschel, would have surely perished had you not put yourself at risk to save her…”
On March 17, 1999, in an old brick firehouse on the north side of LaCrosse, Engine Company Four was settling in for the night. The day had been uneventful, but that changed quickly when a house fire was announced over the speaker. The home on George Street was only three blocks from the station. The four firefighters on the engine were Captain James Hotvedt, Engineer Greg Olson, and Firefighters Tim Oland and Craig Snyder.
Grayish smoke was billowing from an upstairs window, and as they pulled a line to the house, the firefighters were told that two children were still inside the burning home. Captain Hotvedt immediately notified the other fire companies of the situation and then decided to attempt a rescue before having any back-up in place.
Having been told the victims were upstairs, Captain Hotvedt’s crew did not search any first floor rooms. The crew located the stairway and proceeded up with an attack line. At the top of the stairs, they found a bedroom and did a right hand search. The beds were checked with no results. About this time, another incoming crew located the seat of the fire. Captain Hotvedt’s attack line was then moved to the fire assuming that it was likely to be the other bedroom where the victims would possibly be found. As the attack line was being moved, radio traffic indicated that one victim had been found downstairs.
Captain Hotvedt’s attack line was being used elsewhere, yet by himself he decided to do one more search of the bedroom. During this search, he did the same right hand sweep, but this time he located the feet of a small child. He scooped him up and brought him down to an awaiting ambulance.
As the men were changing their air tanks, it was discovered that yet another child was unaccounted for. After completing the air change, they entered the building again to attack the fire and continue the search. After exhaustive work, Firefighter Snyder found the third victim. Captain Hotvedt’s low-air alarm bell sounded, but he stayed to help bring the boy out of the building.
The first two children survived the fire, but sadly the third child died of smoke inhalation. If it weren’t for Captain Hotvedt’s leadership abilities, decision-making, and focus on finding the trapped victims, it is certain there would have been more than one fatality.
On April 29, 2000, just after 3:00pm, the Milwaukee Fire Department was called to the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center on Lake Michigan for a car that had been intentionally driven into the water. Witnesses reported that an adult and a baby were in the car.
Upon arrival of the Dive Rescue Team, Firefighter Tim Newman put on his diving gear and met with Firefighter Dennis Curley in the water to attempt to remove the victims from the submerged car. Firefighter Newman dove under and assessed the vehicle. He found that neither door could be opened and that he would have to break a window to get in. Firefighter Curley was using a window punch tool at this time, so Firefighter Newman tried using his dive knife to pop a window. These efforts did not work.
Firefighter Curley became nauseated and was unable to continue, leaving Firefighter Newman alone to continue with the rescue efforts. This time he took a fire axe down with him and used it successfully to gain entry into the car.
During his search of the interior of the car, Firefighter Newman found and removed a small child from the car and brought her to the surface. Again Firefighter Newman descended into the cold, dark water and found the adult victim only to realize the man was entangled in his seat belt, which would need to be cut in order to remove him. While getting a cutting tool, Firefighter Newman saw that he had only two minutes of air left in his tank but decided to descend again to try and remove the victim.
With the visibility at zero, Firefighter Newman was able to cut the seat belt and free the man, but at this time he ran out of air and was unable to breathe or inflate his buoyancy compensator. Although he could have chosen to rescue himself, Firefighter Newman held onto the victim and was able to pull him up using a safety rope that was connected to shore.
The victims care was taken over by the land based teams and Firefighter Newman was assisted with the removal of his face piece, which finally allowed him to breathe.
The actions taken by Firefighter Newman on this day were truly heroic and were taken at great risk to himself. Sadly, as was the driver’s intentions, both he and the child died, but they were given the greatest possible chance of survival by the actions of Firefighter Newman, and all the other members of the Milwaukee Fire Department present at this call.
In the late afternoon hours of March 24, 2015, Trooper Trevor Casper of the Wisconsin State Patrol located the vehicle of an armed and dangerous suspect the FBI and Michigan authorities had been searching for in relation to numerous bank robberies and a homicide.
Wisconsin State Patrol
Milwaukee Fire Department
Manitowoc Fire Department
Town of Campbell Fire Department