Rio Fire Department

Fire Chief's Welcome
Welcome to the Rio Volunteer Fire Department's web site.  This site is designed to allow you to learn about our Department and its history; to easily find resources to schedule a tour, or ask for assistance. 
The members of the Rio Volunteer Fire Department are dedicated to providing the highest level of service, integrity, and professionalism at the lowest cost to the taxpayers of our District.  The men and women of this Department, are Volunteer Firefighters and proudly serve residents, business owners, and visitors to the Rio area.
Our success hinges on our ability to reach out to the community to educate about fire safety.  We believe that our staff and our citizens can educate each other to make the District as safe as possible.  I personally welcome any questions, concerns, and of course, compliments regarding the Fire Department.  You may reach me via phone at

Thank you for your interest in the Rio Volunteer Fire Department.
Robert Lang
Fire Chief

About the Rio Volunteer Fire Department
  • Rio Fire Dept Staff
  • Rio Fire Dept History
  • Annual Reports

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Back row from left to right
Patrick Bright, Matt Weatherwax, Bob Benisch, Eric Wakeman, Bill Sica, Leiha Johnson, Vinnie Catenacci, Adrian Peeper, Justin Johnson, Bob Lang.

Front row left to right
Treasurer Jeff Miller, Lieutenant Andy England, Captain Terry Mielke, Assistant Chief Steve Rowley, Chief Tony Bradley, Secretary Gordy Voss, Assistant Chief Brian Johnson, Lieutenant Chad Mielke, Training Officer Don Catenacci.

Not pictured
Firefighters John Roberts, Matt Lang, Keith Desjralais, John Butterbaugh, Joe Ardnt, Brian Fischer, Eric Moll, Adrian Melter, Ben Wismar, Mike Kearney, Jared Sunde, Tina Gobeli, Bryon Doherty, Ty Kearney
 and Safety Officer Nick Voss.
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The Rio Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1895. From the humble beginnings of using bucket brigade to horse drawn wagons and gas powered engines to having three Fire Engine Trucks, one Rescue Truck, one Tanker Truck, two Brush Trucks, and one ATV, the Rio Volunteer Fire Department continues to grow.
The department began in 1895; however, the first fire station wasn’t built until 1904. This station was located on Lincoln Avenue next to the Village Hall. The station had only two bays and was a two story building. The first floor housed the fire trucks and the second story was used for offices. The Village Hall was also located on the second story. You can still see the bell today at Fire Station.


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The department’s second station was located at the old gas station and automotive repair shop located on Lincoln Avenue which currently houses PO Boy’s catering. The gas station was built by the Adams’ family. The Fire Station moved into the building in the mid 1960’s to accommodate for the growth of the department. During this time period the department acquired a new fire truck and ambulance truck.




1928 Reo Fire Engine Truck, gas powered. Purchased on May 21, 1928 for $1182.70





The department’s third station was built in 1979 the only changes made to the station would be the addition of a small office that was added to the meeting room around 2004.

Under Construction
News and Current Events

Under Construction

How to Volunteer

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Volunteer Firefighter Positions
The Rio Volunteer Fire Department is currently accepting applications for volunteer firefighters. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid driver's license.
What Will You Learn as a Volunteer?
You will learn some important life skills, such as how to prevent and fight fires, how to rescue people and sustain them in life threatening situations, and how to operate state-of-the-art firefighting equipment. Assist EMS at accident scenes and also provide first aid.

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If you're interested in joining, please review our volunteer firefighter requirements and application procedures.

If you would like more information, call Tony at
608-697-6860 or email us.

  • Firefighter Requirements & Information
  • Application Procedure

Volunteer firefighting is a rewarding but demanding career.  You must be able to make a major commitment of time, especially in the first year. Members are required to attend 27 of 36 drills, 9 of 12 business meetings.
 Job Description
This position is responsible for serving the communities of the Village of Rio, Town of Hampden, Town of Leeds, Town of Lowville, Town of Otsego, Town of Springvale, Town of Wyocena in fire and rescue service. Includes fire prevention, fire suppression, rescuing people, sustaining life in life-threatening situations, and includes training and the maintenance of fire stations, equipment, and apparatus. Assist EMS at accident scenes and also provide first aid.

 Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required

  •      Must be at least 18 years old
  •      Must have a valid driver's license

  Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work as a team member in carrying out a variety of assignments in emergency firefighting situations and accident scenes.
  • Utilize a variety of procedures, techniques and tools for rescue purposes
  • Perform a variety of ventilation procedures in accordance with firefighting procedures and techniques
  • Use a variety of manual and power tools to forcibly gain entry to structures or vehicles
  • Perform a variety of salvage and overhaul procedures in order to minimize damage to structures affected by fire
  • Provide a variety of public assistance and education services in response to citizen requests
  • Provide assistance at major accident scenes

Description:  Working Conditions

    • Subject to call for any emergencies as deemed necessary
  • Required to function in hazardous environment

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To apply for a volunteer firefighter position, please fill out this application.

Please submit application by:

1-Print and send the application to, or drop it off at:
Rio Volunteer Fire Department
301 W Rio Street
PO Box 248
Rio, WI 53960



Calls & Statistics
Under Construction
Apparatus and Equipment

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Inspection Division
  • Fire Inspection
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements

Inspection Division
Thank you for visiting the Fire Inspection and Prevention Division of the Rio Volunteer Fire Department.  Please feel free to use the resources we have provided on this website or contact us at any time with questions or concerns.

Occupancy Information
Please help us maintain current building and contact information for your occupancy in case of an emergancy situations. Please click here to comple the form. When the form is complete, print and mail the form to:

Rio Fire Department * PO Box 248 * Rio, WI 53960

Information will be kept confidential and used only for fire inspections and emergancies.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation

Ten Common fire code violations



Robert Lang, Fire Chief

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements
All residential structures in Wisconsin are required to have working Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
As of February 1, 2011 every residential structure (new and existing) is required to be compliant with Administrative Codes SPS 321 and 328 of Wisconsin State Law.  This law requires single family, duplexes and multifamily units (apartments/condos) to install and maintain working Carbon Monoxide Detectors.
For detailed information on the state law, please visit:

 What are Wisconsin Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements?
 Multifamily Residential Structures:
Apartments or Condos where 3 or more units share a roofline are considered “commercial” properties and receive regular fire inspections.  Those structures are also required to have operational CO detectors. Our fire inspectors work closely with the owners of these properties to ensure compliance. 
Single and 2 Family Homes:
If the structure has any of the following, a Carbon Monoxide Detector is required on each level of the structure. 

  • Any fuel burning appliance (stoves, ovens, clothes dryers)
  • Any fuel burning heater, furnace, boiler, water heater or fireplace
  • An attached garage or parking area
  • Placement of the CO Detectors shall be near sleeping areas where possible
  • New Construction must have CO Detectors that are hard-wired and have a battery back-up
  • Installed detectors must bear the listing of an independent testing lab (i.e. UL, ETL, FM)
  • IF the structure does not have ANY fuel fired appliances, then a CO detector is not required
  • CO Detectors are not required in the following areas:
    • Unfinished Attic
    • Garage
    • Attached or detached storage areas

 If you have further questions on Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Monoxide Detectors or the state requirements please contact one of our fire inspectors:

Robert Lang, Fire Inspector:  or (920) 992-5454

Burning Ordinances and Notices
  • Burning in the Village of Rio
  • Burning Ordinances and Notices
  • Burning Permit Information

Burning in the Village of Rio
Burning is prohibited in the Village of Rio. All burning, except as permitted in 9.12(2) and (3) below, is prohibited.   This prohibition shall include but not be limited to: garbage, brush, leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste, asphalt, rubber, plastic and oily substances.
2) Grass Fires.   
Controlled grass fires may be permitted with written permission of the Director of Public Works or the Fire Chief.   Such burning shall be subject to any conditions for the protection of life and property as imposed by the Fire Chief or by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
(3) Campfires. 
(a) Campfires are defined as the burning of wood materials for recreational or entertainment purposes only. 
(b) Campfires shall be permitted only during the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.           
(c) Campfires shall not be kindled in or upon any street, alley, public way, park, public grounds or fire lane.
(d) All campfires must be at least 15 feet from any building or structure and shall be confined and contained within an area protected by a barrier of stones or other non-combustible material which shall be called the "pit."
(e) The interior pit of the campfire shall be no more than three (3) feet in diameter if the campfire is 15-20 feet from any building or structure.  The interior pit may be four (4) feet in diameter if the campfire is 20 or more feet from any building or structure but shall, in no case, be more than four (4) feet in diameter.  Materials burned in the pit shall be no longer than the width of the pit.
(f)  No campfire shall be left unattended.
(g) Campfires shall not be permitted on commercial or manufacturing property except as may be allowed for a special occasion and with written permission of the Director of Public Works or Fire Chief.

Burning Ordinances and Notices
Burning in the Town of Hampden, Town of Leeds, Town of Lowville, Town of Otsego, Town of Springvale, Town of Wyocena is permitted providing certain restrictions are met.  Please review the following burning regulations or visit the DNR website for more information.
 Burning in the Village of Rio is prohibited. All burning except as permitted in 9.12(2) and (3). Please see the Village of Rio Ordinance for more information.
 Keep in mind:

  • At no time shall trash or building materials be burned
  • Small businesses, commercial enterprises, and industries may not use burn barrels or engage in other open burning

Prior to burning check the DNR website at: or by phone 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876). Restrictions are updated daily after 11 a.m.
Any burning in excess of the following: a covered barrel, debris pile less than 6x6x6 feet in size, and grass or wooded area less than 10 acres will require a special permit through the local DNR Ranger Station. If your burn will produce significant smoke, please notify your local sheriff's office at 608-742-7266 to prevent unnecessary emergency responses.
Thank you for your cooperation

To obtain a burning permit you may use one of the following options:

  • By phone:       1-888-947-2876

The DNR will issue you a burn permit by mail or email (your choice)

  •  In person:       Village of Rio * 207 Lincoln Avenue * Rio, WI 53960






Public Education

Public Education
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This is a great way to meet your local firefighters as well as learn how the fire station operates.  Any community group, school group or individual is welcome to arrange a tour of our fire station. 
Visitors will be introduced to the many types of fire fighting and rescue equipment that is carried on a modern day fire truck.  We can tailor the tour to meet your needs.
To Schedule a Tour:
To schedule a tour, call (608)-697-8678 or contact us using this form.  Please schedule at least 14 days in advance.
 Please be aware that the fire station is on 24-hour call.  Even with booked tours, the possibility exists that the crew could be called out and the station will be closed when you arrive.
Fire Extinguisher Classes
We offer fire education classes to individuals and businesses in the Rio fire district. Taught by our firefighters, these classes will give you a chance to learn about common fire safety hazards and get hands-on fire extinguisher training.
Classes are based on participation. If you would like to join a class or arrange a class for your place of business, please fill out this form or call Robert at 608-697-8678.

Presentations and Career Fairs
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Visit with Santa and the Elves
Our firefighters also volunteer at the Grade School and Library each year. If you would like to arrange a visit with Santa and the Elves please fill out this form and we will contact you to make arrangements.

  • Public Education Request
  • Fire Prevention Week and Open House
Under Construction

Fire Prevention Week History
Fire Prevention Week
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on
October 9, 1871.

 According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow - belonging to Mrs. Catherine O'Leary - kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you've heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O'Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.

 The 'Moo' Myth
Like any good story, the 'case of the cow' has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O'Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O'Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out - or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O'Leary herself swore that she'd been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.
But if a cow wasn't to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O'Leary's may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth on October 8, starting several fires that day - in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.

 The Biggest Blaze that Week 
While the Great Chicago Fire was the best-known blaze to start during this fiery two-day stretch, it wasn't the biggest. That distinction goes to the Peshtigo Fire, the most devastating forest fire in American history. The fire, which also occurred on October 8th, 1871, and roared through Northeast Wisconsin, burning down 16 towns, killing 1,152 people, and scorching 1.2 million acres before it ended.
Historical accounts of the fire say that the blaze began when several railroad workers clearing land for tracks unintentionally started a brush fire. Before long, the fast-moving flames were whipping through the area 'like a tornado,' some survivors said. It was the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin that suffered the worst damage. Within an hour, the entire town had been destroyed.

 Eight Decades of Fire Prevention
Those who survived the Chicago and Peshtigo fires never forgot what they'd been through; both blazes produced countless tales of bravery and heroism. But the fires also changed the way that firefighters and public officials thought about fire safety. On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should henceforth be observed not with festivities, but in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.  The commemoration grew incrementally official over the years.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.

(Information courtesy of

Carseat Education and Installation

Child Car Seat Inspection Location
"Car crashes are the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States. The best way to protect them in the car is to put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it the right way.
There are so many car seat types and models, how do you know which one is right for your child? The right car seat or booster fits your child and your car, and is one you will use correctly every time you travel. Not only will your child ride as safely as possible, you will be establishing the foundation for a lifelong habit of seat belt use every time your child travels."
(information courtesy of
To Find a Car seat Clinic:
To view the list of Dane County Car seat Clinics, please visit then click on "calendar of events".
For more information on child safety seats, please visit Parents Central!
Wonder if your Child Seat Has Been Recalled?
Sign up for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall list here!

Fire Extinguisher Classes
Under Construction
Fire Prevention and Safety in YOUR Home
  • Residential Fire Sprinklers
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarm Law
  • Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Killer

Residential Fire Sprinklers

Fire in the home poses one of the biggest threats to the people of your community.  Nearly 400,000 home fires occur every year in the United States and nearly 3,000 people a year died in these home fires.  Home fire sprinklers are a proven way to protect lives and property against fires.  At home these lifesaving systems respond quickly and effectively to the presence of a nearby fire when sprinklers are present they save lives.  If you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.  People in homes with sprinklers are protected against significant property loss.  Sprinklers reduce the average property loss by 74 percent. 

Fire model safety codes now require the use of home fire sprinklers in new one and two family homes.  These requirements offer the highest level of safety to protect the people of your community.  Home sprinkler systems respond quickly to reduce the heat, flames and smoke from a fire, giving families valuable time to get to safety.  Roughly 90% of the time just one sprinkler operates.  Each individual sprinkler is designed and calibrated to go off when it senses a significant heat change.  Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire.
Brought to you by

The fire protection research foundation's home fire sprinkler cost assessment report reveals that the cost of installing home fire sprinklers averages $1.61 per square foot for new construction.  To put the cost of a sprinkler system into perspective many people pay similar amounts for carpet upgrades, a paving stone driveway, or a whirlpool bath.  Sales in many US communities where sprinkler systems are available show that not only are consumers requesting this feature, but also that houses with sprinkler systems are selling faster than those without.  Installing home fire sprinklers can help residents significantly reduce property loss in the event of fire, cut homeowner insurance premiums, help qualify home for a tax rebate, and help support local fire service efforts.

WI Carbon Monoxide Alarm Law

All residential structures in the state of Wisconsin are required to have working Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
As of February 1, 2011 every residential structure (new and existing) is required to be compliant with Administrative Codes SPS 321 and 328 of Wisconsin State Law.  This law requires single family, duplexes and multifamily units (apartments/condos) to install and maintain working Carbon Monoxide Detectors.


  • All single family and two-unit homes – new and existing – must install a CO alarm on every floor level, near sleeping areas.
  • New construction must be hard-wired with a battery back-up.
  • Existing homes may install any type of CO alarms; battery, plug-in, or combination smoke/CO devices.
  • A carbon monoxide detector required under this section shall bear an Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., listing mark.
  • The law took effect February 1, 2011.
  • Alarms should be installed in accordance with directions from manufacturer.



  •  CO alarms are only required in new and existing homes that have any fuel burning appliance, which includes: stoves, ovens, grills, clothes dryers, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, fireplaces and heaters OR an attached garage.
  • Alarms do not need to be installed in the attic, garage or storage area of homes.



  • Test alarms monthly.
  • Replace alarms according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Check batteries and replace twice a year.
  • Alarms should never be disconnected or unplugged.
  • Batteries should never be removed for other uses.


If you have any questions regarding compliance, please contact one of our fire inspectors and they will gladly assist you.

Robert Lang or (920) 992 5454

Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Killer

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)? 
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas (and is a biproduct of combustion).  Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning symptoms are similar to those of the flu, and include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of Breath

How does CO get into your home?
Most homes use fuel to run certain appliances.  Common fuels are wood, pellets, natural gas or propane (LP).  The most common appliances using fuels are:  Stoves, ovens, furnace or heating units, water heaters, and fireplaces.  Generally these appliances are safe to use when installed and maintained correctly. 

Occasionally these appliances lack necessary routine maintenance and cleaning, installation or use of a given appliance was not in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, or they simply malfunction, causing the release of Carbon Monoxide.

Additionally, some of our homes have attached garages or parking areas.  The exhaust of a running vehicle in an area that is not properly ventilated is also a common source of Carbon Monoxide in the home.

How do I know if Carbon Monoxide is present?
The most reliable method to detect CO is through the use of Carbon Monoxide detectors.  CO Detectors are inexpensive and readily available at most home improvement or department retailers.  They are easy to use and provide reliable early detection and early warning of the presence of CO 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What type of CO detector should I have?
IF your home is new construction or you are currently building a home, detectors that are hard wired to the house electrical and have a battery back-up are required by law.

IF your home is existing (built prior to 2011) then state law requires a Carbon Monoxide Detector on EACH level of the home, and located near the sleeping areas.  Purchased detectors may be battery operated, “plug-in” with battery back-up, or hardwired with battery back-up.  Combination smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors are also acceptable.

Installed detectors may have a digital readout, or may initiate a warning sound only, the choice is yours.

I bought Carbon Monoxide Detectors for my home, now where should I place them?
A carbon monoxide detector should be placed on each level of the home near the sleeping areas.  Carbon Monoxide is slightly lighter than air, so it will move throughout the home with circulating air. The detector will function at both “outlet” level, or if you prefer: high on a wall or at ceiling level.  The manufacturer’s instructions for your unit will provide the most accurate placement recommendations for optimal effectiveness.

If my detector begins to alarm, what do I do?
You should evacuate all residents (especially the very young and very old) to fresh air if possible.
If anyone is feeling nauseous, disoriented, has unexplained headache, is unconscious or very tired, or has sudden onset of “feeling ill” in any way,CALL 911 IMEDIATELYas medical assistance may be necessary.
If there are no signs of illness, once everyone has been moved to a safe air environment, then call your natural gas provider.

What are some preventative things that I can do to keep my home safe?

  • Make sure you follow manufacturers recommendations on the use and maintenance of fuel burning appliances
  • Keep up on routine maintenance and cleaning of fuel burning appliances
  • Test your Carbon Monoxide Detector monthly
  • Know and understand the different alerts on your particular model detector.  A low battery alert is different than a full alarm.  (Keep and reference the instructions)
  • Replace the batteries in your detector  at least twice each year   (remember: when you change your clock, change your batteries)
  • Replace alarms at manufacturer recommended intervals (most CO detectors will work properly for approximately 5 years—know when yours will need replacement)

Visit the following links for more information.


Fire Station Location

Location Of Fire Station
301 W Rio Street
Rio, WI 53960


Contact Us

Contact Us

Rio Fire Department
301 W Rio Street
PO Box 248
Rio, WI 53960

Fire Chief
Robert Lang            

1st Assistant Chief
Brian Johnson           

Fire Inspection Division
Robert Lang           

920-992-5655        (office)
608-697-8678        (cell)

Department Fax Number

Please note emails may not be checked on a daily basis.

Additional Resources
  • Helpful Links

Helpful Websites for HazMat and Firefighting



CHRIS Manual                                     
DOT Guidebook                                   
MSDS Sheets                                        
MSDS Sheets                                        
MSDS Sheets                                        
MSDS Sheets                                        



US DOT                                               

National Transportation Safety Board 

LEPC HomePage                                                  
National Fire Academy                               
Federal Emergency Mgmt Agency                
EPA documents                                        
International Association of Firefighters         
American Red Cross                                  

Other Interests


EMT-B site                                                   
Frank Docimo                                       
Fire Nuggets                                          
Fire House Magizine                            
Fire Engineering                                    


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