Olson at work at BFD in November of 1995.

By Ryan Broege, Editor –

The day Bob Olson joined up with the Brodhead Fire Department, an arsonist had been working all across town, setting nearly a dozen different fires. Olson was tailing the fire trucks, and admits now he was being a little nosy. A farmer finally challenged him, “I’ve seen you following us, why don’t you just get on?”

Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of that date, and Olson is still with the department. Olson said when he applied for the department in March of 1968, he did not think he would be there long. Nodding up toward the 11 fire chiefs whose photos hang on the wall of the Brodhead Fire District building, Olson notes that he has worked for seven of them.

Pick up this week’s print edition for full story….