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A look back at Lodi fire chiefs

Some of the Lodi Fire Department's personnel and equipment were pulled outside for a photograph outside the Fire House No. 1 headquarters at 114 N. Main St. This photograph, likely taken in the late 1940s or early 1950s, shows the 1925 Fire Engine No. 1 and the 1939 Fire Truck No. 1, which carried a 55-foot ladder. Lodi Fire had a few paid firefighters and many volunteers who were summoned to fires and directed where to go by the coded blasts from the city fire alarm horn located behind the main fire station. Standing at the far left next to Engine No. 1 is Forrest Eproson, and standing to the right of the car is Lodi Fire Chief George Polenske. Polenske started as a volunteer with the fire department in 1925. While working in the laundry and dry cleaning business, he was a part-time fire chief from 1931 to 1943. In 1943, he was named Lodi's full-time fire chief, a position he held for the next 20 years. Eproson was hired as a firefighter in 1946. He became chief in 1963 when Polenske retired. Eproson helped design Lodi's present Fire Station No. 1 on West Elm Street and Fire Station No. 3 in the English Oaks area of south Lodi.

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