Winona Fire Department







Winona Fire Department History

The first attempt to give the City of Winona fire protection was in 1857, a few months after the city was incorporated. The population at the time was about 3,000.

Winona is situated on the Mississippi River approximately 120 miles south of the State Capital, St. Paul. Since Winona is in the Mississippi Valley, it is “land locked” by the Mississippi River and the “bluff lands.” Winona is long and narrow and cut diagonally by railroad tracks.  Thus, two fire stations protect Winona.

The paid Winona Fire Department was organized November 1, 1889 under the direction of John W. Ryan, a captain from the Milwaukee Fire Department, as Fire Marshal. The department consisted of 14 paid personnel.

The department responds to over 2,000 calls for help annually.  Sixty-nine percent of these calls are medical or rescue in nature.  Nine-nine percent of the calls are remedied by the on duty crew.  By Council Resolution the department maintains five firefighters on duty 24/7 ready to respond.

At one point there were 44 paid positions in the department. In 2009 there are 21 full-time firefighting positions and one 1/2 time secretary and there are 30 part-time positions authorized.

Forty-hour positions include the Fire Chief;  Assistant Chief in charge of Fire Prevention;  the Assistant Chief in charge of Training; and a secretary.

The shift personnel consist of six captains and twelve firefighter/drivers.  Of the twelve firefighters, nine of them are paramedics. The department protects 27,069 people within 22 square miles of the city limits.

The department is active in all phases of the fire/rescue profession.

It’s fleet of apparatus includes two front line pumpers, two back-up pumpers, a 105-foot aerial, a 2000 gallon tanker and several support vehicles.

Annual Report & City Code
Emergency Management

The City of Winona contracts with Winona County for Emergency Management services.  The Winona Fire Chief acts as the liaison to the Emergency Management Director for planning, budgeting and during actual emergencies within the city.

The Emergency Management Director works as the liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help secure federal funds following natural disasters such as floods and severe weather.  This position coordinates efforts of multi-agency responses to large scale incidents and chairs the monthly meetings of the Winona County Emergency Coordinating Council.

Current projects that the Emergency Management Director is involved in include:

  • A new outdoor early warning siren system was installed in the City in 2000/01
  • Create and coordinate a Winona County Fire Chiefs’ Association
  • NOAA Weather Transmitter
  • Monitoring of hazardous material incidents in the county
  • Works with local volunteer amateur radio group to ensure there is a back-up communication system in the event of a failure of primary system.

Emergency Management Related Links

Emergency Management

Winona County Law Enforcement Center
201 W. 3rd St.
Winona, MN 55987
(507) 457-6368
fax: (507) 454-9387

Carbon Monoxide Information

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Appliances fueled with natural gas, liquefied petroleum (LP gas), oil, kerosene, coal, or wood may produce CO. Burning charcoal produces CO. Running cars produce CO.

Every year, over 200 people in the United States die from CO produced by fuelburning appliances (furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters). Others die from CO produced while burning charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent. Still others die from CO produced by cars left running in attached garages. Several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms for treatment for CO poisoning.

Fire Safety & Smoke Detectors

August 1, 1993, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill requiring smoke detectors in every dwelling in the state. Smoke detectors are life saving devices, designed to be placed outside the sleeping area of your home.

In addition, the Winona Fire Department recommends a smoke detector be placed on every level of your home to ensure earliest possible warning in the event of a fire. In order to be effective, smoke detectors must be installed according to manufacturer’s instructions, they must be tested monthly, and batteries changed annually.

Smoke Alarms
    • Have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home
      and outside bedrooms.
    • Test smoke alarms monthly and change batteries at least
      once every year.
    • Consider buying a lithium battery powered smoke alarm,
      which may last up to ten years with no battery change.
    • Install smoke alarms away from air vents.
    • Install smoke alarms on ceiling or wall, at least 4 inches from corners. When affixed to walls, smoke alarms should be between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling. Never disable or remove smoke alarm batteries.
Escape Planning
  • Develop a fire escape plan with your household and practice often.
  • Know two ways to exit from every room in your home.
  • Make sure safety bars on windows can be opened from inside your home.
  • Crawl low, under smoke.
  • Feel closed doors. If hot, use another exit.
  • Identify a place to meet household members outside. Never re-enter a burning
  • Escape first and then call for emergency assistance.
Fire Safety Walk Through
  • Keep clothes, blankets, curtains and other combustibles at least three feet from
    space heaters.
  • Place space heaters where they will not tip over easily.
  • Have chimneys cleaned and inspected annually by a
  • Clean the area around the hearth of debris, flammables and
    decorative materials.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces and leave glass doors open while
    burning a fire.
  • Keep clothes, towels and other combustibles away from stove burners.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Be sure your stove and small appliances are off before
    going to bed.
  • Check for frayed wires and do not run cords under rugs
    or furniture.
  • Never overload electrical sockets.
  • Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave cigarettes unattended.
  • Never smoke in bed.
Fire Works
Minnesota Statues pertaining to Fireworks

624.20 Fireworks
(c) The term also does not include wire or wood sparklers of not more than 100 grams of mixture per item, other sparkling items which are non-explosive and non-aerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical mixture per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes, snakes and glow worms, smoke devices, or trick noisemakers which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops, each consisting of not more than twenty-five hundredths grains of explosive mixture. The use of items in this paragraph is not permitted on public property. This paragraph does not authorize the purchase of items listed in it by persons younger than 18 years of age. The age of a purchaser of items listed in this paragraph must be verified by photographic identification.

624.24 Officers may seize illegal fireworks
The state fire marshal, or any sheriff, police officer, constable, or local fire marshal, shall seize, take, remove, or cause to be removed, at the expense of the owner, all stocks of fireworks or combustibles offered or exposed for sale, stored, or held in violation of sections 624.20 to 624.25.

624.25 Violation
Any person violating the provisions of sections 624.20 to 624.24 may be sentenced as follows:
     1. I f the violation involves explosive fireworks in an amount of 35 pounds gross container weight or more, to imprisonment for not
more than one year, or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both; and
     2. If violation involves explosive fireworks in an amount of less than 35 pounds gross container weight, to imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or to payment of a fine of not more than $700, or both; and
     3. If the violation involves any amount of fireworks other than explosive fireworks, to imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or to payment of a fine of not more than $700, or both.

Disposal Information:
Confiscated legal fireworks may be disposed of by safely discharging them as their design intended. Confiscated legal fireworks might be those used on public property in violation of MS 624.20 as cited above.

Contact for disposal:
     Liberty Disposal Services, Inc.
     PO box 401
     Iron Mountain, MI 49801
     Phone/Fax: 866-933-4776

This service is free, including pickup and has been thoroughly checked by the Blaine Police Department to ensure the company is in compliance with all state and federal laws.

Additional Information is available on the Division Web site or by contacting

Bob Dahm
Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal

Fire Works State Laws

Wire or wood sparklers of not more than 100 grams of mixture per item. Other sparklers items which are nonexplosive and non-aerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical mixture per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes and include:

      • Cylindrical Fountain – Upon ignition, a shower of colored sparks or smoke and sometimes a whistling effect is produced.
      • Cone Fountain – The effect is the same as that of cylindrical fountain. When more than 1 cone is mounted on a common base, total pyrotechnic composition may exceed 200 grams.
      • Illuminating Torch Wheel – Pyrotechnic device intended to be attached to a post or tree by means of nail or string. Upon ignition, the wheel revolves, producing a shower of color and sparks and, sometimes, a whistling effect.
      • Ground spinner – Small device venting out an orifice usually on the side of the tube. Similar in operation to a wheel but intended to be placed flat on the ground and ignited. The rapidly spinning device produces a shower of sparks and color.
      • Filter sparkler– narrow paper tube attached to a stick or wire that produces color and sparks upon ignition. The paper at one end of the tube is ignited to make the device function.
      • Flash/Strobe – Emit a bright light Novelty items such as snakes and glow worms, smoke devices, or trick noisemakers which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops, each consisting of not more than 25 hundredths grains of explosive mixture.

FIREWORKS THAT CONTINUE TO BE ILLEGAL to sell, possess and use, except as permitted under Minnesota Statute 624.20

    • Any fireworks that are explosive – Any fireworks that are aerial
    • Firecrackers (any size)
    • Ladyfingers
    • Sky rockets
    • Bottle rockets
    • Missile type rockets
    • Helicopters, aerial spinners, planes, UFOs
    • Roman Candles
    • Mines or shells (heavy cardboard or paper tube(s) attached to a base-upon ignition stars, balls or reports are propelled into the air)
    • Chasers
    • Parachutes
    • 1.3G Display (special or class B) Fireworks
    • Aerial shells
    • Theatrical pyrotechnics (see Minn. Stat. 624.20 to 624.25)

Basically, any fireworks listed above are still not legal for public sale, possession or use, except with a permit and by a certified operator according to Minnesota Statute 624.20. (i.e. these fireworks are still not legal unless a permit has been issued by the local jurisdiction and they are used by a state certified operator)

Recreational Fires
Can I have a recreational fire in my yard?
Yes, the fire must be contained in an outdoor fireplace, barbeque or noncombustible
fire ring and you need to follow the appropriate requirements for open burning.
Can I have an open fire pit or ring?
Open fire pits or rings are limited to 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. They shall be located at least 100 feet from all structures and no more than 150 feet from a street or alley with a minimum width of 20 feet to allow for fire apparatus access.
Can I use a manufactured fire place or fire ring?
Commercially manufactured fireplaces or fire rings may be used if they are
equipped with a spark arresting screen that is in place during burning. They must be located at least 20 feet from an occupied structure and 10 feet from an unoccupied structure.
What can I burn?
Only clean dry lumber and trees may be burnt. No painted, varnished or treated lumber or wood may be burnt. No litter, trash, garbage, leaves, paper, etc may be burnt. Burning these items is a violation of State law and City ordinance
Burning shall be in a manner so that dense smoke and noxious fumes are not created. Dense smoke or noxious fumes could be deemed to be a public nuisance.
Fire attendance

Fires shall be constantly attended. It is always advisable to have a garden hose, bucket of water, fire extinguisher or other means to extinguish the fire if the need should arise.

For more information call the Winona Fire Department at 507-457-8266 or the Protective Inspections Division at 507-457-8231.

Winter Fire Prevention
Tips for Winter

Winter in Minnesota can be snowy and bright…or windy and cold. Either way, it’s important to make sure your family is safe from accidents that can happen inside when it gets cold outside.

In the winter, heating  and cooking are the most common causes of fires at home. Fires usually start when towels, paper, or clothing are too close to candles, the stove or fireplace.

Space heaters can also start fires when left too close to furniture, curtains, or clothing.

Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that burns and never buy a space heater without a safety switch that turns the space heater off should it accidentally fall on the floor.

Fireplaces help heat the house, but if the chimney isn’t clean, dangerous fires can start. Have an expert check the chimney each year to be sure it is safe. When lighting fires, use clean wood – never paper – and close fire doors so flames and smoke stay in the chimney. If you decorate for a winter holiday, turn off the lights and blow out candles before you sleep or leave the house. Plants and trees should be watered often so they don’t dry out and spark a fire from stoves, heaters, candles or holiday lights.

It only takes a few seconds for candles to start a fire. Remember the “three feet” rule? Keep candles at least three feet away from clothing or furniture. Melting wax can spread fire to papers, so keep candles in containers big enough to hold hot wax. And make sure children and pets don’t get close to candles either.

To protect your family, buy and install smoke alarms. Most fire deaths happen in homes without smoke detectors with fresh batteries to sound an alarm when fire starts.

It’s also good to talk to your family about what they should do to get out of the house fast when there is fire. Fire alarms will give you time to get out…but smoke and heat can make it hard to see the way. Talk to the fire department for safety tips. Fire is one danger, but a poison gas called carbon monoxide might be more dangerous because you can’t see, taste it, or even smell it.

Carbon monoxide can leak from gas appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, or kitchen stoves. Never use a charcoal or barbeque grill in your house because these give off lots of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide also comes from cars. Always start the car engine outside or leave the garage door open. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be mistaken for the flu because it makes you sick with a headache, stomach ache, dizziness, and vomiting.

If symptoms improve when you leave your house, it may be carbon monoxide that is making you sick. If you feel sick, try opening windows or if necessary, get out of the house and see a doctor or medical professional for help. It’s a good idea to have gas appliances checked each year by someone trained to detect poison gas leaks and install a carbon monoxide detector in your home…so the alarm goes off in time to keep your family safe.

Christmas Tree State Code

Information on Christmas Trees according to the MN State Fire Code

  1. Natural or resin bearing Christmas trees or decorations, with lights, are allowed to be used within the individual dwelling units of Residential occupancies which include; Apartment buildings, Boarding houses, Dormitories, Duplexes, etc. However they may be placed in the common areas of the buildings. Also, it is the privilege of the property owner or management of such buildings to not allow such trees in their buildings. We have no jurisdiction over such rules.
  2. Natural or resin bearing Christmas trees or decorations, without electric lights or open flame, are allowed to be used within the following occupancies;
    1. Educational occupancies
    2. Assembly occupancies used for worship services (churches)
    3. Residential occupancies used as hotels, in the common areas.
    4. Business occupancies
    5. Mercantile occupancies
  3. Natural or resin bearing Christmas trees or decorations are not allowed to be used within any Assembly occupancy which include; Theaters, Auditoriums, Gymnasiums and Meeting rooms, Restaurants and Bars with an occupant load of 50 or more, etc.
    EXCEPTION: Natural or resin bearing Christmas trees or decorations, without electric lights or open flame, are allowed in places of worship (churches).
  4. In all other occupancies, natural or resin bearing Christmas or decorations are not allowed to be used.
  5. Flame retardant artificial Christmas trees and decorations, with electric lights, are permitted in all occupancies.
  6. No Christmas tree whether real or artificial, in any occupancy, shall be placed in any area that will block or obstruct access to required exits or obstruct or block access to any fire protection equipment.
  7. Electric lights must be UL approved.
Christmas Tree Facts

The use and display of natural or resin-bearing Christmas trees is permitted in dwelling units of apartment buildings and in single -family dwellings. The use and display of natural or resin-bearing Christmas trees without the use of candles or electric lights is permitted in schools, churches, hotels, and businesses as long as they do not obstruct exits or fire protection equipment.

The use or display of flame-retardant artificial trees with listed electric light decorations is allowed in all occupancies as long as they do not obstruct access to exits or fire-protection equipment.

The following items are a reprint of the requirements relating to Christmas trees found in the 2003 Minnesota State Fire Code:

804.1.1 Christmas trees. The use and display of natural or resin-bearing Christmas trees is prohibited.


The use and display of natural or resin-bearing Christmas trees or decorations inside individual dwelling units of Group R-2 and -3 occupancies are permitted.

Natural or resin-bearing trees without open flames or electric lights are allowed in Group E occupancies used for hotels and congregate residences, and Group B and M occupancies.

804.1.1.1 Use of artificial Christmas trees. The use or display of flame-retardant artificial trees with listed electric light decorations is allowed in all occupancies as long as they meet the requirements of 804.1.1.2.

804.1.1.2 Location. Christmas trees shall not block access to required exits or obstruct, impair or block access to any fire-protection device, appliance or equipment.

Home Safety Walk Through

Temporarily Suspended

Fire Department Tours

The Winona Fire Department conducts tours of the Central Station and West Station upon request and we do fire truck visits to schools and daycares too.

To schedule a tour or visit contact Assistant Chief Jason Theusch at 457-8266.

Links To State & National Fire Agencies