The Adel Fire Department Fundraiser was a HUGE success.  Thank you to everyone who made this event possible.  We couldn’t have done it without the support of our local businesses, the volunteers who helped organize and work our event, and the kindness and generosity of all who supported the event by their outright donations, in-kind gifts, and the purchase of t-shirts and auction items.

If you weren’t able to make the event due to the weather/location change, illness, or other conflict, but would still like to help, you may send your donations to the Adel Fire Department Fundraiser, 1126 Greene St., Adel, IA 50003.

Firemen welcome Larry and Sandy Schmitz to their new home.

Schmitz House Rebuilt after Fire

See more photos in our gallery.

On October 5th, 2010 – volunteers presented a check to the Adel Fire Department for $20,000.

Adel Fire Department

Adel Fire Department

Adel Fire Department

See more photos from the event in our gallery.

Highlights from Fire Chief Matt Ireland’s Presentation Regarding the Fire that Destroyed the Schmitz Home

  • On August 8th, there were at least three working structure fires and many more false alarms due to the massive electrical storm that evening.
  • The homeowner’s insurance company hired Unified Investigations and Sciences, Inc. who purchased a STRIKEnet report from the National Lightning Detection Network.
    • Each & every stroke of lightning in the United States is recorded with pinpoint accuracy of location, time, and estimated amount of electrical energy.
    • In a 2 hour period that includes the beginning of this fire:
      • 1162 strikes of ligtning within 5 miles of the golf course
      • 23 strikes with 1/2 mile of the Schmitz home
      • 9 strikes within 500 feet of Larry & Sandy’s lot
      • 4 within 250 feet of their house
      • the one that destroyed Larry & Sandy’s home weighed in at 65,300 AMPS and struck at exactly 10:52:47 PM.
  • The 911 call from the Joseph house was at 11:15 PM (23 minutes after the lightning strike).
  • The Adel Fire Department arrived on scene 11 minutes after the call was made.
  • The Fire Department was on scene at the Joseph’s home for 22 minutes before discovering the fire at the Schmitz home.
  • From lightning bolt strike until the fire venting through the roof was FIFTY minutes.
  • Search, Rescue, and Evacuation was completed within 3 minutes.
  • Roof collapse occurred within 90 seconds after the evacuation was completed, which was just under an hour after the home was struck by lightning.

What can I do to help the Adel Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department?

  • The Adel Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department has applied for a Federal grant to replace our aging 20 year old first out pump engine.  The cost to replace this truck is approximately $350,000 to $400,000.  Please Contact Iowa Congressman Tom Latham to let him know that you support the Adel Fire Department and you would request that he assist the fire department with federal funding to replace our truck that plays a critical role in protecting Adel.
  • When you see one of the members of the Adel Fire Department or their family members, thank them for their service.  They devote hundreds of hours of time to protect you, your homes and businesses, and your loved ones.  They are almost ALWAYS on call and respond to their pagers no matter what else is going on.  This means they leave their families and friends and rush to help save yours.
    • “Many times the calls they are responding to are false alarms.  In more serious cases, they respond to car accidents.  Even less frequently, they are called to a brush fire.  The rarest of calls is a structure fire, when someone’s home or business is burning.  These are the times when people really see firefighters as heroes.  These are the calls that all volunteers are most eager to get to, but dread the most.  These are the ones that have the highest risk of real human cost.  The pride and dedication of your volunteer firefighters is what makes them drop everything they are doing to keep those in our community safe, as well as protect each other while responding.”  (Except from Chief Ireland’s presentation on 09/19/10)

What Happened?

Adel Fire Department saves family

On August 8th, 2010, Larry & Sandy Schmitz lost their home and all their possessions in a tragic fire caused by a violent storm.  While they were sleeping, a lightning bolt struck their house and started a fire in their attic.  Their next-door neighbors, the Josephs, smelled smoke and called 911.

When the Adel Fire Department was searching the Joseph residence, they noticed fire shooting through the roof at the Schmitz home.  Fire fighters were forced to break into the home to get Larry & Sandy outside to safety.  Just seconds later, the entire roof of the home collapsed in flames.

Although they lost everything in the fire, Larry and Sandy are requested that all donations be made to the Adel Fire Department.  Their neighborhood organized a community fundraiser and appreciation dinner to attend to honor the brave men and women who saved the Schmitz family and who volunteer to protect the Adel community each and every day.