Mike Noonan

Lincoln County Fire Protection District 1 Captain Mike Noonan performs online training with the Missouri State Division of Fire Safety. Noonan is also an adjunct professor of fire safety at the University of Missouri.

Troy, Mo. - In 26 years with Lincoln County Fire Protection District No. 1, Capt. Mike Noonan has seen pretty much everything from cats stuck in trees to calls of birds stuck in trees.

He is a true original in every way.

As one of the first four paid full-time firefighters with the department, Noonan has a lifetime of stories, good and bad, funny and tragic. 

However, all of them are part and parcel of a long career that began when he was working security for Emerson Electric in Winfield. 

“The firehouse was two blocks from my house (in Moscow Mills), and the guys were having a good time, so I became a volunteer,” said Noonan, a Jennings native whose father, Bob, is the former police chief of the Wentzville Police Department, and his brother is a 20-year police veteran. “Public safety runs in my family.”

Noonan took his volunteer duties seriously, though he enjoyed his time with the guys. When LCFPD1 started hiring full-time firefighters, Noonan was one of the first people considered.

“I went to school to become an EMT, because if I’m going to do this, I better know what I’m doing,” he said. “The chief at the time, Melvin Gilbert, came to me and asked me if I wanted to come on full-time.

“I had to ask my wife if I should do it, because it was a cut in pay.”

Fast forward nearly three decades later, Noonan is not only still leading younger firefighters into battle - he is also training them.

“We train for this still pretty hard. Things always happen,” he said. “I also train firefighters as an adjunct professor for the University of Missouri.”

However, no matter how much training one has, no amount of it can prepare anyone for the darkest of days, when the inevitable will happen: fatalities occur in fires or car accidents.

“I’ve seen everything from old people to babies,” Noonan said. “You want to be able to help people, but you know you won’t be able to help them all.”

Noonan said part of a firefighter’s job is to be empathetic.

“For the people we’re responding to, it’s the darkest day of their lives, whether they’ve lost things in a fire, they’re sick or they’ve been in a car accident,” he said.

Nevertheless, Noonan said he, along with everyone else at LCFPD1, are proud to help those in need in the area.

“Nine times out of 10, we know we’re doing this for the good of the people,” he said. “It’s a common saying, but it’s the truth.

“We love to help people here in Lincoln County.”