Fire Department History

On Sunday Morning March 18, 1860 a disastrous fire occurred in Black River Falls.  The entire business district burned with the exception of three buildings.  A total of 40 buildings were destroyed in the fire.  Another disastrous fire occurred on Monday morning July 14, 1870 when the Spaulding house burned.  The Methodist church bell alerted citizens of the fire and within minutes more than a thousand persons had gathered at the scene.  The Spaulding house was a three story brick building built in 1868 and housed a large mercantile business.  The house was located on the northwest corner of Harrison and North Water Streets.  In 1871 water works were installed from the Black River to supply water for firefighting and to water the town streets to keep the dust down.

The Black River Falls Fire Department was established on May 20, 1872 and at that time was called Albion Hose Co. #1.  The companies bylaws were strict.  The members were not paid , but if a fireman misses a practice two times in succession they were fined three dollars and would lose his right to vote.  Each Member provided their own uniform: a red shirt, red tie and suitable belt. The company used hose carts until 1918 when the company purchased a truck with soda-acid capabilities.  In 1923 a new Oshkosh-Pirsch with a chain drive pump was put into service.

1923 Oshkosh

In 1940 and Oshkosh-Howe 500 gallon per minute pumper was added to the fleet.

1940 Oshkosh

A rural fire department was formed by following agreements set forth by local townships, but was run and owned by the city fire department.  The department still operates like this today.  The city built the current fire hall in 1966 to replace the 75 year-old overcrowded fire hall.

Previous location just west of the current intersection of Main and North 2nd street.