The Adrian Fire Department was established on June 19, 1841 and was comprised of prominent men from the growing community. In the early days being a fireman was a very straightforward job. The bell would sound an alarm for fires; the men would assemble at the station, then proceed to the spot, and attempt to suppress the fire. Putting out fires was not easily accomplished. Early on, the men pulled the vehicle, in later years the steamers were pulled by a team of horses. Either way, the trip was usually through ruts, mud and snow, or around any number of obstacles.
Once at the location, getting a supply of water to provide a steady flow of water was just as difficult as the trip itself. Many valiant efforts were made to stop the fire quickly. Unfortunately, many times the effort put forth was in vain as the fire would have a significant head start and the result was normally a large loss.
In 1867, the “Steam Fire Department,” began after a reorganization of fire suppression services. A few full-time firemen were employed to perform daily duties and respond to fires. As in the past, volunteers were still utilized to respond.
In 1914, the department received its first motorized fire apparatus. The year 1919 saw the volunteer firefighter service discontinued in favor of a two-platoon system. This platoon system utilized seven men on each shift of 12 hours each, seven days a week. The system was recommended to the city by an examiner from the Michigan Inspection Bureau and eventually grew to three, 13 men platoons working 24 hour shifts.
For more information about A.F.D.’s history, please contact Lt. Jeff Betz via email or telephone at 517-264-4856 ex. 4757.