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History of the New Baltimore Fire Department

 In 1887 the village of New Baltimore asked the voters if they wanted to form a fire brigade.  They asked the voters to spend $1,000.00 on an engine and the materials needed to equip it.  On Monday March 5, 1887 the voters pass the issue by a vote of 64 to 18.  On August 16, 1887 village council approved the purchase of a two-man pull engine for $575.00 and the hose cart for $225.00.  The village had 41 volunteer firemen led by Chief Charles Meyers  

On august 20, 1888 the village council approved the installation of four brick cisterns costing $50.00 each and water lines for firefighting.  They were installed at Main & Base, Washington & Main, Washington & Green and Base & Green.   

 

The first organization of the village fire department came January 14, 1894.  The department had 37 members under the direction of Chief C.H. Meier.  The department had two Asst. Chiefs, two Captains, one treasurer and one secretary.  The department also had its first constitution and by-laws.  

The department underwent a re-organization on January 23, 1903.  The Chief appointed to lead the men was Charles Gibbons.  The department now had 12 members serving the city.  The first recorded fire happened on September 1, 1903.  This was for a house fire at the corner of Front & Base. 

While New Baltimore was still a village the department added two more trucks to its inventory.  In 1918 a Dodge truck was purchased and the second truck was purchase in 1924.  In 1926 the village approved both the 1918 Dodge and 1924 Ford to be re painted Red.  In 1931 the village retired the 1918 Dodge and purchased a new 1931 Dodge pumper. 

On December 31, 1931 the village fire department was disbanded.  The village was becoming a city and on January 1, 1932 the city fire department was formed under Fire Chief Harold Helwig.  In 1935 the city built the water department on Front St. and installed hydrants in the city.  This helped reduce the need for water tankers in the city.  The fire department was housed on Front St. with the water department. 

During the Second World War there were no records found about the New Baltimore fire department.  

After World War Two the department purchased a 1946 Ford pumper, it had a 500-gallon tank with a 500-gallon a minute pump. The department added an American LaFrance engine to the inventory in 1958.  This engine had a 750-gallon tank with a 1000-gallon a minute pump.

In 1968 the department purchased a Ford utility van.  This was used to carry turnout gear and equipment.  The van was equipped with a stretcher and oxygen to be used on rescues.  This vehicle is also the first piece of apparatus to have a two way radio installed.  The department still operates on the same county fire band today (154.130 mhz) 

In 1972 the fire department moved from Front St. to its current location at 36535 Green St. In 1976 the department added a Mack Quint with a 55-foot aerial ladder. During the seventies the department had a paid on call section of fifteen firefighters and an auxiliary corps of fifteen men. During the seventies and most of the eighties the department was lead by Chief Bill Schmid. During the eighties the department grew to 26 members all paid on call. The department ran about 75 calls a year.

In 1986 the department purchased a Pierce engine that is still in service. In 1989 Chief Schmid left the fire service and Assistant Chief Larry Marcero took over as Chief of the department. 

The Dept purchased a Pierce Heavy Rescue in 1992 that can be used be used in just about every response possible. This vehicle contains everything from firefighter’s gear to the Jaw’s of life. In 2000, the dept purchased a Pierce Ariel Ladder truck that can extend the plateform 85’ and pump over 2000 gallons of water per minute. Finally, Rescue 2 which is primarily a medical response vehicle, was upgraded in 2002 with a new Ford Chassy and a four door cab while retaining the old cab on the back which was completely referbished.

 In 2003, Assistant Chief Ken Little succeeded Chief Marcero and held this position until July of 2005. In July 2005, our dept hired a full time fire Chief, Ken Lawfield, for the first time in the Fire Dept history.

Today

The New Baltimore Fire Department consists of 25 paid on call firefighters. Currently there is one full time firefighter, Chief Lawfield. Our current apparatus can be viewed on our web page by clicking on the Apparatus link. The Chesterfield Twp. Police Department is contracted to provide dispatching services for the fire & police department. We serve a city of 4.6 square miles with a population of over 12,000 people in which the dept responds to well over 600 calls a year. With no fire mileage to support our services at this time, we are funded thru the cities general fund.  The city has an ISO rating of 6, which in Michigan is graded on a scale of 1-10. The rating of one being the best and ten being the worst. The ISO rating determines what your insurance company charges you for homeowners insurance. All our firefighters attend the Macomb Fire Academy run by Macomb Community College and are licensed by the State of Michigan at a Medical First Responder level, but many members are E.M.T.s or Paramedics. Our firefighters are required to have Haz Mat awareness or operations level training as well. We also have ice rescue training & equipment to assist our winter fishermen in and around our community. Our firefighters meet every Tuesday night at 7 P.M. at the fire department. We maintain our equipment, clean the hall, perform training drills, and receive continuing education credits for our medical license thru Medstar Ambulance Service.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

I would like to thank the MacDonald Library for helping me discover the history of our fire department.  Thru many old newspaper clippings and Skinners history of New Baltimore I have put this brief history together. If any past member or resident has more to offer please contact Cpt Jeff Brossard thru the websites e-mail or call the hall during Tuesday nights.  

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