History of Our Department
When We Began
The town of Lafayette first authorized a fire department on August 10, 1893. The department was known as the Lafayette Hose Cart Company with a chief, two foreman and several firefighters. The city purchased a hose cart, now found displayed on the wall in Fire Station 1, and stationed it behind the union hall. A fire bell, that is now located in front of Fire Station1, was erected to give signal when there was a fire. When the alarm was given, the firemen would rush to the station, strap into the hose cart harness, and pull the cart to the fire. It was reported that the men pulling the cart were so worn out by the time they arrived at the fire scene that bystanders and citizens were pressed into service to start initial fire fighting. In 1904, a second cart was purchased and stationed behind the old post office.
The Racing Team
In 1898, the fire department formed a racing team and entered state and national competitions. In 1924, the Lafayette team broke the world record in the wet test using a hose cart with a time of 27 seconds. The wet test consisted of pulling the hose cart down the street for 600 feet, connecting a hose to a fire hydrant, stretching out the hose and shooting a target.
The Evolution of Our Equipment
The city’s first motorized fire truck was a 1927 Chevrolet. The Volunteer Fireman’s Association purchased a truck chassis and with the aid of the Nelson brothers, blacksmiths and department members, constructed a modern and operational piece of fire fighting equipment. This vehicle is still used by the department for parades and various community activities. In 1945 another new pumper was purchased by the city. These two vehicles served the city until a used truck was purchased from the Lakewood Fire Department. The late 50s also saw the local Civil Defense Office receive a truck free from the U.S. Government to be converted into a usable fire truck. In 1966, the department realized first aid equipment was needed for the citizens and our first rescue vehicle was acquired. In 1968, an American LaFrance cab over built on a Ford chassis was purchased. A Class “A” pumper that was purchased in 1972 was a major step in modernizing the department. A quick attack mini pumper followed in 1978 and a tele squirt in 1980. A 1,000-gallon water tender/pumper was purchased in 1990 followed by a 65’ squirt in the late 90s. Today, a front line 1,500 gpm pumper, a 104' Truck, a 2008 GMC Medium duty Ambulance and a 4 door rescue squad/Haz-Mat unit make up the foundation of our emergency response vehicles.
Back in the early 70s the department addressed another need of the citizens, transporting sick or injured to a hospital. In 1973 a new ambulance was received to replace the 1966 rescue truck. Because of the growth of the city and a substantial increase in the number of medical calls, a second ambulance was acquired in 1975. In the early 80’s the department upgraded care to advanced cardiac life support using EMT-I’s. By 1998, the number of medical calls had increased to the point that we could not continue volunteer staffing an ACLS ambulance 24 hours a day. The department and city contracted with Boulder County Paramedics for ACLS care and transport until January 1st 2007 when the Fire Department decided to create its own Ambulance division staffed 24 hours a day with Firefighter Paramedics. Adding Fire-Medics created our first full time Firefighters available around the clock to serve our community. In 2008 our citizens voted to approve a Mill-Levy Tax to provide a dedicated funding source to our Department, allowing us to bring on eight additional Career Firefighters over a two year period.
Our Fire Stations
In 1962, a new fire station with four bays was built at 110 North Harrison. The cost of construction was $16,625. In 1980 two extra bays were added to house our ever-growing fleet of trucks. By the mid 90s the department had outgrown the old station and a new station was planned. We moved into the new station in July of 1999. The cost of this station was $2,000,000. We now had living quarters, office space for the chief, officers, secretary, Fire Marshal, a large training room and 5 double bays for equipment. Today we are running with five career personnel on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, supplemented by our highly trained reserve staff.