History & Facts of the Aberdeen Fire Department
1883 to 1890
- A volunteer department that was independent of the city government performed Aberdeen’s fire services.
- They were a social organization as well as a firefighting team, with two hose companies and one ladder company.
- They ran to the fires pulling their equipment on wagons.
- Their first fire call was in 1884, but the fire was put out before they got on scene.
- They were out of town a lot going to tournaments. In 1887 they won World Championship in the ladder race in Mitchell. About 20 or so men in single file, all but one grasping a rope, pulled their ladder cart 300 yards while one man would run along side, his job was to climb the ladder, at which time the clock stopped. Their record time was 46 seconds.
- In 1888 at Huron, they lost to Miller's team, which was timed at 44.5 seconds. The Aberdeen team blamed the judges for crookedness.
- In these early years the City Council felt the response time was getting slow, so they offered $5 for the first hose team at a fire and $3 for the second
- In 1890 after a dispute with the city fathers, all three companies disbanded.
- 1890 - An Unpaid Fire Department
- The City Council bought a horse drawn truck and appointed men to a department (volunteer). They received $25 per year. The new Chief received $100 per year. Fire department logs show that it cost $1.60 per horse to have them shod. Some of the horses’ names included Teddy, Add, Max, Jim, and Ira.
- The department remained on a volunteer basis till 1909 when paid firemen were hired.
- 1910 - 2010
- The first chief of the department, Frank Carter, served till 1910.
- In 1911, some of the duties included cleaning beds, airing bedding, washing horse stalls, practicing hitching, exercising the team, and packing horses' feet in clay. When there was snow on the streets they did not have to pack the horses' feet.
- The first fire station was in the old City hall just north of the present City Hall and moved to the east in 1913 when the present City hall was built. (The present fire station was built in 1981.)
- An old barn was converted into a fire station just north of the present No. 2, which was built in 1930.
- The first steam pumper was purchased in 1910. Prior to that, pressure from artesian wells had been relied upon.
- The department became motorized in 1915, with the purchase of a white truck used till 1935.
- In 1956 the department had 25 men.
- In 2008 the North Main Street fire station was replaced by the newly constructed station on Northwest Eighth Avenue. This was done to improve response times to the southwest, northwest, and north-central parts of the city.
- As of 2010, there are 48 employees employed by the department.