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Monday, 22 December, 2014

420 N. POKEGAMA AVENUE


1st Annual Grand Rapids Fire vs Cohasset Fire Boot Hockey Game

Tuesday night, two departments set aside their mutual aid agreements to take part in a head to head boot hockey competition. It was a great night of training, as both departments took part in the quarterly air pack training, and

GRFD Awarded Enbridge Energy Grant

The Grand Rapids Fire Department was recently awarded an Enbridge Energy Safe Community Grant. The grant is available to any agency that has an enbridge energy pipeline that runs through their community. It can be used for training, equipment, and

Fill the Boot

The Grand Rapids Fire Department is giving muscle disease the boot!   60 years ago the International Association of Fire Fighters made a promise. Firefighters will not stop raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) until a cure is found. Every

The Grand Rapids Fire Department is rich in history and tradition, and our members have continued to serve their community with pride, courage and integrity for more than 115 years.

In March of 1893, the first Pokegama Hotel burned to the ground. At that time, Grand Rapids did not have a regular fire department, but the village did own a chemical engine and hook and ladder equipment (valued at $2,000). However, the chemical engine was rendered useless on this call when it became frozen solid within minutes of responding, and likewise, the La Prairie Hook and Ladder Company had difficulty assisting in the call due to the deep snow.

On December 8, 1894, the Grand Rapids Village Council officially voted to form a village volunteer fire department. Ordinance Number 23 officially formed the Grand Rapids Fire Department and Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 to protect the nearly 1,500 residents within the village.

During this time and into the late 1920’s, the Grand Rapids Fire Department was divided into two very distinct units: Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 and Hose Company No. 1.

In the early 1900’s there were many spectacular fires in Grand Rapids due to, among other things, wood frame construction and poor heating plants.

In 1908, department membership bolstered 36 firefighters – the highest in the department’s history – and members received $10 per year under conditions of Ordinance #48.

In 1923, the first motorized fire engine was purchased by the Village of Grand Rapids: a 1923 Graham Bros. (Dodge) for $4,751.00. This truck was later refurbished in the late 1980’s by department personnel and it is still used as a parade unit today.

At the present time the Grand Rapids Fire Department is comprised of 30 paid on call firefighters, a Fire Chaplain, a ½ time paid Fire Inspector position, and an operating budget of nearly $600,000.00. The department provides fire suppression, rescue, and hazardous materials response for more than 20,000 people residing in the cities of Grand Rapids, LaPrairie, and 6 other townships, in an area that totals more than 270 square miles. 

Our fleet consists of 11 different apparatus and various trailers and support equipment located in two stations, including a 2009 Pierce 95’ Aerial Platform Ladder Truck at a purchase price of nearly $1 million. Our department has also been a contractor to the State of Minnesota as a Hazardous Materials Chemical Assessment Team since 1995, primarily covering 9 counties in northern Minnesota for hazmat emergencies.

Although the size of the Grand Rapids area has grown, the faces and names of the department have changed, and the firefighting strategies and tactics have evolved, the mission of the Grand Rapids Fire Department remains constant: "To provide the best possible service to the citizens and surrounding communities in the areas of fire suppression, rescue, and fire prevention and education at the best possible value for our customers."