The City of Fond du Lac Fire / Rescue was founded in March of 1848, when Jon Bannister and A.L. Ellsworth were appointed Fire Wardens by City officials. Their duties focused on the inspection of structures for hazards and to insure that brush was kept a safe distance from buildings.
On September 3, 1849 the City of Fond du Lac purchased buckets, hooks and ladders and a bucket brigade was formed. Equipment would also be borrowed from wherever possible when a fire was being fought.
In the summer of 1854 Azro Taylor was appointed the first Fire Chief of Fond du Lac. In the same year the first hand operated fire pump was purchased for $2800.00, and the first organized fire company was established. They were named the Washington Volunteer Company and were limited to 50 men. The firehouse was located on East First Street. A second company, “Fountain City Company #2 was formed in 1857. Fountain City Company #2 provided noble service to Fond du Lac and assisted in Oshkosh. A third company, “Aetna Fire Company #5” was formed in 1857. The City purchased two Waterford fire engines in 1856 to be housed there. In 1860, an Amoskeog steam engine was acquired and in 1866 Fountain City #2 formed the City’s first Hook and Ladder Company. That same year, Fire Company #4 was formed and acquired the Winnebago Fire Company’s old hand engine. In 1874 the last City Volunteer Fire Engine Company #5 was formed and took possession of Washington Volunteer Company #1’s discarded steam engine after they received Fond du Lac’s first self propelled fire engine.
In 1877, City of Fond du Lac Volunteer Fire Departments disbanded because of friction among members of the various units. One year later the first all paid fire department was re-organized into four stations with paid members. Engine Company #1 was located on East Second Street. Engine Company #3 was located on Arndt and Packer Street. Engine Company #5 “Aetna Company” was located at 195 North Main Street. This building still remains in the city of Fond du Lac. The Hook and Ladder Company #1 previous location is unknown. Wages varied from $8.00 to $54.25 per month. The Fire Marshall’s annual income was $250.00 and the Fire Department’s annual budget in 1878 was $10,000.
On May 21, 1934, 33 members of the Fond du Lac Fire / Rescue were organized by the International Association of Fire Fighters and became LOCAL 400. By 1948, there were 48 members working an 84 hour work week. In the early days, the schedule was every other day without any time off or vacation.
From 1948 to 1983, the department has grown from 48 members to 73 members, the work week was shorted from the 84 hour week, to the 72 hour week, and finally to the present 56 hour work week.
In 1974 the City of Fond du Lac trained their first 12 fire fighters as Emergency Medical Technicians. By 1983 the department had advanced to 21 E.M.T.S to the E.M.T.-I level. In September 1984, the Fond du Lac Fire / Rescue began operating as a Paramedic provider.
Today, the City of Fond du Lac Fire / Rescue consists of 67 dedicated members that operate from three fire stations. Thirty of those firefighters are also paramedics. Our department serves the City of Fond du Lac that had a year 2000 census population of 42,229 citizens and a day time population of 66,000.