Fire Service in Fort Collins, Colorado officially began in 1880, when the first volunteer hook and ladder company was organized following the Welch Block Fire. The company was known as the ‘Collins Hook and Ladder Company.’ The first piece of fire equipment arrived in Fort Collins in 1880, in the form of a horse drawn Hook and Ladder Truck from Caswell Manufacturing.

In 1882 the company moved into their first fire station and in 1883, a hose company was formed at the same location. In 1888, these two entities were formed into the Fort Collins Volunteer Fire Department with Frank Stover elected as the first chief. John Lamb was hired as a firefighter and caretaker of the fire station and thereby became Fort Collins’ first paid firefighter.

 1888 

1888- Fort Collins Fire Department

 

The turn of the century marked the beginning of prevention efforts, in addition to response. In 1901, the first fire code ordinance passed and regulated building construction and the storage of certain combustibles. Of course, response was still critical and in 1908, the first documented response time was recorded as 1 minute, 27 seconds.

In 1915, the Fort Collins Volunteer Fire Department transitioned into a paid department with the first paid chief being Robert MacGregor. This also resulted in the purchase of Fort Collins’ first motorized fire engine, a 1914 American LaFrance chemical wagon. In 1937, the city’s first ladder truck, a Diamond T, was put into service.

  1914  

The Fort Collins Rural Protective Association was formed in 1938 in part to respond to the rapid building in areas outside the city which lacked fire hydrants. In 1950, this association was formally converted to the Poudre Valley Fire Protection District. These departments were supported by volunteers in Timnath and LaPorte.

Prevention efforts continued in this era too. Focusing on fire prevention in the 1940’s resulted in the department’s receiving 1st place in the National Chamber of Commerce fire prevention contest in 1947. Public education efforts also grew, including the fire prevention poster contest in the schools, which continues to this day.

Fire Stations 2 and 3 were opened in 1961 to serve a rapidly growing population and an 85’ ladder truck was brought in. To serve the growth in stations, the department developed its first ‘run-book’ which dictated which equipment would respond to certain locations. This resulted in the first dispatching system being in place in 1965. This same year, a 1,000 GPM pumper was stationed at the new Fire Station 3. Also in 1965, the department suffered its first, and to date only, line-of-duty death when Chief Clifford Carpenter was killed at the State Dry Goods store fire on June 28th.

Water Rescue and basic medical response capabilities were added by the fire department in 1967.

By 1970, the department had transitioned to three working shifts, thereby reducing the firefighters workweek to only 56 hours. After the Old Main Fire on campus at Colorado State University (1970), first response standards were set with the goal of responding to any emergency in three to four minutes.

1970  

1970- Old Main Library: Colorado State University

 

The mid 1970’s were a time of further growth and expansion with the addition of a Mack pumper in 1975, Jaws of Life tools, in 1976 and the addition of Basic Life Support being formally provided by the fire department. Advanced Life Support was taken on by the hospital based ambulance service. This tradition continues to this day.

Growth in the areas served by the Poudre Valley Rural Protection District and the opportunity for optimizing the response by the two departments brought about the consolidation of the district and city departments through a city council action on November 19, 1980. During this time, the city opened a combined Public Safety Answering Point that brought call taking and dispatching for police, fire and EMS into one operation. This ended the practice of the fire department and ambulance service operating its own dispatch centers.

In 1981, the Poudre Fire Authority was formally organized in an effort to improve response times to emergencies and eliminate duplication of services. This consolidation reduced costs to both citizens of Fort Collins and the Poudre Valley Fire Protection District.

The department added service to rapidly growing suburban areas in the 1980’s and 90’s by opening Stations 6, 19 and 12. During this time, the agency also brought online a second support company to serve the southern portion of the response area. The opening of Station 14 in 2003 and the addition of the South Battalion in 2011 followed to respond to increases in population and call volume.

 

 

How old is your station?

Station Number

Address

Year Built

Fire Station #1

505 Peterson St

Fort Collins, CO 80524

Original Station; 1888

Current Station 1973

Fire Station #2

415 South Bryan Avenue

Fort Collins, CO 80521

1961

Fire Station #3

2000 Mathews Street

Fort Collins, CO 80525

1961

Fire Station #4

1945 West Drake Road

Fort Collins, CO 80526

Original Station: 1980

Current Station 2009

Fire Station #5

4615 Hogan Drive

Fort Collins, Co 80525

1976

Fire Station #6

2511 Donella Court

Fort Collins, CO 80524

1986

Fire Station #7

2817 North Overland Trail

LaPorte, CO 80535

1976

Fire Station #8

4100 South main Street

Timnath, CO 80547

1920

Fire Station #9

4919 Shoreline Drive

Fort Collins, CO 80526

Original Station 1976

Current Station 1998

Fire Station #10

2067 Vermont Drive

Fort Collins, Co 80525

1995

Fire Station #11

16248 North County Road 25E

Loveland, CO 80538

1995

Fire Station #12

321 Country Club Road

Fort Collins, CO 80524

1998

Training Center Complex

(Station #13)

3400 West Vine Drive

Fort Collins, CO 80521

1995

Fire Station #14

2109 WestChase Road

Fort Collins, Co 80525

2003

Headquarters

102 Remington Street

Fort Collins, Co 80524

1985