Fire Department History

Disclosure: All information contained in the text below has been obtained through public record and personal accounts. If you have more accurate information with proof, please contact the Fire Department.

New Buffalo City Fire has a rich history spanning three centuries, although the exact date the department was formed is not known. Lets start by talking about our first fire engine… no strike that, our fire wagon, built sometime between 1865 & 1870 the hand pumper was the top of the line fire fighting apparatus in those days. Most fire departments, for that matter not too many museums, have a hand pumper like this still. Could it be because ours fought in one of the world’s most famous fires, THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE of 1871? As Chicago was burning a telegraph was sent, a telegraph asking for help. The fire department of New Buffalo responded. The hand pumper and fire fighters were shipped to Chicago by train to help battle the blaze.


As New Buffalo grew, due to growth in the railroad years, more accurate documentation was being kept. Below is a detailed inventory of the village’s fire department from June 1, 1893.


  • 1 Fire Engine
  • 1 Hose Cart
  • 250 Feet of Hose
  • 1 Axe, 1 Shovel, 1 Saw, 1 Oil Can
  • 1 Wrench
  • 1 Hook and Ladder Wagon, 6 Ladders, 3 Hose Wrenches
  • 2 Small Pipes, 2 Brass Lanterns
  • 12 Leather Pails, 2 Suction Hose Wrenches



Welcome to the modern world of fire fighting. In the late ’40s the NBVFD saw changes that would ever shape the department. In 1948 the fire station was built, the one located at North Smith St. (right where the parking lot for City Hall is now). A new station was needed because on September 26 1948 a new addition was coming to the village, a 1947 American LaFrance Scout Convertible Pumper. The new truck hosted a 500 GPM pump and 300 gallon water tank. The members include: Ellis Williamson, Wilmer Lidke, Harold Wolf, D. Duddleson, Dick Jones, Lonnie Hildebrand, Ed Paloucek, Tom DeVos, Ray Gooch and Leo Glossinger.



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