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Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).
Reproduced exactly as published in 1971 - no updates, no corrections.


photo: fire

  TEAMS OF HORSES were trained in the early days to respond equally as quickly as the firemen in the event of a call. One early source relates that the teams, at the sound of the bell, went quickly to there places where harnesses were dropped on them and wagons quickly attached.

1st Firemen Paid Dollar To Belong The Brainerd Fire department


The Brainerd Fire Department was organized Feb. 13, 1872, in Askew billiard hall with 37 men paying one dollar each to belong. A. D. McNannay was appointed to maintain the well and buckets on Block 47; water came from three wells in town.

Hose Company Number One and Hook and Ladder Company Number Two were formed, and the Northern Pacific Railway Co. installed a fire hydrant between the Headquarters Hotel and the Depot.

In 1885, a two-story frame fire station was constructed at the north end of South Fifth Street, and until the early 1890's, equipment was hand-drawn and a dray hired for long hauls.

Teams of horses were trained in the 1890's, and served for 20 years. Early drivers were James Buley, Roy Hall a n d Jack Mutch.

photo: fire

  PICTURED IN this photograph of about 1900 are the downtown fire department truck and horse team at Fifth and Front Streets.

In 1914, a new fire station was constructed.

Henry McGinn served as fire chief for 30 years, while Frank Fuller was the first full-time fire chief in the city. Present chief, Ray Shortridge, has been here since 1957.

The Brainerd Fire department now employs radio equipment, 1,000 gallons per minute pumpers, towering elevated platforms and other modern fire fighting equipment a far cry from the days of pulling a handcart to the scene of a blaze.

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