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Historic Fire StationStarted with Volunteers
The Pontiac Fire Department was established in 1877 by appointing a force of 45 “able-bodied” citizens to serve as Volunteer Firemen. The first fire station was located on the east side of the square at Main and Washington. The station was later moved to the west side of the square.

The next fire station was located at 110 West Howard Street. It was constructed, along with city hall, in 1900. The rear truck room was not a part of the original station and was added during the 1920s as the Street and Alley Department, and housed dump trucks, tractors, etc for many years. The current fire station is located at 413 N. Mill Street, in the Safety Complex. In 1894, the fire department was officially brought in as a municipal fire department.

First Fire Engines
Pontiac’s first “fire engines” were pulled to the scene of the fire by hand! After many years, a steam driven pumper was purchased, which was pulled by horses. When the new station was built in 1900, provisions were constructed for the housing of horses at the station.

At the time the PFD was organized, (1877), annual fire alarms averaged about 10 per year.
The city’s first motorized fire truck was a 1916 Seagrave pumper. The city’s first full time personnel was the fire chief in the 1950s. Full time firemen were not hired until much later. For many years there was one full time fireman on-duty around the clock. In 1977, three additional firemen were added to provide a second man on each of the three shifts.

Fire Alarms
Fire alarms were only answered inside the city limits for many decades. As the fire protection needs of the surrounding rural area increased, in 1959 the Pontiac Rural Fire Protection District was established. The newly formed PRFPD signed an agreement with the city to provide fire protection outside the city and in the PRFPD. This agreement still is in effect. Therefore, in addition to fire protection inside the city itself, the PFD provides fire protection to a large area outside the city known as the PRFPD.

Rescue Squad
In 1968, the PFD organized the “rescue squad.” Primarily organized to respond to automobile accidents and assist trapped victims, the role of the rescue squad has changed since its beginning. Although called the Pontiac Rescue Squad, it is in fact the PFD. All rescue squad personnel are PFD personnel. The rescue squad responses have steadily increased over the years. Most rescue squad responses are to emergency medical responses rather than auto accidents.

With the opening of I-55, the traditional auto accident response has given way to medical emergency calls. Underwater recovery is also an important function of the “rescue squad.”