Cambridge Volunteer Fire Department
Our previous home, located on the west end of North Street, was built in 1965. This was the second home to the Cambridge Fire Department since its inception in 1902. The building is still in use by the Village of Cambridge Public Works, who have since expanded on the building. This building was capable of housing about 6 pieces of apparatus, which includes the ambulance, or "Rescue Squad," which used to be operated by the Cambridge Fire Department from the early 1960s until 1976, when the separate agency, Cambridge Area EMS, was formed. Up until the late 2000s, Cambridge had a "noon whistle," which was on the roof of this building. Prior to being used as such, it was used to alert firefighters of incidents. This practice was discontinued when pagers became available. In the picture, you can see, from left to right, our 1929 Pirsch engine, which is still owned by the Cambridge Fire Department, a ~1955 1000 gallon IH tanker, the 1950 American LaFrance engine, and a Cadillac ambulance (former hearse), year unknown. Picture year unknown, but possibly shortly after the station was built.
The Cambridge Fire Station
Our Fire Station is located at 271 W. Main Street, just a few blocks from downtown Cambridge. The building was constructed in 1983-1984. When built, the apparatus bay had room for up to 8 standard (at the time) trucks. The EMS bay was built with room for two ambulances. At the time, the Cambridge Fire Department had six pieces of apparatus and one antique that were stored in the bay, with room to spare! Cambridge EMS had one ambulance, also leaving additional room. We currently still have six trucks, however they are much larger, thus take up much more space. In addition, our fleet now includes an ATV and rescue boat. The ATV is stored inside the station, while our boat must be stored in a garage behind the station. The hose tower is about 5.5 stories tall, with an 81 step staircase inside. Hoses can be hung inside for drying.
The station has played host to many events over the years, from Firemen's Dances with Horse and Tractor Pulls to our Memorial Day Breakfast, a staple in the community!
Over the years, our buildings have readily served our members as well as this community. Some may say that the building is simply home to the fire trucks. While it certainly houses our trucks, it is also home to many memories, both good and bad. The station is a place that we respond to calls from, as well as where we return to when the incident is over. Unfortunately, not all calls are cats stuck in trees (although we have had several of those over the years), and so the station itself serves as a safe haven of sorts, where our members can talk with each other about a bad call. There are the good calls, too, that get discussed. And outside of that, a lot of shooting the breeze! The building has served as a places where our members learn and teach, maintain trucks and equipment, and have meals and meetings. The building is great at building camaraderie, as firefighters and EMTs go through a lot together, from training and meetings, to seeing people experience their worst days. We are a fire department family, and for us, it is simply "the station."
First fire station, date unknown.
The first home of the Cambridge Fire Department was likely constructed in, around, or before 1902. Located at roughly the south west corner of current Spring Street and Springwater Alley, the station could hold 2-3 fire trucks, and had a bell on the roof to alert firefighters. That same bell is now located in the front of our current fire station on the sign structure. This building originally had just one level, but eventually, a second level was added, and served as the Village Hall as well as meeting space for the fire department. The entire building was demolished to make way for the current village hall (Amundson Center).
First fire station in background, 1924. Fred Folker driving possibly the first motorized Cambridge Fire Engine.