Fire Department History
The Frenchtown Charter Township Fire Department was established in 1949. Firemen were volunteers who had to live in the township. The department had two fire stations, covering 42 square miles of territory. The first Fire Chief was hired in 1951. He lived in a two-bedroom home adjacent to the main fire station with his wife and son.
Back then each fire department had a direct emergency phone number. Ours rang in both the Fire Chief’s home and at the Sherrif’s Department. The Fire Chief’s wife was also a dispatcher, and she answered the phones and kept the times. Firemen were contacted both by the sound of a siren, and by radios kept in their homes. Most were farmers. When they heard the siren they would call the station to find out what the emergency was and the call was.
In 1975, the Fire Chief retired and a new Fire Chief was hired. He lived a few blocks away and had a farm with a large family. He hired a Deputy Chief, training officer, and a dispatcher/secretary.
In 1977, there were over 60 volunteers along with the four full-time staff members. The work schedule was 7 days a week, 10 hours a day. The secretary was given a separate schedule of Monday-Friday 8am-4pm. She worked weekends and holidays so the department could hold special trainings on the weekends.
In 1976 many firemen became Emergency Medical Technicians. The state required a lot of training.
In 1988, the department became a combination full-time and paid on-call department with two fire stations manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and at least two men at each station. Along with the four full-time staff members, twelve new full-time men were hired to man two of the four stations. Additionally, the volunteers were to be paid for responding to emergency calls.
In 1989, a Fire Inspector position was created and filled by one of the twelve new full-timers. In 2023 the position was eliminated.
In 1989 and 1992, the department re-built new headquarters and Station 2. The township was also split into two districts. 911 emergency numbers became nation wide, and radio communication greatly improved, allowing the use of much smaller pagers and radios.
The Frenchtown Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary disbanded in 2006 after serving the Fire Department and Community for over 50 years. It consisted of mothers, wives, and daughters of the firemen. they held bake sales, garage sales, and raffles to raise money and to provide things needed by victims of fires. They also supported other charities in the state. They bought and wrapped Christmas gifts for the children’s Christmas party with money provided by the firemen. They would hold many children’s activities such as an Easter egg hunt and Halloween parties. They held a monthly meeting to organize events and meet socially. In 2015 the Frenchtown Firefighters Association seen a need in the community and began to hold fundraisers. The proceeds from their fundraisers help the Association with their charitable work which includes providing supplies for the children, schools and seniors in our community. They help maintain a food pantry in our Township. Along with providing residents of the Frenchtown community with assistance when they are displaced after a fire.