Ames Fire Department

From the November 28, 1907, issue of the Ames Times:

... new equipment is added to the Ames Fire Department this week in the form of a new fire wagon.  The wagon was built by John Allen and is now standing in front of his establishment near the freight depot.  It was ordered by the city last spring and has been under construction for the past few months.

The new rig is a hand made proposition and will be more durable probably than anything else which might have been purchased on the market.  The body part is painted a handsome coating of wine colored paint and across each side is lettered A.F.D.  The running gears are bright red and the wagon has attachments here and there for chemical extinguishers, axes, ladders, etc.  On the whole it is a fine outfit for the department and one of which the city of Ames should feel proud.

Ames Fire Department Milestones

1891 - Ames forms a volunteer fire fighting unit.

1910 - The hand drawn hose reel is replaced by a horse drawn fire wagon.

1915 - The Municipal Building is constructed at 5th and Kellogg.  The Fire Company becomes the Fire Department (volunteer) with headquarters in the new building.

1916 - Motorized firetruck purchased

1922 - L.R. Morris becomes the first paid fire chief.

1924 - The Fire Department becomes a full-fledged paid unit.

1932 - A fire station is established under Clyde Williams Stadium on Sheldon Avenue to serve the college and west Ames.

1942 - Sam Long becomes Ames' second fire chief.

1954 - Kenneth Taylor succeeds Sam Long as fire chief.

1966 - Voters approve a $140,000 bond issue for a new satellite fire station at Welch and Chamberlain.  Iowa State University pays half of the cost.  At the December 4, 1966 dedication, the stadium fire station is closed.

1966 - Ralph Parks Jr. becomes Ames' fourth fire chief.

1978 - $950,000 bond issue for a new fire station and headquarters on 16th Street is approved by a 69% margin.

1979 - Construction begins on the new fire station.

1980 - Fire Station I and Headquarters is dedicated October 26.

From the August 22, 1920, issue of the Ames Tribune:

Members of the Ames volunteer fire department believe the city is very much in need of a second fire truck in order to afford adequate fire protection.  Last night the department submitted to the council a request for a second truck which request was referred to the fire and water committee to be reported upon at the next meeting.

The firemen list six reasons for getting a new truck:

  1. The present truck is not mechanically reliable.  A chain came off on the way to the college last week and the trip could not be completed.
  2. Constant repairs keep the present truck out of service.
  3. Sometimes the department has two calls at once.
  4. A second truck is needed to lay hose while the present truck is pumping.
  5. A second truck could provide a reserve for big fires.
  6. A second truck would increase efficiency.

Fire Station Collapse

At least one fireman was injured about 8:40 p.m. Thursday when a wall and the roof of Fire Station No. 2 near the Iowa State University campus here collapsed, burying three fire trucks and a fireman.  Fire Lt. Jim Hoffman was in satisfactory condition Thursday night at Mary Greeley Hospital with head injuries suffered when he was struck by falling bricks.  He was apparently the only fireman injured.

Police Dispatcher Roland Dippold said the north wall of the two-year-old station collapsed and the roof of the station then fell in, burying two pumper trucks and an aerial truck.  Authorities said the collapse may have been caused by excavations just north of the fire station for a new restaurant.  It is believed the excavation may have undermined the foundation of the fire station's north wall.

Authorities evacuated about 25 students from an apartment house on the other side of the excavation after the fire station collapsed.  The building, built at a cost of $125,000, was almost a total loss, said Ames Mayor Stuart Smith.  The trucks buried by debris were valued at $55,000 to $60,000 and were extensively damaged.  Two cranes were called in to pull the fire engine least damaged from the ruble, so that the campus area would have fire protection.  There is one other fire station in Ames in the downtown area.  (Des Moines Register's Iowa News Service)

Fire Seriously Damages Iowa State Dormitory

1954 New Fire Chief Named