Forming the Department
On August 13, 1886, a meeting was held in the mayor's office and 57 men enrolled themselves as members of the volunteer fire department. Amos Coburn was elected as chief. Headquarters was secured in the basement of the court house. The City Council furnished the members with the essentials of rubber coats, boots, and fire hats. At last, Anderson had a fire department. In the spring of 1887, Coburn resigned as chief and was succeeded by Samuel A. Towell. A year later, two horses were purchased and Edward Wilcox was employed as a regular driver, the first paid man in the department.
In 1890, the Gamewell alarm system was installed, a horse wagon was purchased, and the building on the corner of Central Avenue and Eighth Street was erected for the use by the Fire Department. Three years later, the department was converted into a full paid force of 13 men. On Aug. 1, 1893, a building was erected on the corner of 17th Street and Madison Avenue and Hose Company Number 2 was opened. On April 21, 1904, Fire House Number 3 was built on the corner of 21st Street and Columbus Avenue and placed into service. In March of 1905, Fire House Number 4, a brick structure, was built on the northeast corner of Third Street and Hendricks Street and placed into service.
On July 24, 1913, a Nyberg automobile, made in Anderson, fitted with chemical tanks, was placed into service as the chief's car at a cost of $2,200. On July 20, 1915, the first motor pump truck, a 750 gallon per minute Seagrave, was placed into service as Engine One. The cost was $8,800. On July 4, 1927, Fire House Number 5 was completed and put into service at the corner of Broadway and Plum Street. In May of 1929, the department's first aerial truck, an 85-foot tillered American-Lafrance, was placed into service. In June of 1946, Fire House Number 6 was constructed at 29th Street and Delaware Street and placed into service.
By 1947, all Anderson Fire Department apparatus were radio-equipped. December 11, 1957 marked the inauguration of an ambulance service. In 1964, a dive team was formed and, in 1966, Fire House Number 7 was constructed at Eighth Street and the 109 Bypass and placed into service. In 1970, the Anderson Fire Department's first rescue truck, as well as Fire House Number 8, built in the 200 block of West 53rd Street, were put into service. March 1973 marked the inauguration of the 9-1-1 system in Anderson. The first full-time fire investigator was hired in 1980, and the first four paramedics joined the department in 1987.