Founded in 1893
Founded in 1893, Elk Grove's Fire Department started with a single hose cart and a small group of dedicated volunteers. From these humble beginnings, the Department has forged a lasting presence in the community.
The Fire That Inspired The Idea
The idea of forming a Fire Department was conceived by a group of citizens who started the Elk Grove Water Company in 1892 after a series of disastrous fires destroyed all but two buildings on Main Street. Construction of an 80-foot water tower began in May 1893 on Elk Grove Boulevard, at the same location of Elk Grove’s current water tower. The tank held 45,000 gallons of water. 3,500 feet of water main were laid east and west on Elk Grove Boulevard and five fire hydrants were installed. A coal-burning boiler produced the power to run the steam pumps.
Money Raised Through Dances & Suppers
With the basic water supply equipment in place, the group turned their efforts to organizing a volunteer fire company. Money to purchase fire fighting equipment was raised by community leaders through community dances and chicken pie suppers held at the Masonic Temple and the Toronto Hotel. The original hose cart and a supply of 2.5 inch hose was purchased with the funds raised.
In 1897, a large fire bell was special ordered from the W.T. Garratt Foundry in San Francisco and erected in the hose-drying tower that also served as part of the hose cart house located just east of the Southern Pacific Depot, opposite the Masonic Temple. A second hose cart and additional hose was purchased around this same time.
In 1918, the hose tower and the equipment were relocated to a site behind Odd Fellows Hall, the justice court, and the jail.
Chemical Cart Addition in 1920
Each year, the group added and improved the equipment available to its volunteers. A chemical cart was added in 1920. This engine had two 45 gallon soda and acid tanks for quick-attack. What this new machine added in ease of operation it lacked in speed because it was pulled by hand, like the hose carts. Mr. “Del” Cann donated a 1920 Paige Roadster to the Department in 1921 to transport the tanks. The tanks were mounted to the rear of the vehicle – thus becoming Elk Grove’s first motorized fire engine. During this time, the fire station was moved from its original location to the new site behind the justice court and jail building.