The Emporia fire service originated with the volunteer bucket brigade, followed shortly thereafter by hand-pulled hose carts. The first recorded service was with Fire Company Number 1, which was organized in 1873 with J. L. Bell as President.

When Fire Company Number 1 began operations, the major equipment consisted of hand-pulled hose wagons. In 1871, a wagon owner named Tom Ryan constructed the first fire wagon. By 1882, the equipment consisted of two hose carts named "Champion" and "Defiance", a Babcock engine and a hand-pulled hook and ladder truck. In 1883 a horse drawn reel wagon was purchased which meant that the firefighters no longer had to pull the equipment to their destination. The department became motorized in 1916.

In 1941, the Emporia Fire Department moved into its present headquarters in the Civic Auditorium Building. At this time there were 24 firefighters on 2 shifts with 10 vehicles and other first aid and rescue equipment.

In 1973, the department began operating the Lyon County Ambulance Service. The department went to a 3 platoon system in 1975. At this time the number of employees rose to 27 members.

Fire Station 2 was opened in April of 1979. It has been used as the department's training grounds and was used as the primary medical helipad for Emporia. There was 1 officer and 4 firefighters assigned to Station 2 at that time. Station 2 housed 1 ambulance, 2 pumpers, 1 brush fire unit, 1 reserve pumper and 1 rescue boat.

In 1998, Code Services (Building Inspection) was added to the Emporia Fire Department. This division has a Chief of Code Services, 2 Code Service Officers and 1 Admin. Asst..

The Emporia Fire Department is now 134 years old with an authorized strength of 4 administrative staff, 2 secretarial staff members, 2 Code Service Officers, 45 shift fire/EMS personnel, a minimum of 3 part time personnel and a minimum of 10 volunteer personnel. Station 1 is headquarters for the Chief, Assistant Chief, Admin. Asst. and Billing Clerk. The Fire Marshal is located with Code Services. Today, Station 1 has 9 personnel assigned each shift including the Battalion Chief, Captain and 7 firefighters. This station 1 houses 2 ambulances, 2 pumpers, 1 rescue truck, one grass rig, 2 tankers, 1 rescue boat and the haz-mat response trailer. Station 2 has 6 personnel assigned to each shift with a Captain and 5 firefighters. This station houses a variety of equipment including two ambulances, 1 quint, 1 pumper, 1 grass rig and 1 squad and 1 rescue boat and a utility pick-up.

Major Fires and Disasters

  • 1878 Kansas State Normal School
  • 1901 Sprague Lumber Yard, First Methodist Church, Randolph Barn, Newton Livery Stable
  • 1912 Henning Building
  • 1913 Whitley Opera House
  • 1915 Stewart Hall, College of Emporia
  • 1921 Whitley Hotel923 African Church
  • 1925 Grace Methodist Church
  • 1942 Congregational Church, Friends Church
  • 1950 Masonic Temple, Fleming Building
  • 1957 Methodist Church
  • 1960 Sheep Barns, Toms Motors
  • 1964 Haynes Hardware
  • 1971 Kansas Soya Products Mill
  • 1973 Ice Plant
  • 1974 Tornado
  • 1981 Deco Center
  • 1983 Nickerson Farms
  • 1986 Travel Lodge
  • 1990 Tornado
  • 1994 Home Lumber Company, 725 Commercial
  • 1996 601 Clark St. Mobile Home Park
  • 1999 Santa Fe Depot
  • 2001 East Gate
  • 2003 Flood on K.T.A.
  • 2004 Bruff's
  • 2011 Reading Tornado
  • 2012 Glacier Petroleum Explosion
  • 2014 Grass Fire
You are here: