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MCFD History

 Old Fire Boots & Bell1870 - Mason City Fire Company #1 authorized to act.

1875 - First Marshal appointed.

1876 - First "Fire Shed" built to house equipment. This site would house the Fire Department for almost one hundred years.

1885 - Denison Hose Company founded. First hose cart purchased by O.T. Denison for use by Company. Water Commissioner authorized to employ personnel to care for hose and cart.

1895 - First horse-drawn fire engine purchased. First paid fire fighter (driver).

1902 - Horse-drawn "Hook and Ladder Truck" purchased.

1909 - Mason City Fire Department becomes a Paid Fire Department (Ordinance 250).  Tom Conner is named Fire Chief.

1911-1912 - Old fire "shed" razed, Fire Headquarters built on same lot. Central Station (were it standing today) would have an address of 19 1st St SW.

1914 - First motorized fire engine purchased. (1913 Seagrave)

1917 - Mason City Fire Department fully motorized.


1927 - Dan Shire hired as Chief and the only person to work at Department only as Chief.

1932 – Fire Prevention Bureau established in August by Ordinance

1937 - Mason City adopts the first fire code in the State of Iowa.

1939 - A sub fire station is built at 2020 South Federal Avenue, which is still standing. It is one of only two known remaining Art Deco style fire houses built with WPA funds during the Great Depression. The other one is located in Florida.


1943 - Jim Kelley is named Chief and will be the oldest Chief at retirement. 

1951 - Boyd Arnold is named Chief and will become the first Chief to retire before the age of 60.


1958 - The Department gets its first Scott Air masks for protection from smoke inhalation while fighting fires.


1962 - Cliff Pierce is promoted to Chief -- the only person to have served over 40 continuous years on the Department (a distinction that will not likely ever be surpassed).

1963 - The three battalion organization of the Department (still currently in use) was initiated.


1970 - John Holt becomes Chief of the Fire Department.


1973 - South station closed.

1975 - Fire Headquarters at 350 5th Street SW opened and the first civilian is hired as clerk (previously a promotion for fire fighters). Central Station was used by the City for storage until it was razed to make room for Southbridge Mall.


1980 - Ron Van Horn (the first Assistant Chief at the Department and a former clerk) achieves the rank of Chief.

1982 - Fire Department personnel receive EMT-B level training.


1988 - The first woman to work at the Fire Department is hired as the Records Clerk.


1994 - Jim  Myklestad is named Chief.

1993 - North Iowa Hazardous Materials team is formed and housed at Mason City's Fire Department Headquarters.


2002 - Bob Platts, the Department's first Special Hazards Officer becomes the youngest fire fighter ever to be Chief.

2004 - February 23, Mason City Fire Department hires its first paramedic. May 18, the first female fire fighter is hired. June 1, the Department begins providing ALS ambulance service to the City of Mason City, most of Cerro Gordo County and the east half of Worth County. 

2007 – Mason City Fire Department is voted the 2007 Career Service of the Year by the Iowa Emergency Services Association.


2008 - The last firefighter to work at Central Station retires from the Department. All members of the Department have only worked at Fire Headquarters.


2009 - The Mason City Fire Department celebrates THE CAREER OF A CENTURY marking 100 years as a career, full-time fire department in the City.


2010 - The Mason City Fire Department's fire fighters' 1st annual "Care Enough to Wear Pink" campaign.  The second week of October marks both Fire Prevention Week and Breast Cancer Awareness Week.  The fire fighters' Union designs and distributes commemorative t-shirts -- donating all profits to Mercy's Cancer Center.  Over 1,000 t-shirts are sold during this first year.


Underwater Rescue Training2011  - After 50 years, the Mason City Fire Department's Dive Team was disbanded. What started with 2 divers under Chief Arnold in 1961, came to close in November 2011. With the large number of calls fire fighters are now handling every day with ambulance services, time for trainings and certification dives could not be found in the Department's busy schedule.



2011 - For the first time in Department history, there is a female fire fighter assigned to each Battalion.


2013 - The Department marks having driven one million miles in its ambulances. Since starting ambulance services in 2004, the members of the Department had responded to over 39,000 ambulance requests in amassing those miles.

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