Fire Department History
The Northfield Township Fire Department originated in 1946 as the Whitmore Lake Fire Department. During a devastating fire at the Whitmore Lake School, in which a loosely organized volunteer fire department in the township fought bravely and valiantly. Their only fire truck was severally damaged, as the school was where it was stored. The area residents and community leaders recognized the need for a better prepared fire department.
In 1946, the first official volunteer fire department was furnished by local business owners. Community members such as; Al Rorabacher, Vincent "Bill" Dreffs, Pete Guise, Jack Ramsay, Elmer Klump, and numerous others were determined to sustain a viable Fire Department in their community. Utilizing spare building materials from all over the area, the community built the first fire station at 75 Barker Rd. In the new fire station, the only piece of equipment was one single small fire pumper. In the back of the Fire Station was a single apartment built for the first volunteer Fire Chief, Irwin Volz. With that, the Whitmore Lake Fire Department was created and serving the community.
Members of the Fire Department were alerted to fire calls from a whistle atop the building. When the whistle blew, members would respond to the fire station or to the scene.
In 1948, the Fire Department purchased a new Ford pumper and upgraded their capabilities. In 1950, the Department purchased a used tanker from the Selfridge Air Field for the sum of one dollar. The addition of the new apparatus caused a need for additional volunteers to operate them. To entice more community members to join the Fire Department, a yearly stipend was instituted in the mid-1960's.
In 1969, Northfield Township took over the fire department and it was renamed the Northfield Township Fire Department. As the coverage area increased for the Fire Department, the community felt the need to build an additional Fire Station. So in 1977, Station #2 was built on North Territorial Rd.
With the needs of the community increasing and the addition of Highway US-23 running through the township, the Fire Departments run responses increased and so did the for additional capabilities of the Fire Department. Additional equipment was added. In the mid-ninety's the fire department staffed two first response rescue units, two engines, two tankers, and three brush fire trucks out of the two stations.
In the mid-ninety's, the Fire Department began staffing Station # 1 during the day with one additional firefighter along with the Fire Chief. This gave a quicker medical response that the community was seeking.
In the late nineties, there was a need to replace Station # 1, originally built in 1946. In 1999, the voters approved a millage for the Fire and Police Departments to build new buildings and update Fire Station # 2. In 2003, a joint Police and Fire Station # 1 was opened on the corner of Main Street and Seven Mile. In addition to the new station, the voters also approved a new Aerial Ladder Truck for the Fire Department.
In 2006, the department received a federal grant to upgrade its medical services from the Medical First Responders level to Emergency Medical Technician level, enhancing that level of service to the community.
Later in 2008, the Fire Department was able to adjust staffing to provide a manned station 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Currently, the Northfield Township Fire Department staff's Station # 1 with one duty firefighter 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
The department is lead by the Public Safety Director/Fire Chief William Wagner Jr. The department currently maintains a roster of 25 personnel, which include an Administrative Assistant, Deputy Chief, two Lieutenants, and firefighters split between both stations.
The Department offers Emergency Medical Services at the Basic level, Fire Suppression Services, Hazardous Material Response, Technical Rescue Response capabilities, Public Education, and Fire Inspections. The Department also has personnel assigned to both the Washtenaw County Hazardous Materials Team and the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team. The Department remains a long time member of the Washtenaw Area Mutual Aid Association and the Livingston County Mutual Aid Associations.