In December, 1945, tragedy struck the Township which caused the people of Hamburg Township to stop and look more closely at their community and to take steps toward improving it.
John Moore, the local mail carrier, was also responsible for maintaining the Hamburg Township Hall. The Hall had been constructed over 100 years ago in 1835, and served as the local pool hall, meeting room and as the social gathering place for the community.
On that frigid December night, John Moore attempted to light an old oil burning stove. The stove exploded, engulfing Hamburg Hall in flames. John Moore was fatally burned and died shortly after the accident. Hamburg Township had no fire department at the time.
Previously, fires had been fought by bucket brigades, garden hoses or simply hand-to-hand as neighbors helped one another in time of need. In the case of large fires, outside help was summoned from firedepartments in neighboring communities.
The City of Brighton Fire Department was called to respond to the fire at Hamburg Hall, but their fire truck broke down en route to the fire, and was unable to respond. By the time other surrounding fire departments had arrived, the townspeople had the fire under control, but Hamburg Hall was a total loss.
As a result of this incident, the townspeople realized that waiting for help from neighboring communities wasted precious time, and that it needed to form its own fire department.
Mark Hogrebe making a pencil etching of Manly W. Bennett's name at the Firefighters Memorial (click on image to enlarge)
Manly Bennett was elected as the first fire chief, and put together his roster of thirty volunteers. It was decided that the fire department would incorporate independent of the local government to save money and that no volunteers would receive any pay for their services.
The Hamburg Fire Department, Inc. was chartered on August 25, 1946 and incorporated the following January. In 1948, the fire department was able to purchase their first fire truck, replacing the trailer pumps that were no longer adequate for the rising demands of the Township.
Today, the force is made up of approximately 40 paid-on-call firefighters, a full time Fire Chief, a full-time Deputy Chief/Training Officer, and a full-time Fire Inspector dedicated to servicing their community.
The Hamburg Township Fire Department is considered to be a full service department. Services include fire and emergency medical response, ice rescue, auto accidents with or without extraction, and many other services as needed.
There is not a separate EMT division as all of the firefighters are medically trained.