The Eagle River Area Fire Department is deeply rooted in the rich history of Eagle River, Wisconsin. The Fire Department was founded in 1899 as the Eagle River Hose Company. The Company consisted of 10 men, a hose cart, and fire hose. In conjunction with the Eagle River Water Company, water was supplied to a fire within the city through a hydrant system. The system was pressurized to 95 psi through the use of auxiliary pumps. Fire hose was first supplied by a hose cart pulled by hand. Eventually, a truck and trailer were used to pull the hose until the City of Eagle River purchased its first fire truck in 1940; a 1940 GMC hose truck built by Peter Pirsch. Amazingly, the 1940 GMC Pirsch hose truck is still in service today.
In the mid 1940’s the town of Lincoln purchased a truck from Howe in Indiana with a mid-ship pump that carried 500 gallons of water. Due to the town’s need for more volunteers, the Town of Lincoln and City of Eagle River united and the Eagle River Area Fire Department was born. This was a beneficial union for both; the Town of Lincoln supplied the truck while the City of Eagle River had the manpower that was needed.
The Department continued to grow, purchasing additional trucks to meet the needs of the community. A 750 gpm Chevy Howe fire truck was purchased by the city in 1963 followed by a 1974 Chevy Howe purchased by the Town of Lincoln.
September 1991 was an exciting time for the Eagle River Area Fire Department. The Joint Fire Commission was formed and the Towns of Cloverland and Washington joined the Department, drastically improving fire protection in all of the surrounding areas. With this expansion, the Department updated its fire apparatus by bringing in a new 3,000 gallon tender and then a new pumper capable of pumping 1750 gpm which carried 1,000 gallons of water. A new fire station was built in 1995. The station not only included an expanded bay area, but also training rooms and offices. This new space provided opportunities for firefighters to be well trained and prepared to serve their communities.
The Eagle River Area Fire Department continues to evolve today to meet the ever-changing needs of its communities. While the Department is continually growing, it is still focused on the protecting its 109 square mile area and 6,500 annual residents.