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History of the Warren Fire Department

The State of Michigan was divided into "Townships" in the 1830's.  Amongst these was the township of "Warren," located in the southeast corner of the state.  Named after General Earl Warren, it would become the state's third largest city.  The Warren Fire Department is the city's oldest uniformed emergency service, established in 1939, and has been in continuous service since.  The villages of Warren and Centerline both set up their own fire departments.  They serviced the rest of Warren Township on a fee basis, which was changed from time to time.  The fire districts were roughly divided north and south of Eleven Mile Road.  With the incorporation of Centerline into a city in 1936, it became necessary to provide the more populated south end of Warren Township with better fire protection.

On May 12, 1939, the Warren Fire Department became officially recognized.  On June 15, 1939, Fire Station One was manned and opened to serve all of Warren Township.  Due to the rapid growth of Warren, and its greatly increased industrial expansion, it was deemed nessesary to provide added protection and an increase in fire personnel.

The township attracted a variety of industrial might, such as the U.S. Army Tank Arsenal, Dodge Truck and Press Plant, General Motors research Laboratories and Technical Center, General Electric "Carboloy", Ford, Holly Carburetor, Bundy Tubing, Rotary Electric Steel and other numerous tool and die shops.  The increase of these various factories and plants brought more jobs to the township, thus increasing the twnship's population and the need for more fire protection.

Due to the increasing growth of Warren, Chief Van Hulle requested and received another Pumper Company, Engine Company Two, on November 24, 1942.  The two pieces of apparatus were operated by five full paid firefighters and 16 volunteer firefighters.

July 16, 1943, would be a tragic day for the Warren Fire Department.  On this Sunday afternoon, Firefighter Charles Consigney would lose his life in the line of duty due to smoke inhalation.  This was the first time in the history of the Warren Fire Department that a firefighter lost his life in the line of duty.

In 1947, the Macomb County Fire Chiefs Association was formed with Warren Fire as a founding member.  The association created and implemented one of the best mutual aid systems in the Midwest.  Due to Warren's heavy industrial base, mutual aid from sister cities was common and still is today.

In the fall of 1948, ground was broken for Engine House Two and Engine House Three.  Both engine houses were put into service on September 7, 1949, with five new hires assigned to Engine House Two and four men to Engine Three.  Engine House Two would serve the southeast areas of the city and Engine House Three would serve the southwest area of the city.

On September 25, 1954, the department purchased a new Packard Ambulance and put it in service.  This would portent the early beginnings of what would become one of the states finest Paramedic Systems.


In January 1957, Warren Township would become the City of Warren.  The fire department would be composed of 47 full time men, operating six engines, three grass trucks, two ambulances, one inspector's car and one chief’s car.  Also in 1957, the newly founded city incorporated the "old” Village of Warren into its boundaries.  With the Village, The City of Warren would inherit it's volunteer hall.  This fire hall would become Warren Station Four.  Station Four would serve the northwest area of the city.

On February 7, 1957, because of its ever-increasing duties and for the advancement of the fire department, Mayor Arthur J. Miller would select William B. Burr as the department's first Fire Commissioner.  On assuming his duties, Fire Commissioner Burr started to plan the expansion of the Warren Fire Department, not just for the present but for the future.  Because of the immediate need for another engine house, additional personnel, an aerial truck, squad truck, and additional ambulances, Commissioner Burr went before City Council and received extra funding.

On November 6, 1957, ground was broken for Engine Company Five at Common Road and Hoover.  Completion was set for July 1958.  Station Five would serve the northeast area of the city.

On September 19, 1960, Warren Fire Fighters would become a charter member of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1383.  This local would become affiliated with the AFL-CIO on December 2, 1965.  With the union organizing the department, wages, health and retirement benefits would improve greatly.  Local 1383 would gain a reputation for zealously guarding member's labor rights, being politically active, and advancing the training, safety and professionalism of its members.  Many of the advances in the department could be directly attributed to Local 1383, such as minimum staffing levels, which serves the people of Warren better, and provides safety to an organization of men who engage in the world's most dangerous profession.

On February 1, 1967, Station Six would be opened to serve the northwest area of the city.  Station Four was reassigned to serve the north central area of the city.  At this time, during the mid 1960's, the City of Warren was the fastest growing city in America.

In August 1969, the department began its journey toward what would become advanced life support in Warren.  CPR training was started and cardiopulmonary equipment was purchased to replace old "E" and "J" resuscitators.

In 1972, a new concept emerged from Miami and Jacksonville, Florida, using radio telemetry.  This new system sent E.K.G's over the air from a rescue vehicle to a local hospital, a revolutionary concept.  Members of the Warren City Council and Fire Department investigated this new technique.  The firefighters would be called "Paramedics" and learn to use IVs, take vital signs, E.K.G.'s, administer drugs, recognize serious ailments, and administer electric shock to restart a heart into a proper lifesaving rhythm.  The committee learned that lifesaving in these areas jumped to 25%.

Starting in late 1972, staffing was obtained and a local area hospital that was willing to train firefighters was found.  It would be Bi-County Hospital that took on the job of training 25 men.  The training would last nine months.

On April 1, 1974, the department would put its first Advanced Life Support Unit into service.  This unit ran the entire city by itself on medical emergencies, along with the first due Engine Companies.  Warren's first paramedics proved the concept from home to hospital door; advanced medical care would work.  Without the sacrifice and professionalism of these first paramedics, Warren's Advanced Life Support Program would not have succeeded.  The City of Warren would become the second in Macomb County to use advanced paramedic squads (Harrison Township was first).  Additional units would be added in August, 1980; January 1983; and January 1989, bringing the department up to four fully manned paramedic ambulances, called Squads.  This provided the state's third largest city with state of the art prehospital medical care.  The Warren Fire Department would lead the county and state for more than two decades in advanced pre-hospital care before it would be common place in fire departments throughout the state.

In 1987, Warren and four other communities, plus the Detroit Tank Arsenal, agreed to develop a way to share the cost and training demands of a specialized unit designed to mitigate hazardous material incidents.  The South Macomb Incident Response Team "S.M.I.R.T" was born.  Each entity contributes an equal amount of money per year for new equipment, training and maintenance.  The end result would be the best-trained and equipped Haz Mat response team in the state.

The year 1996 would be a record-breaking year for the Warren Fire Department.  The department responded to 10,009 alarms. There were 7,259 medical runs and 829 fires.  The department's workload continues to escalate.  In the year 2000, the department set a record of responding to 10,631 alarms; approximately 7,000 were medical calls.  The number of alarms increased in 2001 to 10,769 and increased further to 10,873 in 2002.  In the year 2009, the department responded to 12,677 alarms.

Today, the City of Warren Fire Department covers 34.5 square miles and serves a population of approximately 135,000 that swells to over 300,000 during weekday business hours.  The department now responds to 20,000 calls for service each year.  The department operates out of six stations geographically located throughout the city.  Four licensed Paramedic Engines, one licensed Paramedic Quint, six licensed Pramedic Transporting Squads, one Heavy Rescue, also liscenced as a paramedic response vehicle, and one Ladder Truck cover the City 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are currently 127 full-time Local 1383 Firefighters working for the Department, 120 of which are on 24-hour shifts with a three-unit rotation.  The other 8 members of the department are assigned to the 40-hour division.  This division is composed of a Deputy Fire Chief, Chief of EMS, Special Operations Chief, Fire Marshal and 4 Fire Inspectors.  An appointed Fire Commissioner and Fire Chief head the department.

Page Last Updated: Dec 07, 2022 (17:45:33)
Warren Firefighters Local 1383
3272 East 12 Mile Rd. Suite 107
Warren, MI 48092

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