Serving Since 1892 

About Us

        The Marion Fire Department was organized on February 9, 1891 with a membership of 15 men.  At that time the fire department served as bucket brigade, which consisted of open wells in the various parts of town, with buckets.  In case of fire, the men would line up from the wells to the fire, passing the water buckets by hand, putting the water on the fire.  At the time, if they realized they could not save the building or the adjoining buildings, they would start salvaging the doors, windows, furniture and etc and carrying the items  a safe distance from the fire. 

In 1902 to 1904 the fire hydrants were installed and a hose reel was purchased.  The hose reel was made up of an axle and two wheels with the hose wrapped around the axle.   When an alarm was sounded, which was done mostly by guns being discharged or someone hollering for help, the men would report to the station which was located in the south part of Marion, and pull the hose cart to the fire.  The fire men would then pull the hose from the reel and connect it to the hydrant to extinguish the fire.

A year or two later, the station was moved to the ground floor of the Opera House on Godbold Street which served as the fire department until 1920.  Then the station was moved to the old City Hall on West Court Street.  About the year of 1910, the city purchased their first fire wagon and two horses to pull the wagon.  This replaced the hose reel.  The horse’s names were Herb and Louie.  The City of Marion was protected from fire by Herb and Louie along with the men of the Swamp Fox Hose Company until the purchase of the first motorized apparatus in 1922. 

The Swamp Fox Hose Company participated in muster competitions.  A muster competition was a contest that consisted of laying hose and connecting to the hydrant, and the first company to get water from the nozzle was determined to be the winner.  In 1917, the Swamp Fox Hose Company  won the Lower State Championship and they traveled by rail with Herb, Louie, and the fire wagon to Sioux City, Iowa for the World’s Fair, where they the World Championship.  This was the greatest honor a fire department could achieve in those days.

After returning from the World’s Fair, the fire department was moved into the City Hall Building that was on West Court Street at that time.   The city then placed an order for a 1923 American LaFrance Fire Engine, this would be the first motorized fire apparatus used by the City of Marion.  Once this fire engine was delivered, Herb and Louie retired from service, after 13 years of dedicated service.  The second motorized apparatus was a 1932 American LaFrance Pumper. 

In 1957 the fire department moved once again to the rear of the current City Hall Building on South Main Street.  The fire department was stationed here until 1969 when the current fire station was constructed.  This is the first building that was constructed for the purpose of a fire station.  When the station was completed, it was described as the most modern in the state.  This station is still used today to house the fire department. 

Today the fire department has evolved into a modern service that responds to a myriad of emergencies, not just fires.  The fire service of today is evolving into a “Fire Rescue,” and the City of Marion Fire Department is no different.  Today’s fire department is capable of handling; hazardous materials incidents, technical rescues, emergency medical services, and water rescue, just to name a few.  These additional responsibilities are on top of the traditional fire department roles such as; public education and fire prevention, code enforcement, fire suppression, and fire investigation.

Fire Apparatus and equipment of today, bear little resemblance to the hose cart that was initially used by the Swamp Fox Hose Company.  One thing, however, does remain the same.  The fire department is manned by firefighters that sacrifice their time and effort to help their fellow citizens.  
The City of Marion Fire Department is manned today by nine full-time firefighters, and forty volunteers.   Together these firefighter respond to a myriad of emergency and non-emergency situations.

Training is a vital function of any fire department.  Firefighters today must be trained and equipped to handle a wide variety of situations.  Firefighters must be trained to handle 
               Fire Suppression
                        Engine Company Operations
                        Truck Company Operations
                Emergency Medical Services
                        Advanced Life Support
                        Basic Life Support
                Technical Rescue
                        Confined Space Rescues
                        Trench Rescues
                        Vehicle Extrications
                        Hazardous Materials Responses

            This training requires a large committment on the part of each firefighter and their families, but the reward is helping others in need and becoming part of the brotherhood of firefighters.             



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