Fire Department History


The Morton Grove Fire Department was established in 1904, nine years after the organization of Morton Grove as a village.

The first horse drawn pumper was purchased that took 8-10 men to raise a stream if they could get a water supply. With no water system in the village, the firefighters were dependent upon wells, ponds, ditches, or even the river (now known as the North Branch of the Chicago River

A distinctive feature of the company is the locating of Pyrene fire extinguishers throughout the village where they are easily accessible. The object being to quench fires in their early infancy, or hold them in check until the arrival of the fire company.

By 1912 the village had its first water supply with a hydrant system. A year later the firefighters purchased a new Howe gasoline pumper.

The first motorized fire truck was a Studebaker that was purchased in 1916. This truck had a chassis and motor designed for use as a World War I ambulance. For 20 years it served the MGFD.

For many years the volunteers were called from their work or home throughout the community by several short blasts of the Poehlmann plant whistle. This was supplanted by a siren system installed in 1927.

In 1965, after 61 years of volunteer service, the MGFD went to a professional and full time paid department. An ambulance was purchased for the MGFD through gifts of $6000 from the American Legion, $2500 from Morton Grove Days, and the balance of $13,000 from gifts from industry and citizens. In 1969 the department answered 965 calls, 461 of which were for ambulance service.