Platteville Fire Department History

Platteville’s first organized fire protection came about in 1874. After a disastrous fire on the night of April 15, 1874, a paper was circulated and signed by some 60 businessmen of the village to meet and form an organization to protect the village against fire. On May 6, 1874, a committee met in the town clerk’s office and drew up an application to the village board for the organization of the Hook & Ladder No. 1. On May 18, 1874 at 7:00, the organization was formed and adopted By-Laws, elected officers, and established that the first Wednesday of September would be their annual meeting.

On November 6, 1874, another meeting took place to form an additional fire company. Using the Constitution and By-Laws from Galena, Illinois as a guide, the Mound City Engine Company No. 1 was formed. By December of that year, a fire engine or pumper was purchased.

The first “truck” or wagon for the Hook and Ladder Co. was built in April 1875 by Alexander Butler of Platteville for a cost of $300. It came complete with ladders, grappling hooks, water buckets, axes, and chains.

The two fire companies would drill together. Both the ladder wagon and the pumper wagon were housed in the first “Engine House”.

In 1883, the second fire station was constructed. It was an addition to the south end of City Hall.

On February 8, 1919, the Forehand Block fire occurred. Eight people, including four Platteville firefighters lost their lives in that fire.

On December 13, 1926, a fire destroyed City Hall. In 1927, a new City Hall was constructed with the north side of the building home to Platteville’s third fire station. This building is still in use as City Hall.

On June 13, 1944, the first merger attempt of the two fire companies lost on a 19 to 11 vote. Also discussed at that meeting was pay for the firefighters.

In the fall of 1951, the Hook and Ladder Company and the Mound City Engine Company consolidated to form the Platteville Fire Department.

In 1964, the fourth fire station was built. This station, on the corner of East Main Street and Ellen Street, is still in use today as the fire department.