The Elwood Fire Department has 20 full time Firefighters, 3 engines, 3 ambulances, and 1 ariel ladder truck. There are 6 men on duty working 24 hour shifts. The department currently has 19 licensed EMT’s, 20 certified as first class Firefighters, 8 certified as Fire Investigators, and 1 certified Instructors. The entire department is trained to operations level in Hazardous Materials.
The department trains in confined spaces and vehicle rescues as well as investigating gas leaks, odors, and electrical hazards. The Elwood Fire Department is always updating and striving to be well trained in all types of emergencies to improve their service to the City of Elwood.
History of The Elwood Fire Department
In 1892, one of the first efforts of Elwood’s new administration was the organization of a fire department. The first firehouse, located in the 1400 block of Main Street, was purchased for $3000. Elwood ordered one horse drawn hose wagon and one hand drawn hook and ladder wagon. Three years later, in 1895, a second horse drawn hook and ladder wagon was purchased. Elwood’s first appointed fire chief was Patrick O’Brian.
In 1892, the city sought to moderize the Fire Department by purchasing a Gamewell Alarm System. This system of alarm boxes located throughout the city was a vital part of the fire service for many years. This system was still maintained and in service until the Department moved into the new Municipal Building in 2003.
In 1900, the Elwood Fire Department moved to the Elwood City Building located at 16th and Main Streets. In 1918, the city purchased a Type A, 4-cylinder Brockway Hose and Ladder truck. That same year the last run was made by the horse drawn fire wagons to a fire at the Opera House. The City auctioned off the horses and wagons in 1918.
The first snorkel fire truck in the State of Indiana was delivered to Elwood in 1961.
In the 118 year history of the Elwood Fire Department, only 2 men have lost their lives in the line of duty. They were Pick Lear in 1955 and Theodore “Pete” Wilson in 1962. Both men sustained heart attacks while fighting fires.
In April of 2003 the Elwood Fire Department moved into the new Elwood Municipal Building at 1505 South B Street. The new building provided the department with better facilities and more space. A third ambulance was added and the department currently makes approximately 1600 runs a year.
The first Chief was Patrick O’Brien in 1892. The Chief who served the longest term which ran from January 1, 1992 to August 31, 2011 was Milton Gough.
Brad Compton became Chief September 1, 2011.