The Monroe Volunteer Fire Department was founded on May 1, 1906 shortly after water was first turned into the water mains. The first Fire Chief was a Mr. Sewell, a painter that came here from Cedartown, Georgia. Mr. Sewell was a member of the Cedartown Volunteer Department and helped organize Monroe’s Department. The founding members of the department were: Mr. Sewell (Fire Chief), Tom Griffin, J.W. Butts, Hugh B. Williamson, C.H. Anderson, P.A. Dickinson, Walter Watkins, M. Mendel, and Homer Crossley.
In the beginning it was completely volunteer. However, in 1911 or 1912 the volunteers ask the City Council for $1.00 (around $24 in today’s economy) for each fire and .50 (around $12.00 in in today’s economy) cents for each practice night. The first fire truck, a new American LaFrance Type 75 was bought in 1916. Prior to this the department used a two-wheeled horse drawn hose cart and a HL (hook and ladder?) type truck. The new fire truck was kept behind the old Monroe Police Station and City Hall located at the corner of W. Spring St. and Wayne St.
The truck that sits before you is the City of Monroe’s 2nd fire truck (still referred to as E-1) a 1927 Type 75 American LaFrance. It came with a 6 cylinder 130 horsepower engine and could pump 750 gallons a minute. The estimated price of the truck was approximately $6,000.00 ($83,000.00 in today’s economy). The 1916 American LaFrance was sold to a City in Florida.
E-2 was purchased sometime in the early 1940’s. E-2 is a 1941 Chevrolet. The City had to request permission from the federal government to purchase the truck because most vehicles/equipment was being used to support the war effort. Originally the truck was painted Olive Green (the only color available during the war) and had very little chrome plating. Sometime after the war the City had to get permission from the federal government again to paint the truck red. The truck is currently owned by Andrew Malcolm, a former employee of the City of Monroe.
Sometime around 1944 the fire station moved along with City Hall to a new located on S. Broad St. (Now the Monroe Heritage Museum). At that time the Department had a 1941, 500 Gallon Chevrolet Pirsch (E-2), (Engine 1 still belonged to the city, but was apparently no longer used for fire suppression at this time). The department occupied the left hand side of City Hall. The truck bay is now closed up with a large window. The sleeping quarters and kitchen was on the left side of the second floor.
The department bought its next engine in 1954. Engine 3 was a Ford American LaFrance. Later (sometime in the 80’s) E-3 was sold to Gratis Volunteer Fire Department, and was relabeled as Engine-9. This Gratis Volunteer Fire Department was later taken over by Walton County Fire Rescue in 1987. Old Engine-3 now serves as the County’s parade truck.
In 1964, a new 500 gallon Ford Pirsh (Engine -4) was purchased and the old American LaFrance (E-1) was given to the American Legion. (The American Legion uses it as a parade truck and still owns the truck to this day).
As Monroe grew it didn’t take long before there wasn’t enough room for City Hall the Police Department and the Fire Department to share the same building. On August 1, 1963 the Department moved into a new (fire department only) station on the corner of S. Madison Ave and E. Washington St. At that time the Department had six full time personnel and sixteen volunteers. Later that month the department received a new 1,000 gallon Dodge Peter Pirsch fire truck (Engine – 5) 1978, was a good year for the department, first it bought a 1,000 gallon Ford Peter Pirsch fire, (Engine – 6) which was use as the front line truck until the mid-1990’s. It continued as the department’s reserve engine until 2015 when it was removed from service and sold. The second good thing in 1978 the department received an ISO Class 5 rating. By 1982 it had dropped to a class 4 ISO.
The department bought its first ladder truck (L-1) in 1985. In addition to the points that the department gained for ISO the ladder truck gave the department the needed equipment to deal with the larger buildings in our area.
In 1987, Walton County started the Walton County Fire Department (later to be renamed Walton County Fire Rescue). The County added two truck bays on the end of the Monroe Fire Station as a temporary home for the county fire department. In 1989, the department’s ISO rating was dropped again, this time to a Class 3. At the time the City of Monroe was one of the smallest cities in the State of Georgia with such a low ISO rating.
A down-burst struck the City of Monroe on February 21, 1993, causing major damage to many of the buildings within the downtown area. The Fire Station was no exception. From 1993 till 1996 the Department used two of the hangers at the City Airport as a temporary station while a new station was constructed.
In 1995 and 1996 the department received two engines (E-7 & E-8). Both engines are still in service E-7 is the second out apparatus and E-8 is the department’s reserve/training apparatus.
Our Ladder Truck (L-1) was reaching the end of its useful life and in the summer of 2001 the City purchased a new KME 102 foot aerial platform truck (LT-1).
In 2006 the engine numbering of or all of our apparatus were reassigned to reduce confusion between our units and the units of other municipalities since we all used the same 911 dispatch/communication center. Engine 8 was reassigned as Engine 102 and Engine 7 assigned as Engine 101. In addition, our station went from being called simply Monroe Fire to Station 1.
The department’s newest fire truck is a 2014 Sutphen. It holds 750 gallons of water and can pump 1250 gallons per minute. It’s equipped to handle a multitude of incidents including: Fire suppression, vehicle accidents/extrication, EMS, gas leaks, sever weather calls and minor hazardous material incidents.