Since the early origins of the City, the South Bend Fire Department has held
a reputation as one of the finest Departments in the Midwest. The area's
first organized fire protection entity commenced operations on January 29,
1853, twelve years before the incorporation of the city. The group consisted
of unpaid volunteers in two companies. The Department grew to include
three engines, three hose companies, and one hook and ladder and bucket
company by 1868, and in 1887 became a full-time paid fire department.
The Department continued to expand as South Bend grew. By 1919, the
department included sixty-seven men in twelve companies.
The Department presently employees 251 full-time Firefighters in four
divisions, and services a population of approximately 101,000. The
department’s function has changed from exclusively fighting fires, to an
all-hazards emergency response service. Examples of functions provided by the
South Bend Fire Department are fire suppression, Emergency Medical Services,
water rescue, Hazardous Materials emergency response, technical rescue and
other emergency responses.
The objective of the South Bend Fire Department is to provide rapid and
efficient response to emergency medical incidents, fires, hazardous materials
incidents, and complex rescue situations in order to safeguard the life and
property of our citizens.