The Dayton Fire Department came into being, just like many other fire departments did across the country, out of necessity. Following a fire at Daniel Cooper’s grist mill on June 2, 1820, the town passed its first fire protection laws and so the Bucket Brigade was born. Those were the days of the Volunteer Firemen.
The Volunteer days ended right after the steam engine was invented in Cincinnati, Ohio. The steam engine enabled a few men to do what it had taken many men to accomplish with the older style hand pumps. In the fall of 1863, William Patton was appointed Chief of the Dayton Steam Fire Department. This was a full time paid department with 3 steam fire engines and fifteen firemen.
By the 1900’s the Dayton Fire department had grown to 12 fire houses staffed by 72 firemen. As the City of Dayton’s population increased to a high of 290,000 people in 1959 the fire department ranks swelled to around 390 members staffing 12 front line engine, 5 front line trucks and 7 ambulances.
In 1956 the City of Dayton purchased 4 Pontiac Ambulances marking the fire departments entry into Emergency Medical Services. The City of Dayton participated in a CETA program in 1979 bringing in Paramedics enabling them to offer both an Advanced Life Support (ALS) service and a Basic Life Support (BLS) service.
Today the Dayton Fire department has 12 engine houses with 9 front line engines, 5 front line trucks and 7 medic units. The department firefighters are cross trained as paramedics making all EMS service ALS.