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Fire Department History

1866 to 1935

The first volunteer fire brigade was organized shortly after the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad in November of 1866. Although there were only 12 members, they would respond primarily to prairie fires. Of the first twelve original members of this department, all were employed by the railroad. This organization had no name, mainly because North Platte was not incorporated as a city until 1874. Requirements for joining this fire brigade were very simple; you had to own your own leather bucket. In 1883, a gentleman approached the local government and stated he would offer fire protection to the city. It appears that along with his commitment, he would also offer 30 new leather buckets with the deal. However, the city fathers declined the offer. It was in December of 1887 that the first fire brigade was reorganized into the North Platte Volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Department was comprised of three fire companies: Cody Engine, Hinman Hose, and Buffalo Bill Hook and Ladder. The later company was started by a $100 donation made by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody.