Fire Department History

Fire Department History


The Grass Valley Fire Department was first organized in 1853 with the establishment of a Hook and Ladder Company. It is the third oldest active fire department west of the Mississippi River. June 7, 1858 marked the day that the fire company was organized under law as the Grass Valley Hook and Ladder Company. In 1861 the Grass Valley Hook and Ladder Company was reorganized into Protection Hose Company No. 1 and then again into Protection Engine Company No. 1. The original station No. 1 was located at Main and School Streets, it later moved to the current location of City Hall and then to Brighton Street where it has remained since.

Over the course of 42 years three additional ladder companies were added to the department. On July 18, 1866, Eagle Hose Company No. 2 was organized and was located on East Main Street near City Hall, where the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County maintains there offices. On March 31, 1891 the Reliance Hose Company No. 3 was established with a station on Race Street, which still serves the Fire Department, it is no longer an active station but remains part of our rich history. In 1895 the Defiance Hose Company No. 4 was organized to protect the Boston Ravine area, located at Mill Street and Empire Street. The Defiance Hose Company operated for nearly 25 years, but disbanded in 1920.

In 1915, the fire department purchased its first motorized piece of fire apparatus, The Pierce Arrow, and by 1916 two additional motorized fire apparatus were added to the fleet.

The Grass Valley Fire Department currently operates out of three stations. Station No. 1 located on Brighton Street and Station No. 2 located on Sierra College Drive and Station No. 5 located at 201 Providence Mine, Nevada City. Today the  Department has 29 career personnel and provides protection to the 5 square miles of the City of Grass Valley as well as the City of Nevada City and outlying portions of Western  Nevada County.