Following a large fire in 1867, the Elgin Fire Department was founded. In the beginning, the Elgin Fire Department was fully staffed by volunteers. The Elgin Hook and Ladder Company ran out of a small wooden firehouse located on Spring St. In 1869, two additional Hose Companies were founded, the Ed Joslyn Hose Company, and the James T. Gifford Engine Company. At this time, the city also purchased their first steam fire engine. This fire engine was named James T. Gifford, after the city’s founder, and went on to fight many fires, including the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.