OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SERVICE
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 its 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.
Over the next several decades, the department grew with the city, and founded more fire companies, including Company 2 in 1891, Company 3 in 1896, Company 4 in 1897, Company 5 in 1904, Company 6 in 2005, and Company 7 in 2007.
The Elgin FireFighters Association NO. 439 was founded on August 12th, 1935. IAFF Local 439 went on to become a charter local of the Associated Firefighters of Illinois, helping found the organization along with pushing for better working conditions for professional firefighters throughout the state. Currently, Local 439 proudly represents 130 firefighters. These firefighters provide protection to 40 square miles of the city, as well as all of the 110,000 residents of the City of Elgin. We protect multiple historic districts nestled within the city, two hospitals, the Grand Victoria Casino, multiple colleges, massive industrial and commercial complexes, as well as portions of the Fox River, Interstate 90, Routes 20, 31, and 25, and portions of the Northwest Metra rail line and two major freight lines. We are currently ranked a Class 2 ISO rating, while we respond out of 7 Stations, to an average of 11,000 calls per year.
Since 1935, Local 439 has proudly served its members as well as the City of Elgin. While adhering to the Fire Department’s philosophy of saving lives and preserving property, we constantly strive to protect our members’ jobs and safety, all the while supporting the diverse communities nestled within the City of Elgin. From our work with the MDA Fill the Boot Campaign to our work with our local Representatives, Local 439 strives to make a positive impact in our community!