Hastings Star Gazette, March 4, 1982
Hastings Fire Department
The first Hastings Fire Department was a volunteer group which met in 1856. The Hastings City Council refused to furnish a fire house for the apparatus the department had purchased at its own expense. The group disbanded and burned the hooks and ladders. Following that action, the City Council passed an ordinance in 1857 whereby funds were appropriated for the purchase of two engines and hoses. Several independent fire companies were formed following the adoption of the ordinance. The last independent fire company was the Vermillion Hose Company No. 2. The city assigned them a steam engine and a hose cart. A two-story brick fire house was built in the 1880s before construction of the Hastings City Hall. It was located on Sibley Street between Third and Fourth streets. That fire house remained in operation until the present fire hall on West Fifth Street was built in the early 1960s.
This is a photo of The Hope Engine Co. as they show off the fire engines and teams they used for fighting fires in the late 1880s. Their constitution only allowed Germans to become members of the company. (photo courtesy of the Hastings Fire Department).
Hastings Independent, February 5, 1863
Fire Company. The Germans of our city, with their accustomed energy and zeal for the welfare of mankind and the protection of their property, have organized a fire company. We are glad to see this movement, for we have long felt its need, and how powerless we should be in case a fire should break out. We trust that our citizens will not withhold their aid in procuring the necessary apparatus for the organization, thereby making it a fixed fact, and not merely a thing to talk about.
Hastings Independent, February 26, 1863
As a Fire Company has been organized in this city, the next question is what kind of machinery shall be procured. We say let it be a STEAM FIRE ENGINE. To get a hand engine involves the necessity of two machines, and a number of cisterns, to make them effective. one hand machine will force water but six hundred feet, while a steam machine has the capacity of 5,000 feet. It will be seen by this that the steam engine can be made effective in almost any part of the city without additional facilities for water, while the hand machine will do its work but poorly on Second Street. Two hand machines will cost at the lowest calculation $1,000 each, while four cisterns (less we could not do with) would cost $500 each. To sum up then, the expense of hand machines, would be: Two engines, $2,000, four cisterns 2,000, total $4000. One Steam Fire Engine will accommodate our wants without other outlay and will cost but about $2,500, making the purchase of the Steam Fire Engine a matter of economy, and saving to the city at the outset of $1,500. We vote for the Steam Fire Engine.