In 1873, the first fire company in Wayland was formed, known as the “Champion Hook & Ladder Company #1”. The foreman (chief) was H.W. Garnsey.
In June of 1873, a hook and ladder wagon was purchased for $200. In January of 1875, a firebell was purchased for $21.50. That bell has been moved several times and today is in front of the sign by the fire hall.
In 1882, the “Babcock Fire Extinguishing Company” was formed with Frank Patchin as one of its leaders, but it never succeeded as a fire company.
On September 2, 1883, a huge fire broke out at Main Street and Naples Street, where the Antique Shop is now. The fire spread North on Main Street and East on Naples Street destroying many properties.
On October 14, 1873, another huge fire broke out at the opposite corner, where the bank is located today. This time the fire burned both west and East on Naples Street and jumped across the street to the Bryant Hotel, which was subsequently burned to the ground, along with many other properties. Volunteers with buckets of water were used to fight these 2 fires.
Ten years later, on November 24, 1893, another devastating fire occurred. This time, it started at Main Street and Fremont Street, where Mcallister’s Law Offices are currently located. This fire destroyed several buildings. After this fire, it was obvious that a water system was needed and the village formed a water works commission.
1904 was a great year for Wayland. First, the “Wayland Hose Company” was formed with Charles Rauber as Chief, for 20 years. Secondly, the water system was installed in the village.
In August 1917, the Chemical Company was formed with Victor Kimmel as President.
In May 1918, Wayland put in service its first motorized fire truck. Before this, wagons were pulled by hand or by horses (as seen in the accompanying pictures).
By the early part of the 1920s, 3 active fire companies needed a central location for equipment and meetings. Up to now, equipment was stored at Main Street and Fremont Street (where the old Sinclair gas station was), by the Railroad tracks next to the American Legion, and at 19 South Main Street. A building was built in 1922 at 7 East Naples Street and the fire departments stayed there until 1968.
In 1949, Charley Weinhart decided that our fire trucks should be painted white. That occurred and they have been white ever since.
On May 19, 1949, Blue Lights were authorized for volunteer firefighters responding to emergencies.
The Early 1950s were full of conflict due to too many fire chiefs, presidents, social members, general orders, and bylaws, so the 3 departments decided to merge. On December 10th, 1956, the first meeting of the combined Wayland Fire Department was held. The “Hose Company” became the active company, while the Hook & Ladder and Chemical companies became part of the history of the WFD.
On September 15th, 1965, the Wayland Fire Department Woman’s Auxiliary was formed and has proven to be a huge benefit to the fire department.
In January 1967, the Wayland Fire Department began to provide ambulance service to the Village and Town of Wayland. Trained medics and drivers began to (and still do) respond to hundreds of medical calls each year. Before this date, Baird, Allen, and Stanton funeral homes handled the emergency medical calls.
Around this same time, with the addition of an Ambulance, as well as the fire trucks and Recue truck, it was evident that a new fire hall was needed. In November 1968, the current fire hall was occupied.
Since the founding of the Wayland Fire Department (and its predecessor organizations), they have responded to numerous incidents, including fires, auto, train, and horse accidents, drowning, rescues, wind storms, tornadoes, ice storms, floods, and snow storms.