The City of Grand Rivers, seeing a need for fire protection for its residents, the Grand Rivers City Council voted to establish the Grand Rivers Fire Department. The City ordered a new 1968 front-mount fire truck from American Fire Apparatus of Battle Creek Michigan for $27,000.00. Jerry Newcomb was appointed as the first Fire Chief and there were 43 volunteers on the department.
In November of 1968, the Fire Department took delivery of its first engine. It was decided at this time due to financial restrictions on the City that it would be best if the Grand Rivers City Fire Department would become a taxing district. After a lengthy battle with property owners rejecting the idea of new taxes, the county passed an ordinance for the creation of the "Tween the Lakes Fire Protection District." At this time in 1968, the fire district was allowed to respond 3 ˝ miles from its station in Grand Rivers. The Fire District's budget at this time was about $3,000.00 per year.
The fire district was allowed to expand its boundaries to 5-miles from its station. This increased the department's budget to about $12,000.00 per year.
The fire district was approached in 1988 to expand its fire district boundaries an additional 5-miles with the building of a second station. Grand Lakes Fire District opened Station #2 in October 1989. The fire districts budget increased to $28,000.00.
In January of 1996, the fire protection district took delivery of a new 1996 Pierce Saber Pumper – Engine 901. This truck has a 1,000 gallon tank and can pump 1,250 GPM.
In October of 1997, the fire district was once again approached on expanding its boundaries and the building of a third station in Tiline. Station #3 was opened in May of 2000.
The Grand Lakes Fire Department was given the Bank of Livingston County's Tiline branch for use as the Explorer Post. Explorer Post 752 was opened in 2002.
The Grand Lakes Fire Protection District encompasses over 125 square miles serving a population of 3500 residents and a summer-time population of over 10,000. The fire district's budget for this year was $175,000.00.
2006 - February
In February of 2006, the fire protection district took delivery of a new 2006 Pierce Saber Pumper – Engine 903. This truck has a 1,000 gallon tank and can pump 1,250 GPM.
2006 - September
In September of 2006, the fire protection district was awarded $167,706 through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase new turnout gear and equipment. With this grant, the department purchased 39 complete sets of turnout gear, 20-SCBAs with spare bottles, a rapid intervention team (RIT) pack, and a thermal imager.
2008 - April
In April of 2008, the fire district purchased a truck to replace our aging light-rescue truck. This new truck, previously used as an ambulance for a fire department in South Texas, carries all of our rescue equipment for auto extrication, high-angle/low-angle rescues and is used as a medical first response vehicle.
2008 - September
In September of 2008, the fire protection district was awarded $70,159 through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to purchase new communication equipment. With this grant, the department purchased new hand-held radios, pagers, head-sets for all seated positions in our 4-engines, new mobile radios for Engine 900 and 902, and base radios for Station #1 and Station #3.
2009 - October
In October 2009, Grand Lakes Fire Protection District started construction on the new Station 1/Fire District Headquarters building. This new station will have three pull-through bays, a large training room, sleeping quarters, workout facility, and several offices. This new building will replace the existing Station 1 located on Cumberland Avenue and built in the late 1800's.
2010 - April
On April 16, 2010, the Grand Lakes Fire Protection District received notification from the Department of Homeland Security that our Fiscal Year 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program application for $ 113,551 had been approved for award. This award allowed the department to purchase Generators for stand-by power for all three Stations, a special washer and dryer set to clean our turnout gear, new extrication equipment for auto extrication, and cribbing for use during vehicle extrication incidents.
2010 – July
In July 2010, after nearly two years of construction, the process of moving into the new Station 1/Fire District Headquarters began. The department’s members spent many hours cleaning and preparing the new building for the move. A formal Open House for the general public was held on the morning of October 9, 2010 (Hunter’s Moon Fall Festival).
2011 - April
In April 2011, after 36-years of service to the community served by the Grand Lakes Fire Department, Chief Troy Newcomb retired.
2011 - February
On February 11, 2011, the Grand Lakes Fire Protection District received notification from the Department of Homeland Security that our Fiscal Year 2010 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program application was approved for award. The department used $50,565 of the $66,538 awarded to purchase several thousand feet of much needed fire hose to replace aging fire hose - some as old as 40 years. The department also purchased various hose appliances and a hose tester with this grant.
2012 - January
In January 2012, after 43 years of dedicated service to the community served by the Grand Lakes Fire Department, Chief Engineer and long-time Executive Board member Jerry Newcomb retired. Jerry, a very dedicated firefighter, was also very instrumental in overseeing the construction of the Grand Lakes Fire Station and played a very important role as a Fire Board member. Jerry, we miss you and will always be grateful for the many years of dedicated service you provided.
2016 - January
January 1, 2016 – The Grand Lakes Fire Protection District Executive Fire Board appointed Charles Watkins as the new Chief for Grand Lakes Fire Department effective January 1, 2016. Charles has over 28-years of dedicated service to the Grand Lakes Fire Protection District most recently serving as Deputy Chief for the last four years. Charles is also employed by Livingston County EMS and has served as an EMT for that service for twelve years.