The Lawrence Fire Department was first organized in 1859 as a volunteer engine company but was disbanded in 1862 from a funding shortfall due to the Civil War. Ultimately the department became a 10-member strong full-time agency in 1915 and started expanding its service delivery with an emergency medical response program 35 years later. In 1997, the department combined its emergency response force with the Douglas County Ambulance Service creating the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Department that today responds to almost 12,000 calls for service from seven stations and two support facilities. A staff of 164 committed men and women deliver comprehensive emergency response, and public education and protection services to the City of Lawrence, University of Kansas, and the Haskell Indian Nations University.

In 2015, the department celebrated its 100th anniversary as a municipal fire department and has joined an industry leading group of only 38 internationally accredited agencies to attain an ISO Class 1 rating.

View “The History of the Lawrence Fire Department 1859 – 1975”, book published June, 1980.


History in Photos Page


1970 Firefighting Video (youtube link) featuring Kansas City, Lawrence, and Topeka fire departments.