In 1942 the Crockery Township Fire Department can find its roots, The office of Civil Defense provided the community with 12 back pack pump cans which carried five gallons of water each. During this time the department consisted of 16 members with Jack Peterson as the Chief of the Department. Because of the growth in the community after World War 2 the fire department found it necessary to become motorized, purchasing their first new fire truck in 1947 for a mere $5,400. In 1950 the community began compensating its members for giving their time by paying them $2.00 per call. In 2006 the Crockery Township Board voted to increase compensation for the previous 8.65 to $9.00 per hour while on calls.
The department has survived two periods of controversy one in 1989 when three board members resigned leaving the township in a position where they were at a standstill. Township firefighters pledged to remain and continue to respond even if they had to pay for fuel out of their own pocket.
Most recently in 2004 when the very department was at the center of controversy many members of the department stayed with the department and weathered the storm for the community’s sake. Several of these members remained with the premise that once they saw the department could function with new members and they were no longer “keeping the doors open” they would gracefully move on.
During 2005 the Crockery Township Fire Department saw a re-birth of sorts although not the first time they received grants it was in fact the first time they received this large of a grant. Receiving approximately $70,000 from the AFG grant program most commonly referred to as the FIRE ACT program. This grant funded 12 new portable radios, all new firefighting gear at over $1600 per set, new hoses, updates to breathing apparatus, new wildland firefighting equipment, training, and new specialized water supply equipment. Then during 2006 the department received a grant for three new Automatic Defibrillators, which allowed the department to place these units with firefighters in the field so they may respond with medical equipment direct to scenes reducing the response time to an emergency. The department also received a federal grant for nearly $60,000 which will be spread over four years to cover recruitment and retention programs for new and existing members.
Other grants the department received have been for the following:
- Dive rescue equipment
- Jaws of Life
- Thermal Imaging Camera
- Jack Peterson
- Sam Brown
- Jud Baldus
- Leo Brown (15 years)
- Larry Lanbregtse
- Joel Sheridan (over 20 years)
- Gary Dreyer (2004 - Present)
The mission of the fire service has changed greatly over the history of the Crockery Township Fire Department and we have seen the advent of many new technologies into the fire service. In the early days the department’s job was only to stop the spread of fire and hopefully confine it to the building of origin, nowadays the department responds more quickly through radio dispatching and 9-1-1. The department even enters burning structures to stop fire at its smallest state when they arrive, we handle medical emergencies, perform water rescue services, hazardous materials responses with the help of the Ottawa County Haz-mat Team, we provide automotive extrication services and many other duties. When the department was founded the average fire truck was 6-7 feet wide, about 7 or 8 feet tall and twenty feet or so long costing as much as $5000. New apparatus is as much 11 feet tall 8 feet wide and thirty feet long costing as much as half a million dollars.
Over the history of the Crockery Township Fire Department has operated 19 units identified in the following list:
- The first truck was a 1947 chevy pumper which was produced by American Fire apparatus of Battle Creek Michigan. This unit was equipped with a 50 gallon per minute front mount pump, and carried 500 gallons of water. The specifications for this unit were printed on four pages of paper.
- A used 1948 Ford milk truck converted into a water tanker, with a front mounted 500 gallon per minute pump, it carried 12oo gallons of water.
- A new 1965 Ford pumper with a 500 gallon per minute pump and a 500 gallon water tank. This unit was produced by American Fire apparatus of Battle Creek Michigan This unit replaced the 1947 chevy.
- A new 1974 Chevy 4x4 ¾ ton pick-up brush truck, which was equipped with a 250 gallon per minute pump and a 250 gallon water tank on a skid mounted unit. In 1988 this unit was converted to a rescue truck.
- A new 1975 International Tanker with a 1500 gallon water tank and a 500 gallon per minute front mounted water pump. The unit was produced by American Fire apparatus of Battle Creek Michigan. This unit was replaced in 2006
- A military Jeep purchased in 1973, which carried 60 gallons of water and was able to pump 95 gallons per minute.
- A used 1973 Ford cement truck which was converted to a 4000 gallon water tanker, originally equipped with a 250 gallon portable pump mounted on the back bumper. The pump was later upgraded to a 500 gallon per minute pump. This unit is still in service as of 2006. This unit replaced the 1948 Ford.
- A used 1969 ford pumper with a mid mounted 1000 gpm pump carrying 750 gallons of water, this unit was purchased in 1992. This replaced the 1965 pumper.
- A DNR owned Dodge powerwagon pick-up replaced the 1974 chevy as a brush truck
- A used 1979 Ford utility truck replaced the 1974 4x4 as a rescue truck in 1998.
- A new 1996 International pumper manufactured by Emergency one in Ocala Florida capable of carrying 5 people in the cab with a top mounted 1250 gallon per minute pump and 1000 gallons of water replaced the 1969 pumper. This unit cost $235,000 when new.
- A DNR owned 1985 Chevy Pick-up replaced the Dodge Powerwagon as a brush truck.
- A new 2003 International pumper-tanker manufactured by Emergency one in Ocala Florida equipped with a 2000 gallon per minute pump and an 1800 gallon tank replaced the 1975 tanker. When this truck was purchased it was originally specified with a 1500 gallon per minute pump and it was later learned that the cost of a 2000 gallon per minute pump was exactly the same as a 1500 GPM so the order was changed. This unit serves as a dual purpose unit providing the same equipment as a pumper as well as water supply abilities.
- A DNR owned 1968 Kaiser military 6x6 replaced the Military jeep, this unit is equipped with a 300 gpm pump and a 1000 gallon water tank.
- A used 1995 Ford manufactured by Emergency one in Ocala Florida equipped with a 300 gallon water tank and a 500 gallon per minute pump replaced the 1979 used rescue truck. This unit serves as a dual service unit providing firefighting abilities with the rescue truck
- In 2006 the department also placed into service two specialty trailers, one owned by the DNR is a lighting tower.
- The second specialty trailer owned by the Region 6 bio-terrorism network equipped to respond to mass casualties.
- A used 1988 medium Rescue Truck purchased from the City of Grandville. Carries 6 personnel, Jaws of Life and other specialty equipment. When received, had only 7500 miles on it for a price of $500.
- A new 2013 Polaris Ranger and trailer which were purchased under grants, for brush fire and Remote Rescue Capabilities.