A Brief History of the Hudsonville Fire Department

The City of Hudsonville Fire Department officially began September 3O, 1957. At that time the city fathers adopted the following: Sec.4.13, "The fire chief shall be responsible for preventing and extinguishing of fires in the city".

The actual firefighting efforts of the citizens began many years prior. In the early years the businessmen within the city would leave their jobs to help put out a fire.

Some of these business owners were:

  • Jake DeWeerd
  • Andrew DeWeerd
  • Ray VanDyke
  • Alfred Ringerwall
  • John DeVree Sr. (Chief)

The first piece of firefighting equipment was housed in the repair shop of John DeVree Sr. This “equipment” was a two wheeled cart with a barrel and a two man hand pump. In 1927 the two-man pump, and the local men, were called out to fight a fire at the Borculo Christian Reformed Church. The wind was from the east and three barns down wind also caught fire due to flying embers. All shingles in those days were made of wood making easy fuel for a fire.

The next year the city felt the need to purchase it’s first fire truck. To help with the cost, farmers in the area were asked to donate $20.00. In return the department would come out to their area if they ever had a fire. Only the richest farmers in the area could afford this as this was just before the “Great Depression”. The first fire truck purchased was a 1928 Chevrolet with no cab, a front mount pump, and a 200 gal water tank.

In 1957, John Brink was appointed the new fire chief. At this time the station was moved to 3292 VanBuren, just west of DeWeerd and VanDyke Plumbing. From this station the department also took care of Georgetown Township until they were able to start their own fire department.

The firemen in the city were dispatched by means of a bell system. The Chief and several other men had switches in their homes to alert the rest of the department of a fire. Years later the department went to a tone monitor system.

Some of the major fires in the early years were:

  • 1938—Hudsonville Congregational Church
  • 1948—Hudsonville Reformed Church
  • 1951-Hudsonville Box & Basket
  • 1952-VanNoords Mill
  • Hudsonville Lumber
  • Farmers Co-op

Some of the firefighting equipment purchased in the past years:

  • 1965 International pumper w/750 gpm pump
  • 1978 International pumper w/1000 gpm pump
  • 1992 HME/Becker pumper w/1250 gpm pump
  • 1989 used Chevy equipment
  • 1997 Chevy EMS van

The following men have served as Hudsonville Fire Chief:

  • John DeVree
  • John Brink (1957-1964)
  • Norm Elenbaas (1964-1969)
  • Jim Plaggemeyer (1969-1975)
  • Rol DeWeerd (1975-1991)
  • Pete Luyk (1991-2002)
  • Dick Mohr (2002-Present)

There have been many changes along the years, such as:

  • EMS service -1991
  • Cadet program -1993
  • Knox Box entry system -1994
  • New fire station on Central Blvd -1994

The Hudsonville Fire Department has grown from a small village department, with a minimal amount of equipment, to a department with state of the art firefighting capabilities. The department is proud to still utilize some of the businessmen in the area along with men who live in the community. These men have been trained to the highest standards set across the country.

The citizens of Hudsonville should take pride in a department that has brought them safely through the past 125 years and with the help of God and country, will take them safely into the future.

“Dedicated To Saving Life and Property”
Hudsonville Fire Department