On a cold March day in 1939, Bill Bryant cleaned his Colorado State Highway Department barn floor with gasoline. Later when he lit a cigarette and dropped the match on the floor, the barn immediately caught fire. It was impossible to save the barn or any of the equipment in it. This incident gave several men the idea of forming the Granby Volunteer Fire Department.
March 27, 1939 – the first meeting was held at the Legion Hut. Bylaws were passed and dues were fixed at 10 cents per month. They decided to use the school bell as a fire alarm until a proper alarm system was available. At that first meeting they also discussed building their first fire truck, which consisted of an old truck with a pump and tank.
- Jack Hale – Fire Chief
- Albert Selak – 1st Assistant Chief
- William Wood – 2nd Assistant Chief
- George Selak – Treasurer
- E. E. Johnson – Secretary
There were 15 charter members, including Morris Long, Ernie Shearer, and William Kingston. Bill Bryant was also on that list.
In order to buy equipment, money was raised by hosting dances, rodeos, and bingo’s or through donations. One tradition that began in November of 1947 was the annual turkey bingo. During the early years the turkeys were actually live. Grand Fire continues to hold the turkey bingo tradition every Saturday before Thanksgiving.
On April 8, 1939 – the first dance was held at city hall and they charged 75 cents per couple. These dances proved to be very successful in raising money for the department and they voted to hire an orchestra from Denver to come up for the dance in July. After that dance they even voted to purchase a piano for $35. Dances were held weekly, usually on Saturday nights.
In July, 1939 – they bought their first ladder with proceeds from the July dance.
In Oct, 1939 – held their first fire drill
Nov. 1939 – got their first siren. Morris Long reported that the town of Granby would build a fire house if the department would obtain the land. Land was later donated by George Selak.
As Barbara Baumgarten wrote sometime in the 1940’s:
“The community spirit of the Granby Volunteer Fire Department extends to more than fighting fires. For the past two years they have staged the Fourth of July rodeo and fireworks. This winter they flooded and kept up the skating pond for the school children. As a result of their great interest and activity in Granby, volunteer fire departments have recently been organized in Grand Lake and Kremmling. Granby can be proud of these public-spirited citizens.”
Grand Fire Protection District No. 1 was formally established on April 16, 1951. Today we provide emergency fire and rescue response to over 150 square miles operating out of two stations, with 12 pieces of apparatus and a dedicated group of volunteer firefighters.
Grand Fire Protection District owes gratitude to all of our past firefighters.
A special recognition and honor goes to Bud Wilson. Bud joined the fire department in December of 1955. On April 12, 1960 Bud was elected fire chief and served in that office for over 30 years. Chief Wilson helped set the ground work for what we have today.