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On April 24, 1867, the strongest recorded earthquake in Kansas damaged the new schoolhouse in Ottawa. It was declared unsafe. The schoolhouse was converted into the fire station and used in that capacity for over 30 years.

On December 17, 1930, the first OFD gasoline powered pumper arrived. The fire engine was an American LaFrance that could pump 750 gallons of water per minute at 125 pounds of pressure. It cost $12,500.  Engine 8 is still owned by OFD and housed at Fire Station 1

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On January 24, 1867, a city ordinance was published in the Western Home Journal on page 3, “… establishing a fire department for the town of Ottawa consisting of a hook, ladder and bucket company.” This first department was made up of all volunteers.

W.H. Hartshorn became the first driver for the Ottawa Fire Department on March 19, 1872. Hartshorn also became the first paid firefighter for the OFD.


On March 21, 1973, the City Commission awarded a bid for $282,220 to Sell Constructors, Inc., to build a new fire station at 720 West 2nd Street. The total bill was approximately $350,000. On January 3, 1974, the 14 men of the Ottawa Fire Department moved into the new station.

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