Hibbing Fire Department History

The Hibbing Fire Department was first organized in the summer of 1894, the year of Hibbing’s first large fire at the Coppinger Hotel. The original fire department was not much more than an organized bucket brigade.  

The fire department received hose carts for equipment in 1896, replacing the bucket brigade. 


The history of the department is dotted by many large fires:

  • In 1907 the Miles Hotel and Theater in downtown Hibbing burned down. 

  • The Haley Theater burned in 1911.

  • The city was almost lost to fire in 1914 with the Barrett barn fire which was fueled by high winds, building design, and placement.  

  • On December 1933 the memorial building and sports center, one of the largest buildings on the iron range, was destroyed by fire. 


Equipment Changes

  • Equipment has grown from bucket brigades in 1894 to chemical trucks and service wagons drawn by horses in 1909. 

  • Then in 1919 they were replaced by motorized equipment and continued to change into the modern equipment you see today.

Department Growth

  • The department has grown in size of coverage from 5 square miles in the early 1900’s with the annexation of the town of stunts and outlying areas to the 186 square miles that are covered today.

  • The staff for the department has fluctuated from a small band of 20 volunteers to a large full-time department with over 100 employees in the 1940 -1950’s, to the current staff of 27 full time and 18 paid on call employees. 
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