First Fire Station

Written By: nppladmin - Nov• 13•20
Originally published on on November 13, 2020.

North Platte’s First Fire Station was first used as a hospital for Spanish Flu patients, before being used as its intended purpose of a Fire Station.

In the early months of 1917 there was talk about building a new fire station in North Platte. The volunteer firemen were upset that they still had to rent garage space throughout the city for their fire trucks. The truck and equipment were not secure; and things were constantly being stolen or vandalized. Not only were they renting garages, sometimes they housed their equipment in the back storage areas of local businesses, which were closed when they needed to gain access to said equipment.

In March of 1917, the firemen circulated petitions and spoke to citizens to get the issue on a ballet. The cost of the new fire station would be $12,000 and the selected location was on the corner of Vine and Front Streets. Their hard work paid off and the voters approved the bond issue on April 3, 1917.

By September 1918, the two story fire station was almost ready for occupancy.

And then—the Spanish Flu hit North Platte Nebraska.

October 15, 1918, it was announced that patients who were sick at local hotels or rooming houses, should be transported to the new “detention hospital,” located in the new fire building. North Platte also had a private hospital called the “North Platte General Hospital.” But even with both of these facilities working as hospitals, there were not enough beds to accommodate all the sick people in North Platte. The lack of nurses was also a great concern at the time. Many residences that were quarantined had children being neglected due to both parents being sick with the flu.

It is not known exactly when the firemen got their new building back, but they eventually did. And they were also able to get two paid City of North Platte firemen on staff with rest of the firemen, being volunteers.

The first addition to the Fire Station occurred in 1921. The second addition, in 1949. By 1953, there were 13 regular firemen and 35 volunteer firemen. Department equipment included four trucks, an emergency unit and the Chief’s car.

Over the years, the building has also served as a City Hall and a City Jail. There are actual cells in the basement of the building. The building is currently a private residence.

Photograph courtesy of The Lincoln County Historical Museum.

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