This website uses cookies to store your accessibility preferences. No personal / identifying information is stored. More info.

old patch for website - Copy (2)

The History of Sand Lake Volunteer Fire Department


Sand Lake Fire/Rescue Emergency Service was founded in 1952 by residents on the northeast shore of Sand Lake.  Known as the Sand Lake Mutual Benefit Association, the neighbors banded together to help each other when in need.  Their first order of business in those early years was to name the street, set a speed limit, and begin to obtain fire equipment in case needed.

Originally, there was no base siren so a bell was mounted at the Merrill residence.  In case of an emergency, the bell was to be sounded "in a fast, rapid manner".  Members would then convene at the Merrill's to see where the emergency existed.

The Founding Fathers of our organization:  George Krapp, President; Ken Parkes, Secretary/Treasurer; Bud Stiener, Cecil Anderson, and Lloyd Sager, Directors; appointed Noel Walker, Rolland Horton, Fred Weaver and Bud Stiener as the first fire chiefs in September of 1952.

In November of that year, the organization decided purchasing a fire truck was too large a project for the group and acquired two 25 gallon soda acid extinguishers on wheels with 75 foot of one inch hose.

These very dedicated people acquired land for a building in December of 1953 and established its first building fund.  By April of 1954, they had held the first annual dance netting $73.00 and sent a down payment for their first fire truck to be purchased from Petersburg Fire Department.  That truck, a 1940 Chevrolet pumper, was delivered May 16, 1954.

Growth was to such an extent by September of 1954 that they became legally incorporated as the Sand Lake Volunteer Fire Department, which is the organization that exists today.  The original fire station was built at 67 The Boulevard, and future financial support methods became a priority.  By 1955 the first agreement between Franklin Township and Sand Lake (Volunteer) Fire Department was signed for fire protection.  That first contract allowed an annual payment to the department of $250.00.

By 1956, a need for a tanker truck was prevalent.  A used oil truck was obtained from Standard Oil of Detroit and delivered in September of that year.  Fire rates had increased from $50 per call to $100 for the first hour and $50 for each hour there after.  The department and the township agreed Sand Lake (Volunteer) Fire Department would cover north of M-50 and west of northbound Tipton Highway.  The addition of the first rescue vehicle came in 1960 and a resuscitator was donated by the Evans Lake Land Owners Association.

Not all was rosy back in those first years of the department, however.  During 1961, a dispute with Franklin Township caused the organization to cease operation as a fire department and only offer rescue service for some four months.  By March of 1962, all was resolved and the momentum of the organization restored with the passage of the 2 mil special assessment district on August 7, 1962.

Moving ahead to the more recent years, the department outgrew the organization's original fire station in 1982 and moved into the present STATION ONE facility.  A restoration of equipment was also begun in 1976 and completed in 1982, replacing all emergency vehicles with apparatus specifically designed by the members and ordered from fire manufacturing companies.  In that year the fleet included a 1976 Mini-Pumper, 1979 Engine, 1981 Tanker, 1981 Grass Rig, and a 1982 Rescue.

Again, in an agreement with Franklin Township, a millage proposal was asked of the residents in the general election of 1986 for a township wide 2 mil operating expense to establish a Sand Lake Volunteer Fire Department Tipton Station and equipment.  Because of the growth, professionalism, and some of the most modern emergency equipment in the area, the vote was favorable by a 3 to 1 margin.

Today, Sand Lake Volunteer Fire Department, through the inspiration of our Founding Fathers and the hard working dedication of its members, had grown to one of the areas leading emergency services.  With two of the most modern fire stations and a fleet of seven apparatus, the assets had grown from an original balance of $506.64 in July of 1953 to a present value well over $1,250,000.00.

We thank each and every person who has served time, to those presently serving, and to those who will serve in the future, for keeping this very worthy organization the all volunteer department it is and for which it was help other people in need.

James Van Doren
Chief of the Department
Old station
Old Station picture 2