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The Harlan Fire Department held their first meeting on February 5, 1881. At that time the meetings were held annually. On February 10th of the same year different companies were formed. The Engine Co. with O. Graves as foreman, Hook and Ladder Co. with D. Chase in charge and O. Pearson in charge of the Hose Co. The first fire was June 18th, 1881 at a billiard hall on Market St., which was struck by lightning. Luckily there was only minimal damage. The first major expense of the Department was in 1885 with the purchase of a new used Silsby Steam Pumper. It was acquired from Silsby Manufacturing for a cost of $2000.00 with $500.00 down and with payments of $500.00 per year for the following 3 years at an interest rate of 6%. It is stated in the meeting minutes that this fine machine was named James M. long after one of the pioneers of Harlan. It also stated that “it took place of the windmill it giving an almost inexhaustible supply of water and that it won’t blow down as the windmill has in the past but it could blow up though they could not tell.” One of the biggest disasters the Department has seen was June 17th, 1901. Grant Norton lost his life in the line of duty. He was killed by a corncrib falling on him. Our National flag is flown at half-mast on this disastrous day to remind us all of the dedication, danger, and seriousness involved with being a firefighter. Many things have changed over the years. We have gone from our Steam pumper (which we still have), to eight trucks in active service. With the most recent purchase being a 1996 75ft. telescoping ladder truck, costing approximately $310,000.00. The one constant that hasn’t changed over the years is the pride of the department, which is clearly demonstrated in the trophy case housed in the meeting room. On display are antique trophies dating back to 1883 to the trophies of present day. Our Department also shows great pride in owning and showing several antique fire trucks from years gone by including an 1878 Silsby Steam Pumper, a 1917 Ford Model T, a 1919 GMC, a 1928 Graham, and a 1935 Mack. The Harlan Fire Department now hosts a 40-member roster with challenging requirements to remain a firefighter. Our policy is that every individual must become a certified Firefighter I within the first two years of joining the department. We are no longer a team of bucket brigades, but a family looking out for each other and their neighbors in time of disaster. Thank you for your support!