Department History

Throughout the 19th century and well into the 1920s, the Mt. Clemens Fire Department handled firefighting in Harrison Township. In 1929, the Harrison Township Board of Trustees voted to purchase its first piece of fire apparatus for the sole purpose of protecting the residents of Harrison.

In the spring of 1930, a state of the art Ahrens Fox, 750-GPM fire engine was delivered to the Mt. Clemens Fire Department in care of Harrison Township. The Ahrens Fox was housed at the Mt. Clemens fire station and responded to Harrison Township’s fires with two firefighters. These men would enlist the help of neighbors and by-standers to help fight the fire. In 1944 a group of Harrison Township citizens got together and decided to form a group of organized volunteers to train in firefighting. In 1945 the Harrison Township Board officially accepted this group as the Harrison Township Fire Department (HTFD).

The agreement with the City of Mt. Clemens continued until construction of Harrison Township’s first fire station was approved in 1949. The station, which was built next to the Township offices, opened on June 1, of that same year and housed one fire engine until 1953 when HTFD took delivery of a brand new Peter Pirsch pumper. In 1956 the Ahrens Fox was retired after 26 years of faithful service and replaced with a Custom built Pirsch fire engine. In 1961 HTFD opened its second fire station on South River Road near Jefferson Avenue. In order to meet the growing needs of the fire department, a new headquarters fire station was erected on Crocker Boulevard in 1972.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Harrison Township Fire Department was among a select few fire service organizations such as Los Angeles County, Dade County, and the City of Seattle, that were pioneering a new dramatic approach to the conventional first aid response. Harrison Township Firefighters were among the first class of EMTs to be trained in Michigan. Although a few cities such as Grand Rapids and Southfield were also operating Advanced Life Support Units, in September of 1972, HTFD became the first transporting paramedic agency to be licensed by the State of Michigan.

In the 1990’s the Harrison Township Fire Department established one of the first hazardous materials response teams in Macomb County. In addition the HTFD formed the County’s first dive rescue team. It remains today one of only two dive rescue teams in Macomb County.

In 2006 the Fire Station on South River Road was closed and a new Headquarters Fire Station was opened on Jefferson Avenue. In 2008 Harrison Township’s lineage to the Mount Clemens Fire Department was restored as both departments signed one of the first automatic mutual aid agreements in Macomb County. The Harrison Township Fire Department remains an organization proud of its past, prepared for the present, and planning for the future.