Bill Coty Fire Chief
220 S. Main Street
St. Louis Area Fire Department
The St. Louis Area Fire Department finds its beginnings in 1870 when the St. Louis City Council appointed three Fire Wardens to be on the watch for fires. In 1873 an actual fire department replaced the wardens. The Citizens Engine Company, Wah-Wah-Sums, St. Louis Fire Department and Mid-Michigan Community Fire Department are all predecessors of today's modern fire service in the St. Louis Community.
The S.L.A.F.D. is owned and operated by the Mid-Michigan Community Fire Control Board. The Fire Control Board was established in 1981 through collaborative efforts of the City of St. Louis, Bethany Township, Pine River Township (all in Gratiot County), and Jasper Township (Midland County). It is governed by a five member board representing all four municipalities.
The Fire District encompasses roughly 83 square miles and a population of just under 8000 persons. It is primarily a rural, agricultural community but includes a wind turbine farm, oil fields, two state prisons, state and interstate highways, and light manufacturing. The 2016 ISO rating scored 5/5R.
The department is staffed by 25 part-paid, on-call Firefighters, many of whom also serve as Medical First Responders.
The fire station located at 220 S. Main St., was dedicated on April 20th, 2016. The facility cost just under $1.3 million to construct. It was fully paid for at the time of the dedication primarily through generous grants from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the Rollin M Gerstacker Foundation, the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation, and the Gratiot County Community Foundation, with the balance paid by the member municipalities. The structure is highly serviceable and very energy efficient with LED lighting and in-floor heating. It was built with anticipation of the structure serving the fire department for the next fifty years.
Emergency responses total just over 400 alarms each year. Roughly two thirds of the alarms are requests for Medical First Responder services. The remainder include fires, fire alarms, entrapments (JAWS runs), weather spotters, and mutual-aid requests. Response times average about five minutes.
Apparatus and Equipment
1996 Luverne pumper
1250 gpm Hale pump, 1000 gallon tank, eduction type Class-A foam system, deck gun, portable generator, SCBA, TIC, and medical supplies.
2012 Spencer pumper
1250 gpm Hale pump1000 gallon tank, eduction type Class-A foam system, hydraulic generator, remote control deck gun, SCBA, TIC, PPV fan, and medical supplies.
2008 U.S. Tanker tanker/pumper
500 gpm Hale pump, 2000 gallon tank, remote control deck gun, pump and roll capabilities, SCBA, and first aid supplies.
2008 GMC grass truck
300 gallon tank with 60 gpm pump and first aid supplies.
2002 Spencer rescue
250 gallon tank, 60 gpm pump, hydraulic extrication tool set, high pressure air bags, stabilization jacks, portable generator, extensive medical supplies, and traffic control devices.
2016 Yamaha ATV
six passenger, with wildfire skid and a rescue skid under construction.
Formal departmental training takes place twice a month.
In 2016 we instituted a training program to challenge our staff to continued professional excellence. Utilizing funds from our training budget, a grant from the Gratiot County Community Foundation, a grant from the Luneack Family Foundation, and some county allocation funds from the Michigan Fire Fighters Training Council, we are bringing nationally and internationally recognized fire instructors to Gratiot County.
Fire fighters from across Michigan are participating in these challenging classes. During 2016 we hosted Gordon Graham, Larry Curl, John Petrakis and Bill Gustin. In 2017 we welcome Billy Goldfeder, Tom Sitz and Frank Viscuso.