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Cloquet Fire Department History

On March 14, 1888 the Cloquet Village Council chartered the Cloquet Fire Company No. 1. The Cloquet Fire Company No. 1 was a fully paid, professional fire department put in place to protect the citizens, the city, and its vast lumber industries from fire. The department consisted of six firefighters and a Fire Chief.

In 1903 the Village of Cloquet incorporated into the City of Cloquet, and Fire Company No. 1 became the Cloquet Fire Department.

Cloquet Fire Hall, 1918

The Cloquet Fire Hall is shown here after what was described as "the greatest clamity ever to occur in Northern Minnesota" by Francis Carroll and Franklin Raiter in The Fires of Autumn: The Cloquet-Moose Lake Disaster of 1918.

Cloquet Fire Hall, 1923« Shown here is the Cloquet Fire Fall circa 1923.

In 1945, local businessman Walt Hebert donated a 1939 Cadillac ambulance to the fire department, and fire based Emergency Medical Services (EMS) began in Cloquet. EMS continues today through a comprehensive response system including First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics.

The simple ambulance donated in 1945 has been replaced by four state of the art Advanced Life Support transport units, staffed by Paramedics 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing the highest levels of pre-hospital care available.

On August 12, 1946 the firefighters organized and affiliated with the International Association of Firefighters as Local 880. This strong labor tradition continues through professional membership in the Minnesota Professional Firefighters, and active union involvement in community events and charities.

The Cloquet Fire Department ends this chapter in our history, after 120 years or service, with a full time staff of 22 highly trained, equipped, and dedicated members providing emergency services to the City of Cloquet and the greater Cloquet area.

Perch Lake Fire Department History

The Perch Lake Fire Department was established in 1974 with a volunteer staff of approximately 16 members, as a manpower supplement to the Cloquet Fire Department. Members carried their turnout gear, and responded to fire calls in their personal vehicles. In 1986 ground was broke for a fire hall addition to the existing Perch Lake Town Hall and this building remains in service as CAFD station 2. The fire department aquired a fleet of vehicles that included a 1953 Ward LaFrance engine and a tanker built on a 1960 military 6x6 chassis with the help of the Fond du Lac Reservation and the members of the department. As the department grew they responded to fires, emergency medical, rescue calls, and other service calls as firefighters and first responders, aloing with an engine crew from the Cloquet Fire Deparmtent who resonded on a contract basis. 

In 1995 the fire hall was modified again with the addition of two additional apparatus bays. Perch Lake firefighters built a new 2500 gallon tanker with a 500gpm pump to replace the 1960 military tanker, and installed numerous dry hydrants around Big Lake, including a heated pump house at the Big lake Resort creating a reliable year-round water supply source. The new tanker and additional water sources allowed the Perch lake Fire Departmnet to acheive an Insurance Serivces Organization (ISO) fire protection rating of 7. The standard fire protection insurance rating for an area without fire hydrants is 9.

Today Station 2 is staffed by approximately 15 highly trained and dedicated Paid-on-Call firefighters, and consists of a four bay station housing state of the art suppression vehicles including two engine, two tankers, and a brush unit.

Founding of the Cloquet Area Fire District


On January 1, 2009 the City of Cloquet and Perch Lake Township officially transferred the administration of their respective fire departments to a joint governing board, and the Cloquet Area Fire District (CAFD) was created. The CAFD is the culmination of four years of independent studies and regional meetings that at one point included municipal, county, and tribal governments, and represented seven fire departments in the Northeast Carlton County region. The core findings in the independent review were the need for cooperative emergency services in order to meet the current and future emergency service needs for the region. Cloquet and Perch Lake made the commitment to move forward and the result was the Cloquet Area Fire District.  On January 1, 2011 the City of Scanlon Fire Department joined the District and operates out of Station 3 in Scanlon.

The New District

The Cloquet Area Fire District, provides fire protection services to the City of Cloquet, the Township of Perch Lake, the City of Scanlon, and through a professional services contract for fire protection, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Emergency medical responses covers the same primary areas (excluding Black Bear Casino), and borders with ambulance seervices from Carlton, Cromwell, Floodwood, Meadowlands, and Gold Cross out of Duluth. In addition to the larger combined response to emergency calls, the redundancy of equipment has been reduced by strategically planning and locating apparatus for optimum response.

The Perch Lake Station, Station 2, provides a quick response to supplement firefighters, and provide additional water supply into Cloquet and surrounding areas. The Cloquet station, Station 1, provides an immediate response into Perch Lake Township to supplement firefighters, and equipment for emergencies in that area. The Scanlon Station, Station 3, provides quick response to the densely populated Scanlon community and provides for expanded administrative offices for the District.

A Fire District Board oversees the operation of the district, and provides direction for the District Fire Chief. The board consists of two representatives from the Township of Perch Lake, two representatives from the City of Cloquet, and one at large member.

The mission of the Cloquet Area Fire District is to provide the best possible service to the community in the most economically responsibly manner. We strive to continually improve our service to the public through our values, training, innovation, and financial responsibility.

The Cloquet Area Fire District trains for and responds to:

  • Fires
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes
  • Ice Rescue/ Water Rescue
  • Confined Space Rescue
  • High Angle Rescue
  • Fire Cause and Determination
  • Hazardous Materials Response
  • Public Education
  • Fire Prevention

Please contact us for more information.