History of the Department 1880s -2017
In the early 1880s the town of Winter Haven was in existence and records indicate a group of volunteer citizens that fought fires at that time. There was a disastrous fire in the early 1900s with some reports of two conflagrations in the village before Winter Haven was incorporated in 1911.
Ordinance No. 181
“Be it ordained by the Town Council of the Town of Winter Haven, Florida that the fire fighting apparatus, consisting of chemical engine, hook and ladder wagon and outfit, for hundred and fifty feet of two inch hose and reel for same be taken over by the town of Winter Haven: Under the jurisdiction of the Fire and Light Committee, and that this committee have the power to appoint a Fire Chief, subject to the approval of the Council, and that the Chief’s duty shall be to have charge of the apparatus and keep same in readiness for immediate use, and conduct the fire Department as directed by the Fie and Light Committee. John A. Schneider, Pres. of Council Attest: L. L. Barnes, Clerk Passed Sept. 19, 1911 Approved Sept. 19, 1911 Willis B. Smith, Mayor”
The first man to be appointed as Fire Chief was I. M. Johnson, following the adoption of the ordinance. He was followed by O.H. Nutting, 1914; Harry Hedrick, 1915; L.A. Martin, 1917; Floyed Pfaender, 1919 to 1943; George P. Bassett, 1934 to 1936; and Floyd Pfaender again in 1936 and 1937.
Fire Chief Floyd Pfaender
Chief of Department from 1919 to 1934 and 1936 to 1937.