History of the Chandler Fire Department

Chandler Fire Engine "The Old Dodge" 1936
The Old Dodge, Chandler's first fire engine, is on display in the lobby of Fire Headquarters.


The City of Chandler was founded by Dr. A.J. Chandler in 1912. By the time the first official fire protection was initiated in 1917, the City had an active and involved Chamber of Commerce. It was the Chamber of Commerce that ordered the first 500 feet of fire hose, two carts, nozzles and other necessary equipment from the Diamond Rubber Company. In addition, a volunteer fire company was organized, and every effort was made to give Chandler efficient fire protection. A "Hose House" was built of galvanized iron and was located in the rear of the Bank of Chandler building. In case of fire, it was necessary to break the glass near the door to gain entrance.

On June 22, 1937, the first meeting of the official Chandler Fire Department was held. At that time, by-laws were adopted, and officers were elected.

The first piece of mechanized fire apparatus used by the Chandler Fire Department was a 1936 Dodge pumper. That unit, "The Old Dodge," is still part of the apparatus inventory in use for parades and demonstrations. Department personnel carefully maintain and rehabilitate the vehicle to preserve this historic apparatus. It is on display in the lobby of the Fire Department headquarters.

The Chandler Fire Department was staffed by volunteers until 1953 when a paid fire chief and two paid captains were hired. The captains were placed on two shifts and served as drivers. In 1969, the organization was officially reorganized as a paid fire department with a volunteer standby system. By 1970, the Chandler Fire Department was fully staffed by paid personnel as it is to this day. In 1975, the Department added advanced emergency medical care by training three firefighters as paramedics.

The current authority under which the Chandler Fire Department operates is Chapter 12, Article II of the City Code. The City Council adopted Chapter 12, as currently written, as Ordinance No. 1688 on September 11, 1986. On August 22, 1988, the Mayor and City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1996 to allow the Chandler Fire Department to provide fire, emergency medical, and other emergency services outside the city limits of Chandler. That ordinance also provided legal authorization for the Chandler Fire Department to charge for those services.

On March 19, 1999, the Chandler Fire Department became one of only 14 fire departments in the world at that time to be granted accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). CFAI accreditation is the prestigious award granted to fire service agencies that successfully complete a rigorous peer and self-assessment. The Department was reaccredited in 2004 and successfully completed the process for the third time in 2009, fourth in 2013 and fifth in 2017. In 2018, the Department received an ISO Class 1 rating, making it one of only approximately 60 fire departments nationally that are accredited and hold a Class 1 rating.

The new Chandler Fire Department Administrative Headquarters opened in the fall of 2009. It includes exhibit space for CFD memorabilia and historical information and Chandler's first fire engine, "The Old Dodge". The building has been awarded LEED-Gold Certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. 

Today, the internationally accredited Chandler Fire Department is comprised of 213 line Firefighters, the majority of whom are paramedics trained to respond to medical emergencies, provide preventative health education and participate in community health clinics. CFHM has 18 front line apparatus operating from 11 stations and serving a jurisdiction of more than 70 square miles and an estimated city population of approximately 257,000. There are 20 civilian personnel, numerous volunteers from the community, and an annual operating budget of $47,000,000 for the fiscal year 2018-19.

The men and women of Chandler Fire make a difference in someone's life every day. Professional firefighters continue to provide outstanding customer service to the citizens of Chandler with the full support of the Department's EMS, Training, Support Services, Community Preparedness, and Administration Divisions.