For over 150 years, volunteer firefighters have protected Auburn's citizens and property. In 1852, the citizens of Auburn appointed Fire Wardens, who organized the Hook and Ladder Company, the first fire protection service in Auburn.
The wardens tried to raise funds to purchase a Hook and Ladder truck, but only had water buckets and a 2-wheeled, hand hose cart. By 1853, the wardens recruited 14 volunteer firemen. During this time, when a fire alarm sounded, the whole town turned out, and everyone did their part to extinguish the fire.
Uptown Fire Department
On August 22, 1881, the citizens of east Auburn organized another fire department, originally called the Uptown Fire Department. The department went through several name changes in the next few years:
• 1887 - Central Hose Company of Auburn
• 1888 - Auburn Hose Company No. 1, nicknamed the "Rattlers"
By February 16, 1888, the firemen of the Auburn Hose Company were building a 2 story firehouse opposite the Borland Hotel on Railroad Street.
Uniting the Departments
In early 1900, the 2 fire departments joined together as 1 department. The first Fire Chief of the combined department was Guy Lukens, who remained in charge until his retirement in 1946. Since then, the department has been under the direction of:
• Henry Gietzen (1946-1988)
• Sam McLain (1988-1992)
• Howard Leal (1992-2002)
• Mark D'Ambrogi (2002-2015)
Public Safety Department
In January, 2015 the Auburn Fire Department became the Auburn Public Safety Department merging with the Auburn Police Department. Public Safety Director John Ruffcorn headed the Public Safety Department until July, 2018 when the departments separated back.
Current Auburn Fire Department
The Auburn Fire Department is now under the direction of:
• Dave Spencer (2018-Present)