In 1958, the Brandon Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) was organized and chartered as a non-profit corporation. Prior to this time, the people of Brandon and the surrounding area called upon either the Valley Springs or Renner fire departments to fight their fires.

Approximately fifteen volunteer firemen manned and established the early fire department. Their first large piece of equipment was a 1946 Dodge truck (Army surplus) that was purchased for $600. It was modified into a fire truck pumper. It proved to be quite clumsy and hard to drive. The truck was damaged while passing a car, caught the soft shoulder of the road and rolled. A 1957 Ford was purchased in 1959 and the equipment of the Dodge was transferred to it.

Elmer Erickson became the first fire chief of the Brandon volunteers. He served as chief for eighteen years.

The Civil Defense offered a semi-tanker to Brandon Fire Department if they would go to Detroit, Michigan, to get it. The BVFD found and purchased an old Reo truck so that they could haul the tanker home to Brandon. Fire chief Erickson, along with his wife, Lois, made the trip to Detroit and brought the tanker home to Brandon.

This truck was also a clumsy, hard-to-handle vehicle. Many of the firemen could not drive it. Even though the BVFD felt fortunate to have the truck, it was strictly a means for hauling water. An old 1946 Chevy pumper fire truck was purchased reasonably and added to the department. It would suffice until a bigger and better truck was affordable.

It should be remembered that the BVFD was operating strictly on donations until 1963 when the township board levied taxes for the support of the fire department. Previously a variety of fund-raising events were held in support of the department.

In 1967, a new Ford pumper was purchased. It increased the pride of the department and at the same time decreased the stressfulness of the fireman’s work.

Grass fires were frequent; therefore the BVFD needed a truck that could get to places that their other trucks could not go. A four-wheel drive ¾-ton truck was purchased. The department hired chief Erickson to remodel it into a decent grass fire-fighting truck. He did this by building a platform onto the front of the truck so that two men could stand with hoses and fight grass fires. He also built platforms on the other trucks to aid fire fighting.

Currently, The department trains every first and third Monday of every month. They also attend state fire schools and have been the host site for the South Dakota State Fire School.

The firemen consider themselves lucky and are thankful that no firemen have ever been hurt at a fire; although, fireman Oscar Pearson died from a heart attack while fighting a fire.

Today the Brandon Volunteer Fire Department is well equipped. BVFD is setup to carry up to forty certified firefighters on their roster as active members, about 1/3 of which are Certified Emergency Medical Technicians. They respond to fires of all kinds as well as accidents, rescues, and medical calls. Brandon Volunteer Fire Department is also called upon for mutual aide for Valley Springs, Renner, Garretson, Split Rock and Sioux Falls Fire Departments.




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