George Lorsung is credited with being the founder of the fire department. George began to discuss the concept of a new fire department in 1956. The first organizational meeting took place at the Old City Hall, located at Osseo Road and County Road 14 (Zane Ave). During the organizational meeting, Orris Aldrich was elected Fire Chief. Of the nearly 140 people who turned out for the meeting, Orris was the only one with previous firefighting experience. The Brooklyn Park Fire Department was officially chartered in April 1957 and with donations received during the organizational meeting, they purchased a 1949 GMC truck previously used by Standard Oil as a tanker for $200.
Over the next several months the members hosted a variety of fundraising events to fund equipment and in early 1958 placed the tanker in service as “Number 1.” Later that same year “Number 2,” a four-wheel-drive Jeep with 140 gallon water tank and 100 feet of hose, fondly called Little Squirt, was added to the fleet.
The total 1958 fiscal year budget for the fire department was $8,500. It would be later that year that the community approved a $100,000 investment in the department; it’s first of many public safety bonds. With that investment the department began to address fire stations, essential equipment and additional apparatus.
Hundreds of firefighters, family members and community volunteers have helped to create the department we have today. These brave men, who did so much with so little, forged a path for today’s modern firefighting force.
From those humble beginnings the department has flourished over the past fifty-plus years. Although the fire service of today is ever changing, our purpose remains the same as it has forever; to save lives and protect property.
Brooklyn Park fire chiefs
Left to right: Jim Driste, Ken Prillaman (current fire chief), Orris Aldrich (first fire chief, also pictured in the top photo in background), and Steve Schmidt.
Lyle Robinson is pictured in the bottom photo in the background.
They represent our past history, as well as our history in the making.