Canton Fire Department History

The Canton Fire Department was formed in 1950 as a volunteer department with the construction of a township hall and fire station at the corner of Canton Center and Cherry Hill.  At that time, the department purchased its first fire truck, a 1950 Ford Big Job General fire truck equipped with a 500 gallon per minute pump and 300-gallon water tank.  At that time the department was staffed with 18 volunteer firefighters under the leadership of Fire Chief Fred Koret who also owned a dairy farm on the corner of Warren and Haggerty.  In 1962 Mel Paulun was appointed as the Canton Fire Department Administrator and later named as the departments first full time Fire Chief in 1972.

The department started providing rescue and ambulance services to the community in 1968 and prior to this, ambulance service was provided by local funeral homes, including Schrader's in Plymouth.  The Canton Fire Department organized as a full time career department in 1972 by hiring nine full time firefighters.  At the recommendation of a citizens committee following a house fire that took the lives of a family of four, the department hired an additional 12 full time firefighters in January of 1974 and three more by August, bringing full time staffing up to 15 career firefighters.  The firefighters unionized on May 01, 1974 by chartering with the International Association of Firefighters and became Local 2289.  In 1977 the department opened Fire Station #2 located on Warren west of Haggerty adding an additional 12 full time firefighters to the departments response force.  

In 1992, the department promoted Michael Rorabacher, the son of retired Canton Fire Department Captain Vern Rorabacher, to Fire Chief after the retirement of Chief Paulun.  Chief Rorabacher was instrumental in bringing the fire department into the 20th century by building a new 16,000 square foot Fire Headquarters in 1998 and upgrading the department's transporting ambulance service to advanced life support in 1999.  At this time, the department’s two fire stations were staffed 24 hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year by a minimum of 11 professional firefighters and command officers.  In 2005 the department opened Fire Station #3 located on Denton north of Cherry Hill and increased the suppression shift strength to 19 firefighters and command officers with a daily minimum staffing level of 15.  

Today, the department remains a full service professional fire department providing fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue, fire prevention, public education, code enforcement, hazardous materials response, and urban search and rescue services to the community.