The Ashland Fire Department was established in 1883 as a volunteer fire service. The members of this department were affectionately known as the “Fire Laddies.” The volunteers started with minimal equipment and training. In the late 1800’s Ashland was a city made almost entirely of wood. Logging was a major industry at the time. Woodhouses, wooden sidewalks, and several lumber mills in town created favorable conditions for fires. Although dedicated to their task, the “Fire Laddies,” with buckets and wet blankets, could not keep up with the firefighting demands. The Ashland town board organized and equipped an official volunteer service on June 18th, 1887. The Ashland Hook and Ladder Company #1 and the Bardon Hose Company #2, located at the Central Hose House at Fourth Avenue West and Third Street, were established at this time. The first ordinance, passed by the new City Council in April of 1887, set fire limits within the business district to stipulate that the buildings were to be built of fireproof materials. In 1888 the city took over control of the Hook and Ladder Company and the Bardon House. The Central Hose House was then changed to the Central Fire Station. The Ellis Hose Company, The Vaughn Hose Company, and the Beaser Hose Company were assembled. Each company consisted of a foreman, an assistant foreman, and ten firemen. The first fire department budget was $1500.00 to be shared among all five companies. In 1890 the department added the Durfee Hose Company and the Knight hose Company.