History

The Comstock Fire Department began in 1924 when the first firefighters were composed of a few volunteers who manned a bucket brigade. Some time after that a wheel driven cart was used. In the later part of 1928 the need for better fire protection was evident and money was collected for a fire protection association. With that money a Model T truck and an old fire truck were purchased and the men put them together to obtain their first fire truck. Shortly after that the department got better organized and elected a fire chief. Soon the need for more equipment was evident and a Packard paddy wagon was purchased, outfitted and put into service. The next truck was “Daisy June”, a 1934 Chevy with two 30 gallon soda acid tanks on the back. Later a 500 gallon water tank was added for pressure. In 1943 the department’s first new truck was purchased; It was a 1943 Seagrave “No. 43”, which is still owned by the department today.

Over the next few years, two separate fire districts were established and more volunteers joined. The township board needed an office and so a combination township hall and fire station was built in 1951. This building was located near the corner of River St and Comstock Ave. “Daisy June” and the Seagrave No.43 were the first fire trucks to be in the new station. Later a separate township hall was built on King Hwy and the fire department took over the entire building as “Central Station.”

Because of the growth of the township and need for fire protection, another fire station was built in 1961. This station is located on the corner of East H Avenue and North 26th street. This station had two bays for trucks. A 1961 Ford 500 G.P.M. pumper and a Seagrave “No. 42” were stationed at the “North Station”. In 1971 two additional bays were added.

January 2002 marked the addition of a third fire station for the east side of the township, known as the “East Station”. A new Rescue Pumper was added in 2004.

During the Summer of 2014, the North Station was relocated to temporary quarters at the Church of God on East H Avenue while the fire station was demolished and rebuilt. Construction of the new station was completed at the same location in October. The station was reopened and dedicated under a new name as Station 9-2.

On January 9, 2015, Comstock Fire & Rescue responded with many other area departments and agences to Interstate 94 for what ended up being a 193 vehicle pileup that shutdown the interstate for over 2 days.

In February of 2017, the Insurance Services Office completed a formal review of Comstock Township and improved its Public Protection Classification. With the change in classification, Comstock became one of the top 233 fire departments in the State of Michigan of almost 2,000 in terms of fire protection and its potential cost savings for residents and business located within the township.

On June 14, 2017, Fire Chief Ed Switalski was struck and killed by a vehicle while working the scene on a vehicle slide off. This was the first line-of-duty death for Comstock Fire & Rescue since its inception in 1924.


Today, Comstock Department of Fire & Rescue is responsible for providing fire education, inspection, suppression and investigation, as well as rescue and emergency medical care to nearly 15,000 residents and all visitors within Comstock Charter Township. The department operates three fire engines, two rescue engines, two rescue vehicles, two brush trucks and two boats out of three fire stations strategically located throughout the 35 square mile coverage area. The department serves critical infrastructure within the township including six miles of interstate (I-94), two state highways (M-43 & M-96), a few miles of Norfolk Southern freight and high-speed Amtrak passenger railroad lines, several miles of the Kalamazoo River, a small hydroelectric dam and a few small lakes. The department is staffed 24 hours a day through a combination of full-time and paid-on-call firefighters who respond to around 1,500 requests for service annually. The department is a member of MABAS and holds mutual aid agreements with surrounding agencies including Galesburg, Kalamazoo City, Kalamazoo Township, Pavilion, Portage and Richland.