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It happened in 1896. The exact reason isn't recorded, but it happened in 1896. Was it caused by a rash of fires? Perhaps. Was it prompted by a death or serious injury in a fire? Maybe. The Village of Grafton had incorporated on the third of March. Was that the driving force, since it seemed to be a logical follow-up? We don't know.

A group of concerned men met on June 26, 1896 in a hall owned by R.E. Schnabel. (The R.E.Schnabel Hall was located on the corner of 11th and Bridge, or what is now the rear of the Grafton Bowl building) A committee was formed to draft a Constitution and By-Laws. On July 1, 1896, they again met to approve and adopt the Constitution and By-Laws. The Village of Grafton and the surrounding area finally had a fire department.

Over the years, the department has evolved from what today might be considered a "rag-tag" outfit, with its 64 members using crude tools, into a Fire and EMS department with its membership now using the very latest in modern firefighting equipment. The department, with its fully trained EMS personnel, also provides full rescue capabilities for the village and town.

Striving to maintain its ability to provide full service to the community, the department is constantly seeking new members who have the will and desire to serve their fellow citizens.

The Grafton Fire Department has had 15 members who have served as chief since the department was formed in 1896 with two of these men having served multiple terms. Below is a chronological list of Grafton's fire chiefs.

The History of Grafton Volunteer Fire Department Chiefs

William Weber*

July 1, 1896 to July 14, 1899

C. C. Doctor

July 14,1899 to July 13, 1900

Joseph Sphen*

July 13, 1900 to some time in 1903 or 1904

William Weber*

some time in 1903 or 1904 to July 8, 1904

Joseph Sphen*

July 8, 1904 to July 13, 1905

August Ploeger

July 14, 1905 to July 13, 1906

Gust. Clausing

July 13, 1906 to July 12, 1907

William Weber*

July 12, 1907 to July 14, 1911

M.P. Hollrith

July 14, 1911 to July 11, 1913

William Weber*

July 12, 1907 to July 14, 1911

Otto Just

July 13, 1917 to July 9, 1920

Charles Tillman

July 9, 1920 to November 11, 1921

William Weber*

November 11, 1921 to July 11, 1924

Henry Wegner

July 11, 1924 to August 12, 1924

William Weber*

August 12, 1924 to July 10, 1925

C. O. Melkers

July 10, 1925 to July 9, 1932

William Weiss

July 9, 1932 to July 8, 1938

William Hilgart

July 8, 1938 to July 12, 1961

Carl Wegner

July 12, 1961 to December 9, 1987

Richard Bulgrin

December 9, 1987 to December 14, 1995

Lawrence Williams

January, 1995 to December 12, 2002

David Harvey

December 12, 2002 to 2010

John Place

2010 to 2013

William Rice

2013 to Present

* Served multiple times as Chief