The Albert Lea Bucket Brigade was organized by a group of volunteers on November 22, 1870 and consisted of 30 volunteers. Soon after, the city saw a need for a better organization to protect the citizens. On August 5, 1879, the Albert Lea Fire Department was organized under Chief F.B. Fobes.
The first fire station was at the corner of Main Street and Washington adjacent to what was then City Hall. The apparatus consisted of a steam engine water pump and two hose carts which were pulled by horses to the scene until 1891 when the waterworks system was completed. In 1903 a new City Hall was built on North Broadway and also housed the Fire Department on two floors. The first motor driven water pump truck was put into service August 18, 1918 and lead a new era of apparatus used for firefighting.
On May 1, 1948 the department went to a fully paid organization in order to better serve residents and businesses. The Fire Department moved to its present location at 221 East Clark St. in the City Center in 1968. The City entered into an agreement with the Albert Lea Township Fire Department on October 15, 1991 to become a combination department, with the Township acting as part-time firefighters for the City Fire Department.
FB FOBES 1879-1879
WC MITCHELL 1879-1912
AF WOHLHUTER 1912-1914
HENERY STOTZ 1914-1919
HENERY SOTHAND 1919-1925 (referred to as Chief SOTH)
ALEC LARSON 1925-1946
JOE SPARK 1946-1967
ELDON WETTLAUFFER 1967-1967 (referred to as Chief CURLY)
(died as fire chief July 4, 1967)
EVERETT GRINOLDS 1967-1985
ORRION ROISEN 1985-1997
RICHARD SYDNES 1997-2005 (referred to as Chief SYD)
PAUL STIELER 2005-2011