The organization, now called the Beach Park Fire Department was started in May 1942 by a group of energetic citizens who held a meeting in the basement of the Bonnie Brook School. Then, on October 17, 1942, an election was held to create a fire protection district to cover the area lying between Waukegan and Zion from the Lake Michigan shore west to the boundary lines of Warren and Newport townships. The issue was carried by the overwhelming vote of 264 to 10 and thus was created the Bonnie Brook Fire Protection District.
The department was renamed to The Beach Park Fire Department in November 2002, to provide a closer identity to the community that we now serve.
The first fire truck was built by the firemen themselves, who donated their time, work and material. The result was a 400-gallon fire truck mounted on a 1936 Chevrolet chassis. A 2-acre lot with an old barn and adjoining silos was purchased. Again, the men contributed their time, work and abilities to construct a temporary fire station to house the "new" truck. One silo was converted to a furnace room and the pit became a water tank.
Through solicitations, donations and a series of benefit affairs held by the men and wives (who had by this time formed an auxiliary to help along the work), enough funds were gathered to help defray costs and upkeep of the fast growing fire department.
New Vehicles and equipment
On December 30, 1946, a new truck was purchased from the Central Fire truck Company of St. Louis Missouri. On April, 1950, a fully equipped Chevrolet fire truck was purchased from the Fire Fighter Company of Rock Island, this one replacing the rather obsolete homemade affair built several years previously.
In the fall of 1951 a new International truck was purchased. It was considered state of the art for that time period with a front mount outboard pump equipped with a thousand gallon tank, two booster lines, suction hose, electric spotlights and other additional equipment.
H.P. front end pump
450 gallon tank
400 ft. booster hose
300 ft. 1 1/2" hose
570 gpm pump
700 G tank
400 ft. booster hose
500 ft. 1 1/2" hose
800 ft 2 1/2" hose
1000 gallon tank
H.P. font mount pump
electric spot lights
A new home
On September 15, 1951, ground was broken for the new fire station. The funds for the station and all of the equipment ( including an item called a resuscitator), were raised by a combination of, The Women's Auxiliary canvassing the neighborhood, a barn dance and a successful referendum to issue bonds (275 to 62 votes). The station was officially declared open for business with a dedication service on Sunday, March 30, 1952.
The Bonnie Brook Fire Department was the first department in Illinois and only the third in the United States to have short wave radios in the homes of the volunteers. The Lake County Sheriff's Office "dispatched" the fires over the radios with what was then known as a " Selective call system". By 1954 there were twenty-eight of these radios in operation.These radios allowed for a quicker response by the firemen and subsequently cut down on fire losses in the District.