The Chelsea Area Fire Authority (CAFA) was formed in 1999 under Act 57 of 1988 after being known as the Chelsea Fire Department, which was organized in 1888 and formed on March 19th, 1889. Chelsea's first fire station was built on W. Middle St and moved three times before returning again to its CURRENT LOCATION (click to view flyer) on W. Middle St in 1963.
The first fire building was built in the back of the town hall. The size of the building was a mere 20' x 40'. The building itself was covered by corrugated sheet iron, suitable for storing fire apparatus. The building's original cost was $344.65, including the $4.00 it cost for painting the building.
The first fire apparatus purchased was a hand-operated hook and ladder truck and one dozen rubber buckets. On March 19, 1889, fifty volunteers were recruited by J.A. Palmer, who was the village's first Fire Chief, officially establishing the fire department.
Great improvements were made in the fire protection of the Chelsea area when, on May 3, 1889, the village purchased two chemical wagons for the sum total of $1,108.45.
In 1917, the department moved to a wood frame building in the back of Merkel Brothers Hardware Store, where the equipment was kept until the horseless carriages were bought. The store is still part of Chelsea history celebrating its 96th year in business in 2020, however, instead of hardware, it is now a furniture store.
On July 1, 1918, the Council purchased a combination chemical and hose cart for the department. The cart was mounted on a one-ton Model T Ford truck chassis and cost the village $2,000. At this time, fire equipment was stored at Palmer Motor Sales at the rental rate of $7.00 per month.
In 1928, a Graham Paige pumper engine was purchased . In 1943, a Chevrolet pumper engine was delivered to the department. In 1945, the village remodeled the Municipal Building and made provisions for a new fire barn, large enough to house three trucks and included an area for monthly meetings.
As the years passed, the fire barn in the Municipal Building was out-grown and the need for a new building was apparent. Through the efforts of several past Councils and firefighters, a new building was built in 1964. That building, located at 200 W. Middle Street in Chelsea, still houses the Chelsea Area Fire Authority. The current Station 1 houses 1 engine-pumper; 1 tanker; 1 aerial truck; 1 brush/pick-up truck and an enclosed trailer with a Gator 4 wheeler and Rokon for specialty rescues.
With continued growth in the Chelsea Area Fire Authority area and an increasing amount of visitors, a second fire station was opened in July of 2015. Station 2 is located at 11516 Jackson Rd. It houses a mini-pumper and a tanker.
In 2017, Lyndon Township updated their town hall and began construction to add a large bay for a vehicle and some office space to help with responses in their area. Chelsea Area Fire Authority began moving equipment in to the location in February 2019. It houses 1 engine-pumper.
Pictured in 1909, the Chelsea Fire Department was formed in 1889 with approximately 50 volunteers. John Palmer served as the first Fire Chief followed by Adam Eppler, Howard Brooks, Thomas Young, Homer Balmer, James Gaken, Paul Hankerd, Daniel Ellenwood, James Payeur and currently Robert Arbini.