The Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) is the principal fire suppression, prevention, and rescue agency of Indianapolis, Indiana, under the jurisdiction of the Mayor of Indianapolis.
The first fire department in Indianapolis was not founded until June 20, 1826. It was a volunteer department that had to use a church bell for alarms, and had only ladders and leather buckets to fight fires. This was seventeen months after the first recorded fire in Indianapolis occurred on January 17, 1825, which took place across the street from the county courthouse in a tavern.
In 1835, a law was passed requiring the purchase of an engine, along with better equipment, to be partially funded by the state and partially by the city, in order to protect the Indiana statehouse. From this, the Marion Fire, Hose, and Protection Company was established. An additional volunteer company was founded in 1841 and there were eight total volunteer companies in Indianapolis by 1859. Collectively, 600 men were volunteers in these eight companies, and although unpaid, they did receive perks such as immunity to be called on juries or militia duty, and not having to pay poll taxes or taxes for roads.
The Indianapolis City Council established a paid force on November 14, 1859, so they could have control over Indianapolis' fire protection, which they did not have over the volunteers. The Indianapolis Fire Department began with a hook and ladder company and two hand engines, but would in 1860 gain their first steam engine.