1940-1973 Southwest Fargo Fire Department

The City of West Fargo North Dakota, “A City on the Grow”, was officially incorporated as the “Village of Southwest Fargo” in 1925.  The village was on the site of the Haggard Homestead, established in 1872, just as the railroad reached Moorhead, MN and settlers began to farm the area.  As a large meat packing plant opened in 1919, the Union Stockyards (later known as the West Fargo Stockyards) opened and the village began to grow.  In the beginning, the department had no organized fire protection.  A small group of volunteers began the fire department, unofficially, in 1940.  Their first truck was a 1936 Ford Pumper and a wood garage was donated for the department, on the current site of the Central Fire Station. The “Southwest Fargo Fire Department, Inc” was officially incorporated on September 14th, 1950 by five community members; A.B.Johnson, M.E. Pederson, Oris Morken, Wayne Ostlund, and Walter A. Ruff.   In 1950, a new concrete block station was built and additional trucks were purchased. In 1961, the department was adding additional stalls to the station to house more trucks and equipment. Again, in 1966 the department, the fire station expanded again to accommodate room for the city commission and city auditor’s office.  By 1967, the department began to use phone services to alert members of the department of pending emergencies.  

During the early 1970’s, a project to divert the Sheyenne River around the city was authorized, but not funded.  This project, officially started in 1990, would contribute to the substantial growth that has occurred in West Fargo.  The Horace and West Fargo Diversion allows for the river to run around both cities during times of highwater, which was an almost annual event that caused extensive damage to homes and business in areas of the city and surrounding rural areas.  The project was completed in 1992 and the City of West Fargo has not suffered a major flood event since, sparking the enormous growth in the late nineties through today.