When a new city fire station was built in the early 1950s, right next door to the 1910 building, the city took over all of the small building for city offices and a jail. However, the fire bell remained on top of a 25-foot tower on the roof of the building.
The 1910 city hall building saw several tenants after 1962 when the city purchased the former Colorado Bank and Trust building and moved city administrative offices to new quarters — the same building it occupies today. Finally, in March 1972, after 62 years of service, the old city hall building was razed, but not before it was considered an ideal location for an ambulance station. Unfortunately, the old walls were considered unusable structurally due to numerous cracks and other problems. When the building came down, the firemen salvaged the famous Delta yellow bricks, and sold them for 5 cents each to anyone willing to pay for them. Prior to razing the building, the bell and tower were moved to the fire station next door (today the Delta County Museum).
In the early 1980s, Delta was once again looking to upgrade its fire department and equipment, and began construction of a new fire station at Fourth and Grand streets. Delta’s newest fire station was dedicated June 9, 1984, with about 700 people taking advantage of an open house at the station as Delta Fire Chief Fay Mathews and other volunteer firemen showed off their new station and equipment.
The old firehouse at 3rd and Meeker was abandoned in 1984 and stood empty and unused till 1989 when the Delta Urban Renewal Authority saw a use for the building as a local museum. Bids were solicited to renovate the old firehouse and add a small addition to the building, as well as enclose a courtyard, add fencing, greenery and other improvements. The Delta County Historical Society was able to move into the new museum in early 1990 — a big change from the courthouse basement room occupied for many years.
Today, Delta still operates with a volunteer fire department. The fire bell from the 1910 City Hall building has been moved a few times, and now sits in the bell tower of the newest fire station. In these times, the fire bell is rung only for special events, with notification to firefighters handled by the latest in telephone communications equipment. Daniel Cano is Delta’s latest fire chief, spanning a proud history of 123 years. The fire station currently has a full-time on-site manager, Shannon Crespin, who makes sure the nine fire trucks and river raft/boat are ready at a moment’s notice. The station also houses some of our early fire department history, including an early fire bucket, one of the early hose carts, and the 1929 fire engine. And, though the names and faces have changed, the department still operates with a volunteer force of 30 firefighters, as it did in 1891.
This article concludes the history of Delta’s fire department.