The Oak Lawn Fire Department was organized in 1923 by Paul Bruggeman, Charles Hall, Nick Schmalen, Al Schultz and John Steinfatt. Through their combined efforts the Village Fire & Water Committee was created. Nick Schmalen would later become the first fire chief. Oak Lawn’s population at that time was approximately 2,400 people.

Not long after, ten other men joined the department. In order to raise funds to purchase gear and equipment, the members held event such as a masquerade ball in February 1924. The proceeds from the events went to purchasing a Reo fire truck and 1000 feet of hose, costing $5,000.

For over three-quarters of a century, from its humble beginnings as a small volunteer department to the full-time, 76 member, professional organization it is today, the Oak Lawn Fire Department has never wavered from its initial goal – to best serve the citizens and visitors of the Village of Oak Lawn through fire prevention, fire suppression and advanced life support services. 

First known photo




FD 1940s