The Cape Girardeau Fire department has a long history of making fire prevention a priority. The original act to incorporate the City of Cape Girardeau occured on Feb. 25, 1823. This act made provisions to organize and establish fire companies for the city. The city established fire limits as far back as July 3, 1849, building codes and fire prevention measures within those limits.
An attempt to organize a fire department by the city in 1860 under Mayor Albert failed as it did not receive the necessary number of votes. The first formal fire department in Cape Girardeau was organized on July 25, 1866 under Mayor G.H. Cramer. This is based on Cape Girardeau ordinance No. 141. An ordinance establishing a Hook and Ladder Fire Company dated July 25th, 1866. There were 15 sections to this ordinance prescribing the department’s organization and operation.
On Nov. 20th, 1866 the City of Cape Girardeau Council passed ordinance No. 148 organizing the fire company under the name and style of the "Good Intent Fire Company.” There was established a Hook and Ladder Fire Company consisting of 25 members who shall be appointed by the mayor. The members elected their officers at the first meeting consisting of a captain and five lieutenants who oversaw five detachments designated by the numbers 1 through 5.
Currently, the first known captain was Charles Schulz. However, this dates back to only 1876. C.H. Allens followed on June 12, 1882, then Henry A. Astholz on June 11, 1883, and D. Ulrich on June 19, 1886. L.J. Albert Jr. was the first known fire chief and was appointed on Feb. 12, 1895.
Information provided courtesy of the Southeast Missourian.