The Columbus Fire Department was organized October 26th, 1877. The officers were a chief engineer, assistant chief engineer and fire warden. The mayor and councilmen were Fire Wardens Ex-Officio. The department was divided into 3 companies: Hose Company, Ladder Company and Engine Company Each company elected its own officers: foreman, assistant foreman and secretary-treasurer.

This type of organization continued until 1918 when the 3 companies were merged to form 1 department very similar to what is in present day operation. The officers consisted of a chief, 1st and 2nd assistant chiefs, a secretary and a treasurer. The chief officers were appointed by the City Council and held office as long as they conducted themselves in a manner benefiting their office.

In 1945, the Chief was granted authority to appoint 3 captains who retained their rank as long as they conducted themselves under office requirements. In October of 1975 the office of 2nd assistant chief was rescinded and the chief was allowed to appoint 3 lieutenants to serve at the discretion of the chief. In October of 1976, the offices of secretary and treasurer were combined into 1 position, which was added to the duties of the full-time fire inspector in 1999. In 2001, the city council approved the request of the fire chief to appoint a 2nd chief officer. This allows the chief to have the training performed by both of his assistants.

Current Staff & Responsibilities
The department consists of 40 members when at full strength. Training drills are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month. Regular monthly meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Driver operator training is held on the 1st Tuesday of each month for veterans and those who would like to become driver operators. In months including 5 Tuesdays the last Tuesday is reserved for vehicle extrication practice. In addition to protecting lives and property within the city we also have a rural territory consisting of one full township and a large part of 5 others, extending into 3 county associations - Columbia, Dodge and Dane.