The Cologne Fire and Rescue Department was founded on December 13th, 1890. The first fire chief was Paul Mohrbacher, with Joe Meuwissen serving as Assistant Chief of the 27-man department. In 1896, ordinance No. 9 compelled all male citizens of the Village of Cologne under the age of 50 and over the age of 21 years to join the fire department. At the time of that ordinance, any male who did not join the fire department was fined two dollars or compelled to work a poll tax of two days.
1926 was the year the fire department purchased their very first fire truck. The truck was a 1924 LaFrance Pumper. Prior to this date, all the fire equipment was pulled and operated manually by horses and/or firemen. The 1924 LaFrance is still owned by the fire department and is displayed at parades and festivals.
The LaFrance was replaced in 1947 by a Federal Pumper. It was used as a primary pumper until 1967, when the department purchased a 1967 International that carried 1000 gallons of water.