Brighton Area Firefighters Association

The 2017 Application period has closed. The selected student will be announced soon!

The Brighton Area Firefighters Association is please to support the higher education of young men and women who are graduating from high school and pursuing a degree in either Fire Services, Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Services or Emergency Management.

The Fred Gillespie Public Safety Scholarship will award a $1000 scholarship to a single student that lives in or around the Brighton Area Fire Authority response area.

The scholarship honors Mr Fred Gillespie who was a long time member of the Brighton City Fire Department, Howell Fire Department, and Livingston County EMS. Fred also played a very important roll in restoring and preserving Brighton Area Fire Authorities 1937 GMC open cab pumper. This was the first brand new piece of apparatus that Brighton was able to purchase, which is now a treasured piece of our history. Fred Gillespie played a very important roll in all three of those organizations, and embodied what a true first responder is.

In the passing of Fred Gillespie in 2010, his family approached the department and wanted to make a donation in his name. It was with great honor that we were able to create this scholarship so Fred’s name can live on by giving young individuals the chance to achieve further education and give back to their community.

“Public safety is one of the most rewarding fields you can work in, helping people during one of the worst times in their lives and assisting them through it is a true sense of accomplishment to mankind,” says BAFFA President Greg Mowbray. “With this scholarship, we are setting the ground work and giving that young individual the chance of greatness, much like Fred Gillespie provided during his long career”.

Congrats to last years winner in 2016 Todd Niemi!

  • Graduated Hartland High School 2016 with a 3.6 GPA
  • Attending Washtenaw Community College, pursuing Associates in Criminal Justice Degree, with plans for 4-year University
  • Was dual enrolled at UM-Flint for Introduction to Criminal Justice
    Member of the Livingston County Sheriff Explorers Post 373
  • Participated in the Michigan Law Enforcement Youth Competition hosted at MSP Training Facility in 2015
  • Wants to be a Michigan State Trooper

A word from our Association President…

This page is to promote the brothers and sisters that make up the great organization known as the Brighton Area Firefighters Association, or affectionately known as BAFFA.

In creating this webpage, we wanted a place in which visitors and members a like could come and celebrate the traditions of the fire service,  embrace the bond that brother and sisterhood brings, and enjoy our rich history from the past, present and future.

Throughout the page you will find many areas of interest.  One of the sections will have our day-to-day doings, along with notable calls that the brothers and sisters have responded to.  Another section will be a history section explaining how we came about over 130 years ago, and you’ll also find a family section showcases some of the events our Association puts on for both the community and the families of our department.  Now mind you, this is just a sampling of what we have to bring you, and we ask that you add us to your favourites and visit us often.  

Again, thanks for taking the time to look us up and enjoy your visit. 

Capt. Greg Mowbray, President
Brighton Area Firefighters Association


Your fire department was originally formed in 1876. At that time it was called the Village of Brighton Fire Department and was essentially a bucket brigade.

In 1879 the first village hall was constructed next to what is now the mill pond for a cost of $2,300. The population of the village at that time was 800. The first floor housed the fire department and jail. The second floor accommodated the council chambers and voting room.

In 1882 the first fire fighting apparatus was purchased. It was a horse drawn hand pumper. This apparatus was housed in the new village hall.

After the turn of the century and the invention of the internal combustion engine the department purchased and took delivery of a REO in 1926. This state of the art equipment was manufactured by Boyer Fire Apparatus Company and cost $5,900 at that time. It came equipped with two 35 gallon capacity tanks and a rotary pump that had a 300 gallon per minute at 120 pounds pressure rating.

In 1937 the department took delivery of a new state of the art GMC fire truck. It is open cab with an America LaFrance 500gpm pump. The pumper outlived its usefulness in 1970 and slowly deteriorated in storage. In 1975, the apparatus underwent a 8 month restoration that debuted July 4, 1976. This fire truck, known as the ‘37’, still belongs to the department and is our official parade truck. The 37 has won numerous awards at various conventions for the department.


Although the Village of Brighton became a city in 1928 this department became a charter member of Brighton City in 1938 and became known as the Brighton Fire Department.

In 1941 the department took delivery of another fire apparatus. This truck was a 1941 Chevrolet with John Bean high pressure equipment. At the close of the World War II we traded it in for a new and improved 1946 Chevrolet.

In 1951 the Brighton Junior Fire Department was formed made up of young people of the community between the ages of 16-18. These young people would be allowed to perform tasks under the supervision of the senior fire department members. [Junior Program]

In 1950, the fire department moved across the street frm the olf town hall into a new fire hall which was known as the Main Street Emporium. The fire hall was financed and built by the fire department at no cost to the City of Brighton.

The department received its first tanker in 1951 and in 1960 the department received its first combination pumper. We also received another tanker in 1961.

Station 3

In the early 1960s the department put commercial fire band radios in each apparatus. At this time the county began to dispatch us and we became Station 3 Brighton. At that time we began a 3-digit numbering system for the apparatus that begins with 3 for our station.

In 1964 the women’s auxiliary was formed and composed primarily of the wives of the fire fighters. At that time many of the spouses also learned how to drive and pump each apparatus. The purpose of the organization is to help the fire fighters in any way they can, whether that means putting together a spur-of-the=moment breakfast after a middle of the night structure fire or working at a fundraiser for some worthwhile cause.

Our first rescue vehicle (301) was received during the early to mid 1960s. It was a used GMC panel truck that we purchased from the GM proving grounds and converted for fire department use. In 1972 we received our second rescue vehicle, a Ford Econoliner.

In 1978 the department took delivery of its next apparatus, a Grunman 1250 gallon per minute pumper built on a duplex chassis.

Smarter Not Harder

In the early 1980s we built our first portable lighting unit known as 309. It was built with components donated primarily from the civil service. The lights were originally used to light the ball field on the property before the Fire Hall was built.

In 1981 we sold the station on Main Street and donated the proceeds to the City of Brighton to help defer the cost of the new fire hall which we presently occupy. In addition, the land that the current fire station is located upon and adjacent properties were owned by us and were sold to also help defer the cost of this new fire hall. With all of this, approximately half of the total cost of the new fire hall was paid for by this department. We moved in to our current fire hall early in 1982.

In September 1988 the City of Brighton added its first full time fire chief whose primary duties include the administration and supervision of the fire department.

In 1989 our first aerial apparatus known as 308 was received. This apparatus is a Gruman Aerialcat 96 foot ladder aerial platform which cost approximately $500,000. It was recently sold in 2012 with the purchase of our new 100ft Pierce Aerial Platform.


At the turn of the century, Brighton and the surrounding areas were booming – as evident with the larger communities and highway expansions. In 2001 there was a purchase of two2001 E-One Engines and another in 2003. The department purchased two2006 Ford F550 / E-OneRescues and a2007 Pierce Heavy Rescue. For dual role coverage in our township stations, the department purchased two2009 Pierce Rescue Pumpers.In 2012, the department purchased twoPierce 2200gallon Tankers as well aPierce 95′ mid mount ladde with a 2000 gpm pump.

Authority Now

Today the Brighton Area Fire Department serves a response district that includes 74 square miles and a population of 46,000 residents within the City of Brighton, Charter Township of Brighton and Genoa Township. The area was initially protected by individual fire departments within each municipality.

The department recently purchased two 2015 Pierce Engines with 1000 gallons and class A foam with 1250 gpm pumps replacing the two 2001 E-One engines.

In addition, the Brighton Area Fire Department serves nine schools in three different school districts as well as several private schools and early childhood learning centers. The fire department also serves those traveling on over 30 miles of interstate roadways and one major interchange (I-96 & U.S. 23).