The Seattle Fire Department got its start as a volunteer fire department that was taken over by the City of Seattle on April 11, 1884. On June 6, 1889 the Great Seattle Fire broke out and destroyed over 64 acres (26 ha) of the city. Insurance investigators charged the city with not having adequately trained firefighters to provide protection for the residents. As a result, the Seattle Fire Department was officially established on October 17, 1889 as a paid professional department.
On June 6, 1889, the Great Seattle Fire broke out in a cabinet shop located at the corner of 1st Avenue and Madison Street. The flames spread rapidly and the small volunteer department was unable to slow the fire with the town's small water systems. By the time the fire was extinguished, 64 acres (26 ha) of homes and businesses had been destroyed.
In the 1965 film, The Slender Thread, starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft, the Seattle Fire Department dispatch center, as well as the interior of Fire Station # 2 are shown and Aid Unit 2 is seen responding to a report of a suicide attempt.