Fire Department 
Description of the Fire Department

The Alton Fire Department is an organization whose purpose is to protect the lives and property of the citizens of Alton.  The prevention and mitigation of fires, and other unsafe conditions, in the community shall be considered the Department's primary objective.

The Alton Fire Department consists of 48 uniformed personnel and one secretary.  In addition to fire prevention and extinguishment, the Department also provides Advanced Life Support (A.L.S.), medical service, technical rescue, hazardous materials response, and other types of community service.

The Department operates out of two modern fire stations strategically located on each side of town.  All members are certified by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

(1) Fire Chief
(1) Deputy Chief
(4) Battalion Chiefs
(14) Captains
(15) Engineers
(13) Firefighters 
(1) Secretary
(2) Stations
(1) Engine Companies - 3 men
(1) Quint - 4 men
(1) Paramedic Rescue Squads - 2 men
(1) Command Vehicle

Run Statistics for 2012
Structure Fire 81   Vehicle Fire & Boat Fire 32
Grass Fires Other 37   Open Burning 16
Emergency Medical Calls 1,024   False Alarm 257
Hazardous Conditions 44   Hazardous Materials 34
Public Service 430   Mutual Aid 4
      TOTAL 1,959

Listening to the Fire Department

The Alton Fire Department is dispatched and operates on a frequency of 154.385.  The PL is 156.7 for those with advanced scanners.  Current frequencies for any organization can be found at  Many public safety agencies have converted to digital radios which cannot be heard on an analog scanner.  We do not anticipate converting to digital radios in the near future.

Leaf Burning Regulations

1.  Hours, Months, and Days Permitted:  Outdoor leaf burning in the City shall be permitted only on Wednesdays and Saturdays of each week during the months of October, November, and December, and from April 15 through May 30 and only between the hours of ten o'clock (10:00) A.M. and six o'clock (6:00) P.M. of each day.  Outdoor leaf burning shall not be permitted at any other time other than those set forth in this Section.  This Section shall not apply to the Park and Recreation Department of the City or to any cemetery located in the City. (Ord. 6516, 8-9-2000).

2.  Containers:  Such burning shall be permitted only in containers located not less than fifteen feet (15') from any building or structure on private property only, except that the Park Department of the City may conduct such outdoor leaf burning on publicly owned property, which burning shall be under direct Park Department supervision, and cemeteries may conduct such outdoor leaf burning under direct and continuous supervision.  A "container" is defined as a metal burning barrel not to exceed fifty-five (55) gallon capacity or a mesh barrel approximately the same size.

3.  Burning On Public Streets Prohibited:  Outdoor leaf burning shall be prohibited at all times on or in any public street or alley in the City.

4.  Burning Of Leaves Only:  Outdoor leaf burning shall include only leaves fallen from trees, plants, and shrubs.  It shall not include burning of any trash, garbage, or other disposables or any other material of any nature whatsoever.  The burning of anything other than leaves, plants, or shrubs is a violation of City ordinance.  The Police Department tickets violators.

Lawn Burning

A bona fide property owner or tenant may conduct lawn burning any day of the year during daylight hours.  Such burning shall require the tenant or owner to remain on said property until all burning has ceased and have a readily available method to control or extinguish such burning.

Recreational Fires

Definition:  An outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of three feet (3') or less in diameter and two feet (2') or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth, or similar purposes.

Recreational fires shall not be conducted within twenty-five feet (25') of a structure or combustible material.  Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within twenty-five feet (25') of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

Portable Outdoor Fireplaces

Definition:  A portable, outdoor, solid-fuel-burning fireplace that may be constructed of steel, concrete, clay or other non-combustible material.  A portable outdoor fireplace may be open in design, or may be equipped with a small hearth opening and a short chimney or chimney opening in the top.

Portable outdoor fireplaces shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and shall not be operated within fifteen feet (15') of a structure or combustible material.


Definition:  An outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes with a size not to exceed five feet (5') high, by five feet (5') long, by five feet (5') wide.

A bonfire shall not be conducted within fifty feet (50') of a structure or combustible material.

*A bonfire permit must be obtained from the Alton Fire Department and signed by the Fire Chief or his designee no later than seven (7) days prior to the bonfire event.  The permit shall only be issued to the owner of the land upon which the fire is to be kindled.  The burn site will also be inspected for compliance with the restrictions.  Please call the Department
to request a permit.*


Only seasoned, dried fire wood is to be used for recreational fires, portable outdoor fireplaces, and bonfires.

Prohibited Open Burning

Open burning that is offensive or objectionable because of smoke emissions or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous shall be prohibited.  If these conditions are present the fire department may order the extinguishment of the fire.

Flammable and/or Combustible liquids are NOT allowed to ignite or maintain open burning.


Leaf and lawn burning, recreational fires, portable outdoor fireplaces, and bonfires shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished.  A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher with a minimum of a 4A rating, garden hose, water barrel, or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.

Fire Reports

Fire reports are required by insurance companies and relief organizations such as Red Cross.  A copy of fire or other incident report can be obtained from the secretary during normal business hours for a $5.00

Building and Event Inspection

The Fire Department conducts a free fire and life safety inspection of every business annually.  Inspections are done by the fire companies between emergency calls.  New businesses are inspected by the Building and Zoning Department prior to opening.  The Fire Department also inspects tents and booths at fairs, circuses, and other events.  For information regarding the requirements, please call the secretary.

CPR Classes

CPR classes are offered to the public the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 P.M. at Station One on 20th Street.  You must call to reserve a spot.  This class is aimed toward the everyday citizen that wants to be ready to assist someone having sudden heart failure.  First aid is not included.  The class fee is $10.00 and must be paid in advance.

To register for either of these classes, please contact the Fire Department at 618.463.3565.

Child Car Seats

The Fire Department has a limited number of certified car seat installers.  Please call the secretary to find out when the next installer is on duty.

Cats in Trees

Contrary to popular belief, the Fire Department does not rescue cats, iguanas, baby squirrels, parrots, or other animals from trees.  Tree trimming services and arborists have the training and equipment needed to safely do this type of work.  Many local tree trimmers and arborists are listed in the yellow pages and can perform this type of work.  Most have rescued animals before and will work for a fee ranging from $50 and higher depending on the job.  You must negotiate the fee in advance.  For more information and tips, please visit

City of Alton Emergency Operations Plan Synopsis

Click here for the City of Alton Emergency Operations Plan Synopsis.

Insurance Services Office (ISO) Rating Class 3

The ISO conducted a re-evaluation of the Department and water system in May 2013.  Through the efforts of Chief Sebold and his Department, the City's ISO Rating was subsequently reduced from 4 to 3, effective October 1, 2013. Of the 2,408 Fire Departments in Illinois, there are only 144 fire departments with an ISO CLASS 3 rating.  In the United States there are 47,242 departments with only 1,998 departments that are a CLASS 3. Class 10 areas have no fire protection while a Class 1 rating is the best fire protection and water supply available.  Insurance companies combine this information with other factors, such as actual fire losses, to set premiums for homes and businesses.  The rating is a reflection of how well the department protects its buildings and cannot be used to compare fire departments.  ISO is only concerned with property losses.  As such, EMS, auto extrication, trench rescue, rope rescue, and other important activities are not rated.  More information can be found at

Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

Firefighter applicants should click here to view a video to learn what to expect for physical testing.

Safety Links

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)           Federal Emergency Mangement Agency (FEMA)

Emergency Mangement Institute (EMI)              FEMA Independent Study

Illinois Emergency Mangement Agency (IEMA) Madison County Emergency Agency

United States Fire Administration (USFA)              National Fire Academy (NFA)

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)        Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA)

International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)   Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI)

Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL)                     Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Picture of Fire Chief Bernie Sebold

Bernie Sebold
Fire Chief

Mark Harris
Deputy Fire Chief

333 E 20th Street
Alton, IL  62002
PH:    618.463.3565
FAX:  618.463.3539

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.


Click here to View the Annual Report

Click here for a Freedom of Information Act Request Form

Click here for CodeRED Information

Click here for Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines


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