Fire Departments

Portage Township is responsible for providing both fire and police protection for it's residents. MCL 41.806 passed in 1951 provides for the establishment and maintenance of both police and fire departments; joint service agreements and the delegation of powers. The statute, originally written in 1951 and only slightly modified when township laws were recodified in 1989, is often referred to as "Public Act 33" which was the public law number when it was first adopted.

Neither, this statute, nor any other, requires a Township to have a fire department. While a township board has, by law, the general responsibility for the health, safety and general welfare of the township, it has broad latitude as to how that responsibility is to be carried out. All townships in Michigan, have made some provision for fire protection, either through contract, interlocal agreement, or through owning and operating it's own fire department like Charter Portage Township.


Hurontown Fire and Rescue

47890 Main Street
Houghton, Michigan 49931

Emergency Contact: Dial 911

The Hurontown Fire Department, founded in 1882, was originally located in Donken, Michigan. The present brick building in Hurontown was disassembled brick by brick, then transported and rebuilt on the foundation of the recently burnt down firehall. The labor for this was provided by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1936.

Hurontown FD was originally responsible for the southern part of Portage Township now covered by Otter Lake FD. They also provided coverage for Stanton Township until they founded their fire department. Hurontown FD now covers the north end of Portage Township for fire protection and has mutual aid agreements with the departments that are part of the Copper Country Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Hurontown FD provides extrication (Jaws of Life) for all of Portage Township, Adams Township, Stanton Township, Elm River Township, City of Houghton, City of Hancock, and part of the northside of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. They were the first department in the area to have the tools to provide extrication at vehicle accidents. Hurontown FD decided to change their name to Hurontown Fire & Rescue in 2003 after acquiring a new set of hydraulic rescue tools and at that time was responding to more extrication calls then fire calls. Hurontown now has the state-of-the-art battery powered extrication tools made By Hurst “Jaws of Life” after purchasing them in 2020.

There is an honor roll currently displayed on the front of the station to commemorates the deceased members of Hurontown Fire & Rescue who have proudly served the Department over the years.

Hurontown Fire and Rescue currently has a fleet of 2 water tender trucks, one that holds 3,000 gallons and one that holds 2,700 gallons of water. Hurontown F&R also has a pumper/tanker that holds up to 1,500 gallons of water and can pump up to 1,500 gallons of water per minute, and a brush truck that holds 250 gallons of water that responds to brush fires. Hurontown F&R can respond to fires with 7,200 gallons of water.

According to State Law, a volunteer fireman must receive 170 hours of training over the course of his/her initial two years of service. This training consists of both practical as well as classroom training over the two years and results in Fire Fighter 1 certification.

Hurontown holds their monthly meetings on the 1st Monday of each month at 7:00pm, and conducts at least one training per month to keep them up to date and knowledgeable of their firefighting and extrication apparatus.


Jared Ruotsola, Fire Chief -- (906) 201-2929


Otter Lake Fire and First Responders

34830 Tapiola Road
Pelkie, Michigan 49958

Emergency Contact: Dial 911

The Otter Lake Fire Department is all-volunteer. It receives 43% of the millage the township collects for fire protection. The township fire millage is $1.50 per $1,000 of taxable value.

The Otter Lake Volunteer Fire Department has approximately 25 volunteer firefighters and 7 Medical First Responders.

The Department has 1 pumper truck with 1000-gallon capacity, 1 tanker truck with a 2,000-gallon capacity, and a hybrid tanker/pumper with a 1,000-gallon capacity. The Department also has a four-wheel drive, 250 gallon "brush truck" for responding to small brush fires, and a retired four-wheel drive ambulance that serves as a Medical First Responder rescue rig for responding to medical emergencies.

According to State Law, a volunteer fireman must receive 170 hours of training over the course of his/her initial two years of service. The training consists of both practical as well as classroom training. In order to receive Firefighter 1 certification, the candidate must then pass a state certification exam. Medical First Responders must pass a state certification exam and provide documentation for continuing education credits when they recertify every 3 years.

The Department meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM at the Fire Hall in Tapiola.


Anders Kallungi, Fire Chief -- (906) 299-2556