About the Clifton Volunteeer Fire Department

Serving Duluth Township, Alden Township and Surrounding Mutual Aid Areas 

Clifton station on Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range tracks

Clifton Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) was founded in 1947. The Name “Clifton” was adopted to avoid confusion with the nearby Duluth Fire Department. Historically, the Clifton family called the general area “Clifton” in honor of their ancestral town in England. The first fire hall was located near what is now the McQuade Safe Harbor on Scenic Highway 61. What is now Hall #2 came next in 1985. Then a new Hall #1 was built in 1994 with an addition in 2018, and is now our main fire hall.

  • CVFD is currently a 24-member department (25 max) that includes Emergency Medical Responders (EMR) and Firefighters (FF), as well as 2 members who are vehicle/equipment specialists who help maintain our fleet.
  • Firefighters receive 146 hrs. of initial training and additional training throughout the year. 
  • EMR initial training is 48 hrs. with 16 hrs. of refresher training every 2 years.
  • Our department also has monthly training for both FF and EMR.



CVFD covers a 90 square mile response area and also provides and receives mutual aid with neighboring departments. We have two fire halls in our township and also maintain an engine at the fire hall in Alden township which contracts fire suppression service from Clifton. Our fleet consists of 3 engines, 2 tenders, 1 rescue rig, and 1 brush truck.

We respond to over 100 emergency calls per year!




  • We receive grant funding for training from Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education.
  • We received a DNR matching grant for wildland and structural personal protective gear (PPE).
  • We received FIREWISE grant funding from the DNR and another wildfire risk reduction grant from COCO that help our department and the community to reduce the risk of wildfires. The combination of spruce budworm damage to trees and the blow-downs have increased our fire risk considerably.  Some things included in the grant were:  provision of updated fire signs, free brush chipping at a central location following clearing hazards around homes, and training in how to create safer landscapes around structures.
  • We worked with the Red Cross to provide free smoke detectors to residents who needed them.
  • We received FEMA grants in the past and will be applying for future grants as well.  These grants are typically for large expenditures, such as vehicles.  They do not fund facility construction.



  • We visit the NSCS every fall for fire safety lessons with the kindergarten classes
  • The FIREWISE grant includes public education about how to make your property safer from wildfires
  • The Red Cross smoke alarm installation includes an educational component about home fire safety


On request, we will arrange to visit a property to view areas pertinent to our emergency response and to give suggestions for improvements.


Key lock boxes can be purchased ($40) and will be installed by the department to facilitate access for emergencies if the resident is unable to come to the entrance.

The purpose of the fire key box is to hold a current key to your main entrance so that firefighters/first responders and police can enter the building in an emergency when no one is immediately available to open the door.  Unless the emergency dictates otherwise, the key will be used to enter the building to avoid causing unnecessary physical damage to the structure to gain access.

The key box is only for police and firefighters/first responders to use in an emergency situation.  It is NOT a backup spare key for other uses.  The key box is the property of the Fire Department.  It uses a special access code only given, as needed, to emergency personnel. It is free except for a one-time installation charge of $40. The payment form can be found here.

The preferred location of the fire box is by the main door to your home/building where emergency personnel can readily find it (our preferred standard location is on the right hand side of the door, about 5 feet off the ground).

Notify the Town Hall if:

  • You no longer need the fire box and want it removed.
  • You have a new key to replace the old one.
  • You need to have the fire box moved from its current location because of construction work, etc.

Town Hall Contact Information:
Duluth Township Town Hall, 6092 Homestead Road
Phone: 218-525-5705 (to leave a message)
Email:  cliftonfiredepartment@gmail.com,



  • Pension plan administered by the state
  • Annual appreciation dinner (paid with non-levied funds)
  • All training and protective gear provided
  • All non-protective clothing with fire department logo is paid for with non-levied funds.

The Fire Department has a business meeting at 7 pm on the first Tuesday of each month and a training meeting at 6 pm on the third Tuesday of each month at Hall 1. From time to time there are special training sessions such as training burns.

Residents interested in becoming members can email cliftonfiredepartment@gmail.com or call Chief  Bob Engelson at 525-6819.



  • Open to any resident that would like to help out.
  • We sponsor two FUNDRAISERS
    • The annual harvest dinner is the second Saturday in October.
    • The Fire Department calendar is produced yearly with advertising subscriptions from local businesses

Station 1Station 1
2146 Old North Shore Rd
(at Ryan Rd and Old North Shore Rd.)

 Station 2
6092 Homestead Rd
(By our Town Hall)

Station 3Station 3
Alden Township Fire Hall
(On Laine Road)