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Kent Fire Department History

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  1. Kent Fire Department History

  2. 1892 • The beginning of the Kent Fire Department as an informal Department. • S.D Miller is appointed Fire Chief of the informal Department. • Department Assets consist of one large Seagrave chemical fire extinguisher mounted on wooden wheels and stored in a barn.

  3. 1900 • Fire hydrants are installed within the city. • Hand drawn hose cart is added to the Department inventory. • First major commercial fire in KFD history takes place at Fred’s saloon.

  4. 1912 • The Kent Volunteer Fire Department is officially organized. • 27 men serve under the appointed Chief J.E. Hayward. • Horse drawn hook and ladder powered by horses that are provided by department members is added to the inventory. • Horse owners are paid three dollars per call. • The fire department responded to three calls for the year.

  5. 1914 • The largest fire in Department history to this date occurs on July 4th when five commercial structures in the heart of downtown are destroyed. • The losses include the hotel, a bakery, a shoe shop, the local second hand store, and the livery stable. • No injuries were reported.

  6. 1917 • First motorized apparatus is purchased by the Department. • The days of horse drawn apparatus come to an end.

  7. 1920 • First arson fire was reported.

  8. 1924 • The Department is reorganized on January 23 and Ben York is named Fire Chief. • Personnel consist of an all volunteer staff including the Chief and eleven men. • This year marks the beginning of the City of Kent Fire Department. • A second motorized pump is added to supplement the Departments pumping capabilities.

  9. 1925 • A $5,000 bond is passed to purchase a new fire engine. • The new 350 gpm engine is placed at Station 1. • This year marks the first night shift firefighters posted duty at the fire station. • Charles “Brick” Brdges is appointed Fire Chief.

  10. 1927 • Fire safety inspections of public and commercial buildings begin. • Department purchases a “Lung Motor”. • The Department officially begins to respond to first aid calls. • KFD becomes a member of the Puget Sound Firemen’s Association.

  11. 1929 • May 2, 1929 marks the first recorded aid call handled by the KFD. • The call involves an electrocution.

  12. 1936 • The Fire Department purchases a new Ford fire truck. • Residents approve funding to provide rural fire protection as far east as the Benson Road. • KFD is one of the first fire departments to provide rural fire protection in the state of Washington.

  13. 1940 • A new Seagrave fire engine is purchased and placed into service after a catastrophic fire nearly destroys Washington Frosted Foods.

  14. 1948 • King County Fire District 37 is formed and the City Fire Chief Charles “Brick” Bridges is named as the administrator for both agencies. • The District encompasses the rural areas east of the City. • The District purchases a 500 gallon pumper that is placed in service as the first “tender” to be used as a source of supplemental water for areas with no hydrants.

  15. 1949 • Two more fire tenders are purchased for the Fire District to supplement water capabilities. • Fire Stations are built at Lake Meridian (adjacent to current Station 72) and at Panther Lake (on SE 216th Street).

  16. 1952 • Donations from members of the community are used to purchase a 1952 Chevrolet Panel truck to operate as a vehicle to provide emergency medical services.

  17. 1954 • The Departments largest fire pump to date makes its appearance on the streets of Kent in the form of a 1954 Kenworth that would serve the community for the next 25 years. • This apparatus would eventually see service for the island of Tonga in the South Pacific.

  18. 1964 • A second bond issue is passed for $200,000. • These funds are used to construct two (2) fire stations and purchase two (2) Crown fire engines.

  19. 1965 • Most historic year. • City Council hires first paid staff, consisting of two (2) chief officers and ten (10) firefighters. • Fire Chief Charles “Brick” Bridges retires. • Tom Foster is named Fire Chief.

  20. 1966 • The Fire District signs its first mutual-aid contracts with King County Fire District 44 and Renton.

  21. 1968 • On January 22, 1968 eighteen members of the Kent Fire Department were chartered by the International Association of Fire Fighters. • The Local became designated as Kent Firefighters IAFF Local 1747.

  22. 1972 • First members of the KFD are trained and certified as EMTs. • City Building department operates under the supervision of the Fire Department. • Fires that destroy Fields Lumber and severely damages the San Juan apartments stretch department resources to the breaking point.

  23. 1973 • Kent’s insurance rating is reduced from ISO class 5 to class 4. • The City of Kent annexes areas of King County Fire District #30 along Pacific Highway South.

  24. 1974 • KFD and Fire District 37 contract together to cut costs and operating expenses. • Combining the two departments brings the total number of personnel to 39 and increases the area of protection to 53 square miles.

  25. 1978 • Valley paramedics in service and operating out of Valley General Hospital. • 35 Kent Firefighters became Journeymen Firefighters, the first in the State of Washington.

  26. 1979 • The first firefighter to lose his life in the line of duty occurs in June of this year. Kent volunteer firefighter Ralph Bucklin dies from injuries he receives while battling a house fire.

  27. 1980 • The Fire District passes a $985,000 bond for the purchase of one new station, the remodeling of another, a fire engine and an aid car. • The same year the City passes a $450,000 bond for the purchase of a new engine and ladder truck.

  28. 1981 • Chief Norm Angelo replaces Chief Foster. • Construction of new station 72 and remodel of existing station 77 begin. • 2 engines and ladder 71 are also purchased.

  29. 1984 • The KFD Master Plan is developed and adopted.

  30. 1985 • The KFD planned and ordered the first of several new concept engine/aid combination apparatus. • Placed an engine and an aid car out of service to re-deploy firefighters to provide staffing for 3 person engine companies. • The number of calls for service tops 5,000 for the year.

  31. 1986 • The city passes one of the largest bond issues ever voted in by the citizens. The Public Safety Bond Levy was for $12.3 million. The money was earmarked for the construction of 3 new fire stations (one of which is a police/fire training facility), remodel of existing station 71, construction of a vehicle maintenance facility, apparatus and equipment. • Fire District 37 lifts the lid to build station 75 and purchase new concept engine/aid apparatus.

  32. 1989 • Fire Station 75 is opened. • Department personnel expands to include 100 paid firefighters.

  33. 1991 • KFD headquarters is moved to station 74 on 116th ave Se from station 71. • The Building Department is moved from under the supervision of the Fire Department to the Planning Department.

  34. 1992 • The calls for service surpass 10,000!!!!!

  35. 1993 • On July 23, 1993 the largest dollar loss fire in KFD history occurred at the Village Green Apartments. The dollar loss was estimated at $3,000,000. • Fire training simulators are installed in the training center burn tower.

  36. 1993 Village Green Fire

  37. 1995 • King County Medic One places M11 in service at Station 75. • City begins apparatus replacement fund.

  38. 1996 • The city annexes the Lake Meridian area, which includes station 72 and station 75.

  39. 1997 • The City of Covington incorporates and requests that District 37 continue to provide fire and ems services along the existing district boundaries. • The City of Kent annexes the Del Mar area of the west hill which increases the response area of the KFD from 53 to 58 square miles.

  40. 1998 • King County Medic One places M7 in service at station 76. • The KFD signs a contract to provide apparatus maintenance to Fire District #11.

  41. 2000 • The KFD signs a contract to provide training services for King County Fire District 40. • The Department begins operations of the Emergency Coordination Center at station 74.

  42. 2001 • Minimum staffing is increased from 24 to 26 firefighters on shift. • New station 77 opens. • The KFD purchases 4 new Quantum fire engines with CAFS. • Second Strategic Plan document is published.

  43. 2002 • Chief Angelo leaves the Department and is replaced by Chief Jim Schneider. • The KFD begins the process towards accreditation.

  44. 2004 • The KFD becomes Nationally Accredited as a Fire Department on August 31.

  45. 2005 • Total calls for service 14,288 for the year. • Total population served tops 134,000.

  46. 2006 • July 17th was the ground breaking for station 78 scheduled to open 1-09. • The KFD begins providing vehicle maintenance for the City of Auburn Fire Deapartment.