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Kent Fire Department History. 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.

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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1917

  • First motorized apparatus is purchased by the Department.

  • The days of horse drawn apparatus come to an end.


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1920

  • First arson fire was reported.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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1929

  • May 2, 1929 marks the first recorded aid call handled by the KFD.

  • The call involves an electrocution.


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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.


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1940

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


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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.


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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).


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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1966

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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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1984

  • The KFD Master Plan is developed and adopted.


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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.


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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.


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1989

  • Fire Station 75 is opened.

  • Department personnel expands to include 100 paid firefighters.


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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.


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1992

  • The calls for service surpass 10,000!!!!!


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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.



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1995

  • King County Medic One places M11 in service at Station 75.

  • City begins apparatus replacement fund.


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1996

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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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2002

  • Chief Angelo leaves the Department and is replaced by Chief Jim Schneider.

  • The KFD begins the process towards accreditation.


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2004

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


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2005

  • Total calls for service 14,288 for the year.

  • Total population served tops 134,000.


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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.


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