History Of The Eureka Fire Protection District
The fire service of Eureka has a long and rich history of saving lives and protecting property. The Eureka Volunteer Fire Department formed after a major fire destroyed a large section of the downtown area of Eureka (portions of the 100 block of South Central Avenue) in 1944. Many of the volunteer firefighters served their community proudly. The early firefighters not only fought fires but also worked hard raising funds for a fire station, equipment, and the ongoing maintenance and expenses. In the late 1960s the members of the department and the community realized that the area was growing and the requirements for service were increasing. In 1970 there was a referendum placed on the ballot, and the voters approved the creation of a tax-supported fire district. Upon the formation of the Eureka Fire Protection District as a political entity, George H. Manetzke, Jr. was named the first paid fire chief of our district on January 1st, 1971. There have been six chiefs since the formation of the District.
Proud History Of Eureka Fire Protection District
In 1972, the first ambulance was acquired, and an addition was built on the original engine house, more than doubling its size. Also in 1972, we took delivery of our new pumper. The first mid-ship, 1000 GPM pump, fire truck, west of the Mississippi, which had been ordered by Chief Manetzke two days before he was killed in the line of duty.
Three men were hired to become our first full time paid firefighters in 1974, each working a 24-hour shift.
In 1975 we acquired a second basic life support ambulance.
In 1981 a new building was completed at 134 South Virginia, giving us additional office and training space, as well as four additional apparatus bays.
January 1, 1984, saw us improve our emergency medical service by updating our first out ambulance with advanced life support equipment and three paramedics.
In 1985 a bond issue was approved by our citizens. The benefits of the bond issue began to be seen in 1986 and 1987 when we received our new 1986 Pumper, 1986 Tanker/Pumper, 1986 Ford Ambulance; and we completed and occupied Station #2 at 1815 W. Fifth Street.
The new Administration Office and Fire Station #1 at 1060 Highway W was completed and dedicated on November 6, 1988, replacing the South Central and South Virginia locations.
In June of 1998, Eureka Fire Protection District Engine House #3 opened at 3570 White Oak School Road in Hoene Springs. Located in the northern corner of Jefferson County, this enhanced our responses to the more rural portions of our district.
In 1999, the citizens of Eureka Fire Protection District passed a new bond issue. This bond issue enabled the district to purchase some new equipment and expand our facilities. All three fire stations are getting facelifts, additions, and necessary repairs. Fire Station #1 had the most dramatic improvement, almost doubling in size with the addition of a new training and conference room and new living quarters for our staff. Stations 2 and 3 had an additional apparatus bay added to each house. All front line apparatus have been upgraded over the past 3 years. We now run a 100-foot aerial ladder, a 2000 gallon rescue pumper, and two 1000 gallon rescue pumpers from our houses.
Currently, our staff consists of a Fire Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief, Deputy Chief Fire Marshal, (1) Inspector, (4) office staff, (12) 24-hour shift Officers, and (28) 24-hour Firefighter/Paramedics providing full-time emergency fire protection and ambulance service. Our reserve corps supplements the full-time staff with manning equipment and engine houses.
The technical services division encompasses fire prevention, investigation, plan review for new construction, fire safety inspections, and public education.
In addition to fighting fires and handling emergency medical responses, The Eureka Fire District personnel are involved with community education in fire prevention, emergency medical services, and disaster preparedness programs. Public CPR and first aid classes are conducted monthly, and tours of the engine houses are always welcome.
Eureka Fire District Holds 1000th Board Meeting
The Eureka Fire Protection District passed a milestone in our history. On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, the Board of Directors held their 1000th Board Meeting at the Fire District Station # 1.
The first Board of Directors meeting was held on April 2, 1970, just shortly after voters had approved the formation of the Fire District and elected the first Board of Directors. The first meeting was held at the Fire Departments first station located in what is now old town Eureka, 131 South Central Avenue. The building is still in town and is now called Maximum Chiropractic.
The first Board of Directors elected were George Manetzke Sr, Dan Wallach, and Paul Harris.