Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A lot of history in one picture

By Don Gardner

Saturday, May 21, the Orofino Fire Department held a commemorative dinner to celebrate its 100 birthday. Brought together were past and present Orofino firefighters. Everyone enjoyed a potluck dinner and slide show at Orofino Fire Station #1. Three of the department’s fire chiefs were on hand to help tell stories and share photos.

The first official meeting we have record of for the Orofino Fire Department, was held on Jan. 22, 1911. A committee was appointed by the Chief E.W. Jewell to draft a constitution and by-laws. Only two days later, on Jan. 24, 1911 the constitution and by-laws were voted on and adopted. At that time they didn’t have a lot of equipment so they set out to acquire what they needed including the hose cart (in the picture).

In 1913 they received a donation by the Eureka Fire Hose Company of a 28 inch fire alarm bell, (in the picture). Some fun fact. The first fire bell was a steel triangle. The Departments first recorded fire was at the Clearwater Lime Company. In 1919 the fire department was instrumental in the development of the county fairgrounds and City Park

Over the past 100 years many brave men and women have served Orofino as firefighters. You know them as your neighbors and friends. The Orofino fire department is always looking for volunteers. Today we are at one of our lowest membership levels. This puts a strain on our current firefighters. A fire department has many positions to make it work. It wouldn’t be hard to find something you can do to help.  For more information on volunteering please contact any Orofino firefighter.

Fire Chiefs Mike Lee 1998 – Present, Leonard Eckman 1989-1998, and Elbert Snyder 1965-1978. The handcart is the oldest known piece of Fire Department equipment. The bell was installed in 1913, Engine 55 the newest piece of equipment.  Photo by Don Gardner

Firefighters Jerame Lee and Max Bausch returning the handcart to the museum. Photo by Sage Gardner

Many past and present Orofino Firefighters enjoying the celebration.  Photo by Sage Gardner

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