Twas the day before Christmas 1902 when a group
of Pierce men met
and formed the Pierce Fire Company. A report in the December 26
issue of the Pierce
County Leader indicated that a temporary organization was affected
and 3 men were
appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws.
Equipment at the time was a single hose cart, but the report indicated
be ordered along with a hook & ladder truck and 500 feet more
hose to supplement
the 400 feet on hand. (One of the hose carts and the hook and
ladder rig are
on display at the Pierce Museum.
In 1903 the city erected a 55,000 gallon standpipe which made
firefighting a much easier matter but by 1906 there were still
only 11 hydrants.
By then the fire department had 1000 feet of hose to help them
The ladders and hose still had to be taken to the scene of the
fire by hand however.
It was not until April, 1925 that the first piece of motorized
equipment was put into
service, the trustworthy "Dodge" that remained in service
for a quarter of a century
before it was finally replaced.
If you lived in the rural area near Pierce and had a fire, it
was pretty much
"tough luck" to you as the old pumper could not be taken
from the city and would
not have been much good if it had.
In 1946 the Pierce Fire Department, aided by concerned farmers,
a rural pumper for use in rural areas. This truck was bought by
selling shares to
farm people. This also permitted the department to raise their
manpower from 25 to 35.
In July 1951 a large home burned to the ground 11 1/2 miles southwest
mainly because the new rural truck did not carry enough water
to put out any
fire of major proportions. Firemen nearly had this fire stopped
when the tank ran
dry and then it was a heartbreaking watch as the home burned.
Spurred on by this fire, Pierce firemen went back to the people
and soon had
enough for the first of their 1000 gallon tankers, a truck which
a self sustaining firefighting machine.
In early 1958 the department began seeking an improved method
of supporting a
rural fire department, and they circulated petitions asking for
the creation of a rural
fire district. This district became a reality in May of 1958 and
encompassed 170 sections of land.
This brought about an improvement in financing and by 1963 the
had added another 1000 gallon tanker and in March 1970 they purchased
rural pumper that at $19,392 coat more than the large building
in which it was housed.
In 1953, after defeating the issue once, the city voters approved
the purchase of a
new city truck to replace the old Dodge.
It has been a long way from Christmas, 1902 and the very modest
beginning to the
present fire department which protects the city and a large area
of rural Pierce
county. Under an agreement reached a few years ago, the rural
and the city now share alike in the departments equipment purchases.
For many years fire equipment was housed in a single stall building
housed the city water pump and was located on the site of the
hall. In 1953 a new modern fire hall was built on the site and
in 1984 the present
modern building was erected. The city has also replaced the old
water tower with a
new 350,000 gallon tank in west Pierce. This move greatly improved
pressure available in case of fires.
The present fire-rescue unit is authorized at a strength of 40
25 rescue members, however, some of the rescue personnel are also
The department is completely equipped with personal firefighting