CEDAR HILL FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

By: Bill Haggard

 

The Cedar Hill Community Fire Association was the start of fire protection on August 7, 1950, for the communities of Cedar Hill, Byrnesville, Dittmer, Grubville, Oermann and Morse Mill. The founding members signed a note to purchase a new 1950 Ford Pumper for $7,001.50. The fire department ran its first call on December 31, 1950. This truck has been refurbished and is still used as a parade truck today. The fire truck was housed in garage until March 4, 1953, when the department moved into a permanent location on property donated by John Buxton. This property is still used today as Station #1 at 6766 Cedar Hill Road. The first Fire Chief of the Cedar Hill Fire Department was Adolph Bauer, who served until 1951.

 

In January 1951, Paul Lynn became the second Fire Chief. The fire department experienced its first fire fatality in a structure fire on January 24, 1951. In 1952, the fire department purchased its second piece of equipment, a 1949 Jeep for fighting brush fires.In the spring of 1954, during a meeting of the Ozark Firefighters Association held in Cedar Hill, the first ideas of forming a Fire Fighters Association of Missouri were born.In January of 1957, Walter F. Radeackar became Fire Chief and was replaced by James McCabe in January 1958.Chief McCabe served in the position of Fire Chief until January of 1965.Under Chief McCabe, the fire department purchased a 1960 Ford tanker and a 1964 Ford brush truck.

 

In 1965, Russell Rose assumed the position of Fire Chief in 1965 and served in that position for 23 years. Chief Rose was part of a group that lobbied the Missouri State Legislature to allow fire districts to be formed in counties other than first class counties. The law was changed and the formation of fire districts was now allowed to be formed in Jefferson County. With the change in state law, the voters of Cedar Hill unanimously approved the formation of the Cedar Hill Fire Protection District on March 12, 1971. In 1971, a new Ford pumper was added to the department and in 1972 the district hired its first full-time employee, Calvin Woodard, as Fire Marshal.Additional full-time personnel were added in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1973, an addition was made to Station #1 and in 1975 and 1978; 1500 gallon tankers were added to the department fleet. The Cedar Hill Fire Department celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1975.

 

In 1981, the fire district added Station #2 in Oermann and another pumper. Chief Rose retired in 1988 and Jim Woodard was appointed Fire Chief.On January 1, 1989, the Cedar Hill Fire District contracted with Central County 911 as the districtís dispatching agency. Also in 1989, the fire district completed another addition to Station #1.On January 1, 1991, Terry Soer was hired as the first full-time Fire Chief of the fire district and continues to serve in that position today.In 1991, the fire district took delivery of a new 3,000 gallon tanker and hired its first full-time secretary. In 1993, the fire district purchased a new rescue pumper. In 1996, the fire district opened Station #3 in the Byrnesville area and purchased two new pumpers. In 2000, the fire district took delivery of a new 3,000 gallon tanker and also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the fire department.The fire districtís insurance rating was lowered to a Class 5. In 2002, the fire district hired an additional five personnel and in 2005 took deliver of a new pumper.

 

The district in 2011 now has four pumpers, two 3,000 gallon tankers, 2 brush trucks, 2 water rescue boats, a safe house trailer, a CERT trailer and three staff vehicles. The district is staffed with 18 full-time personnel, 35 volunteer firefighters, 6 junior firefighters and 13 auxiliary members. The Cedar Hill Fire Protection District is responsible for protecting 82 square miles in Jefferson County.