DE SOTO RURAL FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
By: Bill Haggard
with most departments, the
The first truck, 1949 Ford was purchased from Central Fire Apparatus with funds from donations and fundraisers. Many times fuel was purchased by the volunteers. All funding to run the Association came from the sale of fire tags and donations from the community.
George Long was the first Fire Chief. The chief was elected by the membership on a yearly basis until 1997 when the first paid Fire Chief was hired.
annual barbeque fundraiser was made possible by donations of meat and corn from
farmers and wine from the
A traumatic vehicle accident emphasized the need for rescue tools and the first “Jaws of Life” was purchased in 1979 with donations from the community. It was expected to take a year or more to raise the $6500 needed however a generous outpouring from the community allowed the purchase in 3 months.
In 1987, the residents approved a measure to become a district and allowed a property tax, thus doing away with the need to purchase a fire tag. The first paid fire fighter Eldon “Bud” Smith was hired in 1989 and worked an 8 hour shift, Monday through Friday for $13,000 a year. A year later Fire Fighter Eric Young was hired. Bud retired from the District in 2010.
1990, a fire truck responding from Station 1 to a fire alarm sounding hit a
pillar with an open compartment door and caused the building to collapse. The building was being held up by two other
The District has grown to 13 Full time Fire Fighters, which includes the Chief, Assistant Chief, and Deputy Chief working 48 hour shifts manning Stations 1, 2 and 3 running approximately 1000 calls a year. Stations 4, 5 and 6 are covered by volunteers and live-ins. There is also one Administrative Assistant, 30 Volunteers and 11 part-time firefighters.