August 11, 2007 in Voices

Fire District 8 celebrates 60 years with open house

Valerie Putnam Correspondent

If you go

Fire District 8 open house

Today, 10 a.m. to noon at all station locations:

•Station No. 81, 6117 S. Palouse Highway

•Station No. 84, 4410 S. Bates Road

•Station No. 85, 3324 S. Linke Road

•Station No. 82, 12100 E. Palouse Highway, Valleyford; activities will continue until 2 p.m. with barbecue, jumping castle, the Edith House and Smokey Bear.

For more information, call Spokane County Fire District No. 8 at 926-6699.

Spokane County Fire Protection District No. 8 began 60 years ago with a 1949 Dodge Power Wagon Express truck purchased for $2,669. With no building to house the vehicle, Fire Chief Corwin McClung parked the truck in his driveway on the corner of 57th and Regal.

Since these humble beginnings, District 8 has grown to service 23,000 citizens in an area larger than 110 square miles. The district operates from four locations with a staff of 26 career and 75 volunteer firefighters, as well as 16 temporary hourly and 14 resident personnel.

Today the district celebrates the past 60 years with a community open house at all locations from 10 a.m. to noon. The public is invited to tour the stations and equipment and meet the firefighters who serve the area. Fire commissioners plan to field questions at each location. Free refreshments will be available along with fire-prevention materials.

“It’s a great opportunity to see how the organization works,” said Carol Trescott, the district’s administrative assistant.

Two of the four locations plan to conduct additional activities in conjunction with the open house.

At 11 a.m., MedStar will land its helicopter at Station No. 81, 6117 S. Palouse Highway, and give a presentation on its membership program.

At the Valleyford location, 12100 E. Palouse Highway, representatives of AMR Ambulance plan to offer free blood pressure checks and display a vintage ambulance. Children can meet Smokey Bear and play in the jumping castle. They can also learn the quickest way to exit a burning building inside the Edith House. At 11 a.m. firefighters will demonstrate an auto extrication, followed by a barbecue serving sausages and salad from noon to 2 p.m.

“From a staff perspective, it’s our way to say thank you for trusting and investing in us,” said Fire Chief William Walkup. “And allow us to do what we do.”

Protecting their farms and property from the threat of fire, several citizens formed the fire district in August 1947. The service area focused on the communities south of the city of Spokane and Fire District No. 1. In 1951, the district built the first fire station across the street from where the firetruck was located, on the corner of 57th and Regal.

Today, with the demand for service increasing 308 percent over the last 19 years, the district plans to continue enhancing service levels as well as working to improve emergency medical services.

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