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The Pacific Fire Protection District was formed by a vote of the public in 1973. Prior to the incorporation of the fire district, fire protection was provided by the City of Pacific for residents within city limits and by rural fire associations that charged dues to residents not in the city. The district held it’s first Board of Directors meeting on March 19, 1973. The first board members were Clarence Hartman, Harry Palmer and August Bruns, and at this first meeting, a resolution was passed setting the initial tax rate for the district at $0.30/$100.00 assessed valuation. The first Fire Chief of the Pacific Fire Protection District was Wayne Franek, appointed April 2, 1973. The district was divided into two battalions, the Robertsville battalion (house # 2) was commanded by Battalion Chief Bill Graf, Captain Ed Rathert and Lieutenant Ken Prichard. Battalion Chief John Hartman, Captains Richard Barnes, Edwin Bruns and Tom Tobey and Lieutenants Rick Titter and James Tobey commanded the Pacific battalion (house # 1). On May 7, 1973, John Tobey was made second in command to Chief Franek and given the rank of Deputy Chief. Later that same year, Deputy Chief Tobey was made the district’s first Fire Marshal and was given the responsibility of preventing fires through building inspections and fire code enforcement.
Early in 1974, John Hartman took over the Fire Chief’s job and was met very early with the challenge of losing Pumper #613 due to a roll over accident on Highway F south of Pacific on March 22. On April 14th of the following year, Ed Rathert was sworn in as a board member, taking the place of Harry Palmer. Later that same year, a motion was passed to purchase a new FMC pumper for the price of $55,400.00. This unit would remain in service until March of 2000. This would be the first apparatus purchased by the newly formed fire district; prior vehicles had been purchased by the city or the rural fire associations and were given to the district when it was incorporated.
1976 saw the district place the new pumper in service as well as order a new FMC pumper/tanker for $51,789.00. This tanker would serve the taxpayers until it was replaced in 1996. A new boat, motor and trailer, which were purchased out of the pockets of the volunteer fire firefighters at house 1, were placed in service in October. The district received another gift, this time from the Pacific Kiwanis Club, in October. This civic organization had raised enough donations to purchase the “Jaws of Life” for the district. Late in 1977, the district and the community would find out just how important this gift would be. This valuable tool would serve the taxpayers until it was replaced in 2005.
1977 began with Edwin Bruns’ appointment as Fire Chief, followed by George Beamon being sworn in as a board member, taking the place of Clarence Hartman. In June 1977, the deed for the property for a new station in Robertsville was received and in August, the new tanker was placed in service. On December 7, 1977 Firefighter Keith Bruns was responding to station one for an emergency call when his car was struck by a freight train. The “Jaws of Life”, which had just been placed in service the previous October, was utilized to extricate Keith from his vehicle.
January of 1978 saw the passage of a motion to purchase an FMC/Dodge mini-pumper for $23,551.00. This unit would serve the citizens until 1985. In March, after much public debate, the board adopted the district’s first fire code. This code would give the district a nationally accepted standard to which property owners would have to meet to keep their property safe from fire. Many citizens had spoken out against this code, fearing the fire district would be forcing people from their homes and closing down businesses in the community. The motion passed with three “aye” votes from the board and history has shown that not only has code enforcement improved the fire safety of the citizens, but that the district is not out to shut down businesses or force residents from their homes. In October of 1978, the district awarded a bid to have a water supply well drilled on the property for the new station 2. This was a major step forward for the rural area as now a readily available water supply had been established for refilling tankers.
Late 1978 and early 1979 had several personnel changes. Tom Whitworth, Ed Nauman and Ken Prichard were made Assistant Chiefs and Bill Graf was made Deputy Chief and Fire Marshal. On July 23, 1979, the district was informed that the ISO class for property within the city limits would be reduced from a class 8 to a class 6. August 1st a motion was passed to purchase an FMC quick attack pumper for $42,452.00. This pumper would remain in service until 1992. On September 10, 1979, a resolution was passed to put a $300,000.00 bond issue on the ballot in November. This bond sale would fund the construction of a new station 2 in Robertsville to replace the current station. The existing station 2 had no running water, a gravel floor and was not big enough for modern fire apparatus. This bond issue would fail before the voters. In December 1979 a resolution was passed to put a $195,00.00 bond issue on the February 1980 ballot. This bond sale would fund the construction of a new station 2, the purchase of property and construction of a station 3 and pay leases on two apparatus and purchase a pumper for station 3. This bond issue also failed.