1980 began with the appointment of Tom Whitworth to Fire Chief. Chief Whitworth was hired as a full time employee making him the district’s first paid firefighter and paid fire chief. After the February bond issue failed, a resolution was passed in June to put a $0.25 general fund tax increase $0.03 communication fund tax on the August ballot. These tax increases would pass and the district’s tax rate was set at $0.58/$100.00 assessed valuation. The passage of the communication tax was significant in that this money was earmarked for radios and communication. This extra funding allowed the district to enter into contract with Central County Emergency Communication for dispatching service. This would be a major upgrade from the dispatching the district had been receiving from the Pacific Police Department. Late in October of 1980, a bid for $47,961.00 was awarded for the construction of a new station 2. In November, the district purchased a second “Jaws of Life” for station 2 and high-pressure lift bags for both stations. The jaws and air bags purchased in 1980 are still in service to the taxpayers as of May 2008.
March of 1981, a motion passes to purchase an FMC pumper with a 55’ aerial ladder for $139,375.00. The ladder would remain in service until it was replaced in 2002 and for many years was the only ladder truck in the area and responded to fires in St. Louis, Sullivan, Cedar Hill and other areas. On May 6, 1981 the district entered into an agreement with the Missouri Department of Conservation to lease ½ acre of conservation ground at the Pacific Palisades Conservation Area. This land would be used for the construction of station 3. On June 8th, the new station 2 was placed in service and on September 21st, a bid for $33,752.00 was awarded for the construction of station 3. This building would be occupied on March 15, 1982.
The opening of station 3 was the first time the district owned it’s own building in this area but this was not the first station 3. As early as August of 1978, records indicate a group of volunteers responded with equipment housed in a shed on the grounds of the St. Joseph’s Hill Infirmary. Due to limited manpower and the long responses to this remote station for the volunteers in the area, the station was closed and the apparatus housed at station 2 for about 1 year.
On May 10, 1982, a motion was passed to purchase a Pierce quick attack pumper for $57,500.00. The monies for this unit came available due to the volunteers of the district pooling their volunteer response reimbursement checks to make the payments. This unit would remain in service until 1985. In July of 1982, the ladder truck was placed in service and in August, Bill Graf was appointed volunteer Fire Chief and retained the position of Fire Marshal. The district would not have a paid chief again until 1985.
In May of 1983, Edwin Bruns was sworn in as board member, replacing August Bruns, who retired after serving the citizens as board member for 10 years. On August 7, 1984, the voters approved a $0.10 tax increase and the tax rate for the district was set at $0.68/$100.00 assessed valuation.
On August 26, 1985, Dave Myers was hired as the full time Fire Chief taking over for Bill Graf who retained the Fire Marshal’s position and assumed the rank of Deputy Chief. In November, a motion passed to sell the FMC/Dodge mini-pumper and the Pierce Quick Attack and purchase an FMC pumper. This unit was still in service as of May 2008. In December, a motion passed to purchase a 1986 Chevrolet to use as a brush truck for $12,572.83.
April of 1986 saw the conclusion of a 16-year conflict between the City of Pacific and residents of an unincorporated area south of the city. In 1970, the city had installed water mains and hydrants along Highway N, Old Gray Summit Road and other areas in anticipation of annexing the area. When the annexation fell through, the hydrants were not turned on. The fire district mediated the conflict and was finally able to get the hydrants turned on, improving the fire fighting capabilities in the area.
In October of 1986, a motion passed to purchase an FMC pumper/tanker. This pumper/tanker is still in service as of May 2008. This unit replaced a tanker that was made by the district by converting a fuel tanker. January of 1987 saw the passage of a motion to put a $0.25 general fund tax increase and $0.03 communication tax increase on the ballot in April, both of these levies failed before the voters. In February, Don Switcher Jr. was sworn in as a board member, taking the place of George Beamon who had resigned after 10 year of service as a board member. In April, Rich Graf was sworn in as a board member, taking the place of Ed Rathert who had retired after 12 years of service as a board member. In June, a motion was passed to place a $0.15 general fund tax increase and $0.03 communication tax increase on the ballot in August, these levies would both be approved by the voters. In December, Rick Friedmann was appointed volunteer Fire Chief and Ken Prichard was appointed volunteer Deputy Chief.