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On June 9, 1890, the Porterville Volunteer Fire Department was organized and Frank Jersey was appointed as the First Fire Chief. The department consisted of the Chief and 22 volunteers. The morning after the Fire Department was organized, June 10, 1890, they had their first fire at 4:00 A.M. The fire burned one whole block including a Blacksmith’s Shop, a Bakery, a Shoe Shop, a Barber Shop and a Feed Store. All were in ashes at 6:00 A.M. There were three other large building fires that year.
On June 28, 1890, 150 feet of 2 ½ inch hose and a hand drawn hose cart were delivered to the Department. This was the first firefighting equipment. The first motor apparatus delivered was a Knox Chemical Truck, purchased by the City in 1908. The Truck was equipped with two - 35 gallon soda and acid chemical water tanks.
March 2, 1893, the first engine house was erected on Main Street, north of Cleveland Ave. (where present City Hall is located).
From 1890 to 1927, 12 Fire Chiefs lead the Porterville Volunteer Fire Department. In 1927, the Porterville Volunteer Fire Department became a paid City Fire Department. Chief Ross Gardner and 2 firefighters were added to the payroll. Chief Gardner held this position for 48 years.
In 1934, the new fire station was built at 40 West Cleveland Ave. (present location of Station #1). A second story was added in 1964, which gave the Department a modern sleeping, dining, and bathing facility to take care of an increase in Fire Department personnel.
In 1992, Fire Station #2 was built at 500 North Newcomb which included a Drill Tower and training ground.
In 2009, a Training Facility building was built behind Station #2, on the training grounds, that houses two offices and two large training classrooms.
In 2016 Porterville opened the Public Safety Building, which houses both fire and police personnel. Acting as Porterville's third fire station, the new facility enables a quicker response time for fire personnel by splitting the city into three even response zones.
Since becoming a paid City Fire Department in 1927, the Porterville Fire Department has a short history of Fire Chiefs. A total of 9 Fire Chiefs. Commencing with Chief Gardner followed by:
Jess Given, Ralph Beard, Jerry Mainord, Frank Guyton, Mario G. Garcia, Glenn Irish, Kirk Swartzlander and currently Dave LaPere.