History of Fire Department
From the bucket brigades of our pioneer ancestors to the high tech fire equipment and ambulances we have today, the history of the Farmington Volunteer Fire Department is unfolding to be a interesting, exciting, and sad journey of events through time in Farmington.
In the beginning neighbors helping neighbors with fires and accidents was a common event. Most early fires were caused by hay, chimneys, and passing trains. Many times water was not readily available to combat the fires that destroyed their property and took several lives in this small community. The citizens were forced to watch the flames devourer the few priceless possessions they needed to survive.
Early in 1906, Farmington boosts about their newly installed water system with an abundant supply of soft, pure water, which rises in the snow capped mountains to the east and precipitates down the steep, rugged box canyon settling in the town’s water tanks. From the water tanks the water flowed through the wooden pipes into the town with high pressure.
After several more devastating fires and the death of a small child, the city father’s purchased 400 feet of fire hose at a cost of $0.70 per foot to carry this wonderful water to any fires that may occur in town.
By March of 1907, the city father’s realized that their efforts in keeping the town safe was not enough and sent out an invitation to Ex-Chief Bywaters of the Salt Lake City Fire Department to come to Farmington and instruct the city council on organizing a fire department. Chief Bywaters advise the council that the first things that needed to be completed was to have an ordinance passed creating a fire department, and authorizing the same. This was completed and on May 13, 1907 Mayor James H. Robinson appointed L.H. Oviatt as Farmington’s first Fire Chief. The following business owners and prominent men were also appointed as members, Fred Abbott, Otto Lindecke, Nephi Palmer, Walter Rampton, C.L. Robinson, W. W. Rose, Horace VanFleet, and J.D. Wood.
The list of these brave volunteer firemen keep growing everyday. These men were the giving service to the Farmington community through the large fires, that everyone remembers like the 1953 Lagoon fire, the Smoot Farm fire and the many disastrous mountain fires. There through the floods, east winds and rescues. These men are always there day and night to lend a helping hand, sometimes at great personnel risk to make Farmington a better place to live.
About 1950, four young men working as the clean-up crew at Lagoon decided to honor these heroes with some fun. Finding the old Lagoon water truck still ran, they found some of the old wool swimming suits, and borrowed the old fire hats. Fake mustaches and all, they were off to the Farmington July parade. These young men consisted of Lowell Hess, driving; Jerry Dobson, passenger; Aaron Richards, in the middle, and Robert Rose at the back.
This year after 107 years the search for information articles and pictures is being compiled to complete the history of Farmington Volunteer Fire Department. Everyone with information is encouraged to contact our historian so their information can be included in this amazing history.