The Deer Creek Fire Protection District has a long and interesting history.
Prior to 1955, the fire department had a 1928 Seagrave fire truck and a World War I era hose cart that were used to fight fires in the village and surrounding areas.
In 1955 the Deer Creek City Fire District and the Deer Creek Rural Fire District were formed. Both departments had stations in the Village of Deer Creek, although most of the members of the rural department lived outside of town. The rural fire department’s station was on McKinley Street, and the city’s station was on First St. in the downtown area.
The Rural Fire District acquired a 1956 Ford pumper and a 1953 Chevrolet tanker that were used for fires in the rural areas. The pumper had a 500 gallon per minute pump and a 750 gallon booster tank.
The City Fire District acquired a 1956 American LaFrance pumper that was used to fight fires in the Village. This truck replaced the 1928 Seagrave that had been used until then.
In these days there was no 911 emergency telephone system. Instead, a fire phone system was used to report fires. When someone needed to report a fire they would dial the fire phone number for either the rural or city department. When the fire phone number was dialed, it would ring the telephones of twelve firefighters. All twelve phones were connected to the same line, so everyone could hear the information from the caller. Then, after gathering the required information about the fire, the fire department members would have to hang up and dial more firefighters in order to alert everyone on the department. In addition, a fire siren was activated at the station by the first firefighter to arrive.
In 1982 the City Fire Department formed a rescue squad that would respond to medical emergencies. Perry Ambulance Service from Morton, which was the ambulance provider at the time, donated equipment to help the rescue squad get started. In addition, the fire department gave the rescue squad $75, which was used to construct a compartment on the 1956 engine to hold the medical supplies. Several department members took EMT training and began responding to medical emergencies, saving several lives soon after they started.
In 1984 the City Fire Department acquired two trucks, a brand new 1984 Smeal pumper and a 1975 Chevrolet equipment van. The pumper, which has a 750 gallon per minute pump and a 1000 gallon tank, is still in use today as Engine 2. When this truck was first purchased it was known as Engine 3. The equipment van was donated to the department and was repaired and repainted before being put into service. This van carried a cascade system for filling air bottles and other tools and equipment.
In 1988 the Rural Fire Department acquired a new tanker to replace its 1953 Chevy. The replacement was a 1978 Chevrolet farm truck that was converted to a water tanker. This truck held about 1800 gallons of water and had pump and roll capability.
On August 17, 1988, the Rural and City departments merged to form the Deer Creek Fire Protection District, which is still in existence today. When they merged, they kept the 1984 pumper and equipment van from the City department, and the 1956 pumper and 1978 tanker from the rural department. The city’s 1956 pumper was sold. The City fire station was used to house the trucks, and the rural station was abandoned.
In 1995 the department purchased a 1984 ambulance to replace the aging
equipment van. This ambulance was converted for use as a rescue squad and was used until 2009 when it was replaced by the current Rescue 1.
In 2001 the department acquired a 2000 E-One pumper. This truck, which is now the department’s primary engine, has a 1250 gallon per minute pump, carries 1000 gallons of water, and has seating for five firefighters. When this truck was placed in service, the 1956 pumper was removed from service. It was sold for $1 to the Elizabethtown Fire Department in southern Illinois.
In 2002 the department built the current fire station on East First Street. The new building has more room for the trucks than the old station and has a dedicated training room, kitchen, radio room, and bathrooms.
In March of 2008 the department placed a new tanker in service to replace the aging 1978 tanker. The new tanker was purchased with funds from a federal FIRE Act grant, which only required a 5% local match. This new truck carries 3000 gallons of water and has a 500 gpm PTO pump.
In June of 2009 the department was able to purchase a 2002 Ford/EVI rescue truck with the assistance of a 20 year 0% loan from the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The new rescue unit, which was purchased from the Choconut Center Volunteer Fire Company in Binghamton, NY, replaced the 1984 ambulance that had been used as a rescue truck.
Today the Deer Creek Fire Protection District is dispatched by the Morton Police Department through the Tazewell County 911 system. The department provides fire suppression and medical first response services. Patient transport is provided by the Morton Fire Department paramedic units.
If you have historical information about the Deer Creek Fire Protection District or any pictures of past fires, department events, etc. that you would be willing to share with us please contact us.