The History of Blackfoot Fire Department (BFD)

Written by Captain Dave Krumenacker (Retired)

Following a fire in the town center that destroyed several buildings, on January 10th, 1906, the Blackfoot Fire Department was established by the town council of Blackfoot. Starting with around 20 volunteers and 600 feet of hose and a hose cart the equipment was located at what is now W Bridge and NW Main streets next to the railroad.  The first fire engine purchased was a 1917 American LaFrance type 40 which was stationed at the newly constructed fire /police building on Taylor Street. At least the truck was stationed there after the floor was lowered so it would fit! This station is where the Blackfoot City building is now located on N Broadway Street, or the parking lot to be more precise.

In 1960 the BFD had a Chief, J.T. Schwarz, three full time firemen and several volunteers with the 1939 LaFrance and a 1950 LaFrance. Another LaFrance pumper came on line in 1965 with the Department moving to a new much larger station in 1968 at the corner of N Ash and W Idaho streets. Which was good since the 1965 LaFrance needed greased to get in and out of the single bay which had been the station on N Broadway. Call volume for the Department at this time was about 190 a year. In 1975 a new American LaFrance 1500 series pumper came to town and at the time was the largest pump in Idaho. Staffing remained at 9 full time firemen with a contingent of volunteers to back up the full time staff with a call volume of about 300 per year.

1976 was the year of a big change for the BFD and the citizens it served. The Department took over the Bingham County Ambulance service with two new ambulances and an additional three full time staff. The 12 full time firemen and volunteers were initially trained at the EMT level at this time. At about the same time, Chief Schwarz retired and Captain Parley Wynn took over the helm of the Department. Calls in 1976 jumped to 502 with the addition of the ambulance service. The next year, 1977, saw an additional three full time personnel added and in 1978 Bingham County was split into three separate fire districts. Blackfoot-Snake River Fire District encompasses the area of the Blackfoot and Snake River school districts. Shelley-Firth FD and SpringfieldAberdeen FD serve the rest of Bingham County. A station was built in Rockford that year and a group of about 15 volunteers started training to assist the full time personnel stationed there. Calls in 1978 jumped to 1052 and in 1979 an additional 3 full time personnel were hired to increase staffing to 18 full time staff, however these 3 were soon lost as a result of the One Percent Initiative of 1980. Calls in 1980 increased to 1163, almost 4 times as many as in 1975 before the ambulance came on board.

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