HISTORY OF THE WOODLAND FIRE DEPARTMENT
Article by: Fire Engineer Samuel Kennedy
After many months of discussing, planning and organizing, a group of concerned citizens took it upon themselves to organize an official Fire Department for the Woodland. Even before Woodland was officially incorporated as a city the threat of conflagration plagued the thoughts of its citizens. And on September 7, 1870 they organized the Woodland Hook and Ladder Company with 30 members. For the next 5 years this Company protected the city and responded to fires. As the city grew the citizens knew they needed more protection and took it upon themselves to raise the funds through taxes to purchase a new steam engine to assist in battling blazes and to be able to put fires out. On April 14th of 1876 the new steam engine arrived and the department was complete.
Over the years as the City grew so did the department. Soon steam engines and horses gave way to motorized vehicles and pump engines. The buildings got taller and so did the ladders. People came and people went but there were always plenty of citizens willing to serve their city as firefighters, both paid and volunteer. We saw two world wars and a great depression but Woodland held strong. In the 1960’s the department grew as the city had grown so far south that a second station was built and staffed to respond and protect.
The Department remained the same until the City had grown so far east that it had moved into the area of the Springlake Fire Protection District. So, in 1984 there was a merger between the two departments and Woodland Fire Department grew again adding a third station to protect the east side of town.
Over the years the fire fighters duties began to expand on beyond just fires. They responded to vehicle fires and accidents, grass fires, hazardous material spills, industrial accidents and medical aids as the entire department became certified EMT’s.
Over the years the faces have changed, the duties have expanded and the technology improved but the mission to protect the citizens of the City of Woodland from all hazards great and small has remained the focal point of the Woodland Fire Department. The Department began recording responses in 1890 and responded to 29 calls over a three year period and now are responding to over 8,000 calls for service a year. It is amazing to see how far we have come over the last 150 years and we are excited to see what the future will bring for both the Department and the City of Woodland.