VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
HARRY TURNER, FIRE CHIEF
The mission of the Chowchilla Volunteer Fire Department is to
protect the people and property of Chowchilla from fire danger,
hazards, and hazardous conditions. Local volunteers donate their
time to educate the citizens on the importance of fire safety.
Our department takes a proactive approach in teaching fire
prevention in order to help reduce the amount of reactive fire
call volume. We visit local elementary schools and pre-schools
on an annual basis to provide fire safety training to all
The department has 18 active volunteer members
with years of service ranging from one year to over 30 years.
Currently, our department has an ISO rating of 6. Regular
training meetings are held three times monthly and special
training sessions are scheduled throughout the year.
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Interested in becoming a
accepted when openings are available. If you are interested in
volunteering and would like information contact the Chowchilla
call (559) 665-8626.
FIRE INCIDENTs STATISTICS
HERE for statistical incidents data for the past
The Chowchilla Volunteer Fire Department is funded primarily
through City general fund revenues. The department also relies
on various grant funding sources and the generosity of local
individuals and civic service clubs that donate to further the
progress of the department.
Through funding from both the
Assistance to Firefighters Grant and the Homeland Security Grant
through the State's Office of Emergency Services, the Chowchilla
Fire Department has been able to provide new turnout gear,
portable radios, breathing apparatus and wild land gear for the
Our department recently received
notification of being awarded a Fire Prevention Grant from FEMA
in the amount of $62,000. This grant application was written for
the purchase of a fire prevention safety training trailer. The
awarded grant pays 95% of the cost with Fire Impact fees
covering the remaining 5%.
FIRE DEPARTMENT FACILITIES
The Chowchilla Volunteer Fire Department started out in its
original location at the rear of old City Hall and the Police
Department building at 145 Robertson Boulevard. This department
operated out of that facility sharing space with the Madera
County Fire Department until the department added more equipment
and the County Fire Station relocated to 15th Street near
With Chowchilla's growth and the
need for more space for Police, Fire, and City Hall services,
the City partnered with Madera County and built a new facility
on Trinity Avenue for Police, Sheriff, and Court services as
well as a shared City and County Fire location. All of the
occupants moved into this new facility around 1976.
the later need for the Police Department to expand further, the
City built a new Fire Station at 240 North First Street in 1998.
This allowed the Volunteer Fire Department to have their own
facility and gave the Police Department the much-needed space
for their growth.
The Chowchilla Volunteer Fire
Department moved into their new location in December 1999. The
station was designed to be easily expandable, capable of housing
all current fire equipment, and includes space that can be
converted to living quarters at such time the City requires
full-time firefighters. The station also accommodates local
ambulance crews as needed.
The department is currently
working on an expansion project at Station 1 which would add a
Public Safety storage area to house the Mobile Command Post and
a reserve fire engine. Further expansion plans in the works
would enable Madera County Fire Station 2 to be housed at this
station. The Madera County Fire Sub-Station is currently located
at the Chowchilla Police Department; this move would also allow
for expansion plans at the Police Department.
As the City
experiences rapid growth, the plan is to add full-time
firefighters to assist our volunteers and also add new
strategically placed fire stations to serve the City. The next
planned addition is a second station in the area of Robertson
Boulevard and Fig Tree Road. The addition of this station will
provide a timely emergency services response to the Greenhills
community, the Reagan Elementary School, as well as future
neighborhood developments east of SR 99 and the railroad tracks.
This placement will help reduce response times to the east side
of city due to passing trains.
The long-term goal is to
plan for a third fire station on the west end of the City as
growth in that area continues to expand. Looking even further
into the future, the Fire Department and the Police Department
are planning for a joint training facility and also a fourth
fire station farther east of the existing City limits.
With the current economy forecast, funding sources and options
are being examined before any plans can progress for future
FIRE DEPARTMENT FLEET
With the growth Chowchilla is
experiencing, the department is looking into adding a 100'
ladder truck to the fleet in the future. Funding options and
maintenance methods are currently being evaluated for this
first engine for the department is believed to be a
hand-me-down from Madera County.
|In late 1935,
Chowchilla purchased its first new fire engine which was
delivered in April 1936. It was a Van-Pelt mounted on a
1 1/2 ton 1936 Ford truck chassis. It had a 500
gallon-per-minute pump with a 200 gallon water tank and
a booster pump. This pumper is still in service today
as a reserve engine for the department and is used for
parades and special events.
|In December 2008
the volunteer firement with assistance of a grant from
Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino purchased a Squad Engine
mostly used for medical and rescue calls.
|After the City
created a paid Fire Chief position, a 1999 Ford F-150
was purchased for the Chief to use as a command vehicle.
|Purchased by the
City in 1991, the department acquired a 1992
International KME, a 1,250 gallon-per-minute pumper.
|Our latest engine,
a 2005 International Chassis with a Hi-Tech 1,500
gallon-per-minute pumper body, was purchased by the City
and partially funded from the sale of a vacant lot
generously donated by the McCombs family.
|In June 2008, FEMA
under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
(A.F.G.) provided funds to purchase the Fire Prevention
Trailer. The trailer is used at local school and public
events in educating youth of the importance of fire
PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
The Chowchilla Fire Department Volunteers take pride in their
annual Fire Prevention Program that is presented to local
pre-school and elementary school students every October. The
children learn valuable fire safety lessons and are always
encouraged to share their new knowledge with their family
The students receive Fire Prevention gifts from
the firefighters and also have a great time while learning the
importance of fire prevention and safety. It's a fun time for
the firefighters as well as the children. In 2000, Sparky the
Fire Dog was a new addition to the Fire Prevention Program and
the kids enjoy Sparky's visit every year along with their
Patches & Pumper, made their debut
at the October 2005 fire prevention assemblies. The remote
control talking Patches and his water-spraying engine Pumper
were a big hit with all the children. They were made possible by
a fire safety grant obtained by the department.
addition to holding assemblies about fire safety, our department
sends out valuable fire prevention information from the National
Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Every October, important
fire prevention fliers are sent out to all municipal utility
customers. One topic that is covered annually is the
installation and maintenance of live-saving smoke detectors. The
department received a fire prevention grant that allows us to
offer a Smoke Detector Program. Smoke detectors are available at
no cost for those residents who might not otherwise be able to
Contact the Chowchilla
Fire Department if you have a need for a smoke detector in your
Our volunteers provide standby service for the
City's annual fireworks show and the Spring Festival BBQ
lighting. The department volunteers also participate in the
Chowchilla Union High School "Every 15 Minutes" program and
special emergency drills. Every year volunteers shine up their
fire trucks for the various community events presented around
The Chowchilla Volunteer Fire Department began operating as an
organized department on November 18, 1926 under the direction of
Fire Chief Ray Strope when the first set of by-laws were
drafted. It is unknown how many years the department operated
prior to its official organization.
The newly formed
department had one fire engine believed to be a hand-me-down
from Madera County. It has been said that the standard operating
procedure at the time was to drive the fire engine to the fire
and park it. The firefighters would then run into the building
and remove as much furniture as possible before the roof would
cave in, then exit the building any way possible (door or
Ray Strope, as believed, was the first Fire
Chief of the Chowchilla Volunteer Fire Department followed by
Boyd Burch, Dee Taylor, Cecil Murrain, Paul Allen, Frank Borba,
Dean Kammerdiener, Frank Borba (2nd term), Jeeter Carr, and
current Fire Chief Harry Turner. The longest term to date for
any Fire Chief in Chowchilla was held by Cecil Murrain, who held
the position for 24 years.
Frank Borba at the dedication
of Fire Station #1 in his honor
The most years of service by any one volunteer in this
department is over 64 years, served by former Fire Chief Frank
Borba, who joined the department in 1950. Frank was an active
and vital member of the department until his passing in 2014.
Fire Station #1 is named in honor of Frank Borba for his many
years of service to the community through the Chowchilla Fire
City of Madera Fire Department
City of Merced Fire Department
Madera County Fire Department
County Fire Marshal
Madera County Office of Emergency Services
County Fire Department
San Joaquin Valley Pollution Control District - "Check Before You Burn"
Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection (Cal Fire)
Cal Fire Current Fire Information
California Fire Alliance
California Fire Planning & Mapping
California Office of
State Fire Marshal
Bureau of Land Management
Protection Association (NFPA)
Interagency Fire Center
National Park Service Fire & Aviation Management
Weather Service Fire Weather Map
States Fish & Wildlife Services - Fire Management
United States Office of
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)