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City of Chowchilla
Copyright 2005-2013
All Rights Reserved


Chowchilla Fire Station
240 N. First Street, Chowchilla, CA 93610
Telephone: (559) 665-8626
Fax: (559) 665-8627

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 students.

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.

Click here to check Before You Burn - Fireplace Restrictions
Provided by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollutin Control District

Interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter?
Applications are accepted when openings are available. If you are interested in volunteering and would like information contact the Chowchilla Fire Department by EMAIL or call (559) 665-8626.

Click HERE for statistical incidents data for the past years.

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 firefighters.

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%.

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 Robertson Boulevard.

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.

With 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 needs.


The first engine for the department is believed to be a hand-me-down from Madera County.

Engine 2
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.

SQUAD Engine
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.

Command Vehicle
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.

Engine 6
Purchased by the City in 1991, the department acquired a 1992 International KME, a 1,250 gallon-per-minute pumper.

Engine 7
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 safety.
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 addition.

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 members.

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 firefighter friends.

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.

In 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 obtain one. Contact the Chowchilla Fire Department if you have a need for a smoke detector in your home.

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 Chowchilla.

our history
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 window).

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 Department.


City of Madera Fire Department
City of Merced Fire Department
Madera County Fire Department
Madera County Fire Marshal
Madera County Office of Emergency Services
Merced County Fire Department
San Joaquin Valley Pollution Control District - "Check Before You Burn"

California Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection (Cal Fire)
Cal Fire Current Fire Information
California Fire Alliance
California Fire Planning & Mapping
California Office of Emergency Services
California State Fire Marshal

Bureau of Land Management
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
National Interagency Fire Center
National Park Service Fire & Aviation Management
National Weather Service Fire Weather Map
United States Fish & Wildlife Services - Fire Management
United States Forest Service
United States Office of Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)