The Chino Valley Fire District has a rich history in the Chino Valley, with very humble beginnings. House fires were always a serious threat because people relied on lanterns and candles to light their homes instead of electricity. There was no fire department in the area for several years, so the only way to stop a fire was by luck and a neighbor’s ability to help.
Chino Valley Fire Company No. 1
On May 25, 1895, while meeting to plan a large 4th of July celebration, a group of businessmen began talking about organizing a fire company and purchasing a hose, hand pumps, and hook-and-ladder cart. The meeting resulted in the formation of Chino Fire Company No. 1. The members were:
- B. K. Galbreath (a prominent merchant): President
- Joe Sailer: Vice President
- Emil Clause: Secretary
- W. J. Tebo: Treasurer
Local restauranteur L.F. Deyo was named foreman of Chino Fire Company No. 1, making him the first fire chief. John W. Turner, another member of the group, became chief in 1906.
Soon after the fire company formed in August 1895, it saved O. F. Seeley’s Sixth St. house from an early morning blaze that burned King’s Chop House. The event was the first significant response by the fire company.
In March 1896, the fire company ordered its first hose cart and 300 more feet of two-inch hose. Two months later, the equipment was used to save Jules Moyse’s store from a late-night fire.
Volunteers erected a cart house in June 1896 on the southeast corner of Seventh and D St. In January 1897, a bell was ordered for its fire tower. Unfortunately, the bell cracked on August 6, 1915, when it was rung repeatedly by Sidney Moyse after two individuals set seven fires that evening. Five of the fires were significant and resulted in thousands of dollars worth of property loss. The cracked bell was replaced with a siren in 1925.
In March 1899, the fire company received $24.76 from the county board of supervisors for Chino’s share of a tax on out-of-state insurance companies doing business in the state. The following month, it was announced that the fire company would purchase a 35-foot ladder, four hooks, 12 rubber hats, and red shirts. Each volunteer in the fire company paid $1 to join, 10 cents per month in dues, and had to be voted into the department.
Community founder, Richard Gird, had a few fire hydrants located in the town along with some lengths of hose. When the bell went off, the firefighters responded by pulling the hose cart to the fire. They would hook it to one of ten hydrant plugs in town. Training drills were held twice a month.