Ventura County Fire Department Historical Foundation
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VCFPD First Fire Station and Headquarters
Location - Santa Barbara Street in Santa Paula
1928 - On May 11, 1928, the Ventura County Fire Protection District (VCFPD) is established. Walter Emerick is appointed as the Fire Warden (Fire Chief). Fire headquarters is located at 845 E. Santa Barbara St. in Santa Paula. The building is still in use as the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner's Office.

1930 - On July 11, 1930, a Fire Warden in the Santa Paula headquarters was on duty for a 24-hour shift.

1931 - The VCFPD purchased its first bulldozer in November.

1933 - First aid kits were added to all VCFPD equipment.

1942 - The Fire District hired its first handcrew to fight wildfires and repair forestry telephone poles.

1946 - Division Captains had radios installed in their trucks, all using the Sheriffs Dept. frequency. Total Fire District personnel: 34.

VCFPD Ventura Avenue Fire Station 24
1948 Fire Engine
1950 - Division Captains reclassified as Battalion Chiefs.

1954 - The Battalion Chiefs devised a numbering system for the fire engines.

1960 - Fire station names were changed to coincide with the engine numbering system.

1964 - The VCFPD issued self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) masks to replace Chemox canister masks.

1966 - The firefighter work schedule was changed to a 72-hour, two platoon system.

1969 - A second radio frequency was added and a dispatch center was put into service at Fire Station 31 in Thousand Oaks.

1972 - Minimum staffing was instituted throughout the county, ensuring at least three people on duty in a station at all times. The VCFPD begins its Fire Cadet program. VCFPD apparatus color was changed from red to yellow. The Fire District's first aerial ladder truck goes into service in the city of Thousand Oaks.

VCFPD First Ladder Truck, 1972
1974 - The first diesel fire engines were put into service.

1975 - A mandatory physical fitness program is instituted.

1976 - A central dispatch center is established and headquarters is moved from Santa Paula to a location more central for the county in Camarillo. A 56-hour, three platoon work schedule is begun.

1980 - The Incident Command System is implemented by all partner agencies within Ventura County.

1983 - The 911-telephone system goes into service.

1985 - A special unit to respond to hazardous material incidents (Haz-Mat) is formed.

1986 - The VCFPD hires its first female firefighter.

1992 - VCFPD engine companies began carrying defibrillators.

2002 - VCFPD established its first paramedic program at Stations 31 and 45. Fire Boat 5 is placed into service as a joint venture between the Fire District and the Harbor Department.

2003 - The Ventura County Fire Protection District celebrates its 75th anniversary. From an organization formed in response to the fire protection needs of an agriculturally-oriented, mostly rural area, the Fire District has grown into an all-risk, first response emergency organization serving dynamic and diverse communities. The VCFPD headquarters facility in Camarillo is remodeled and enlarged from 6,492 sq. ft. to 28,492 sq. ft.

2006 - A new Support Complex housing the Wildland/Aviation division, Supply Unit and Repair Facilities opens in Oxnard. Computers are installed in all Fire District structural engines, ladder trucks and command vehicles to implement computer-aided dispatch.

2007 - Total Fire District personnel: 645 (uniform, civilian, reserve and seasonal). A new, state-of-the-art Fire Communications Center opens at headquarters in Camarillo.

Chiefs - Ventura County Fire Department

  • Walter Emerick 1928-1936
  • Lucius Orton 1936-1944
  • Cecil "Pete" Little 1944-1957
  • Bill Haggard 1957-1971
  • Stan Masson 1971-1985
  • Wesley B. Kilcrease 1985-1988
  • Rand-Scott Coggan 1988-1990
  • George E. Lund 1990-1994
  • James E. Sewell 1994-1997
  • Bob Roper 1997-Present

First Fire Stations

1928 - Santa Paula (also headquarters), located at 845 E. Santa Barbara St. in Santa Paula.

Thousand Oaks First Fire Station, 1932

1931 - Piru, located on Market St.

1930 - Ventura, a temporary station near Ventura Ave. is established in a Shell Oil facility. In 1932, the permanent station at 113 E. Vince St. (east of Ventura Ave.) outside the Ventura city limits is completed.

1931 - Port Hueneme, a "fire garage" is established at Market St. A permanent station is constructed at 304 Second St. in 1948.

1932 - Thousand Oaks, a fire engine is delivered to a station built at the Lion Farm (later known as Jungleland) that is currently the site of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. In 1942, a temporary station is established at Lake Sherwood. A permanent station is constructed in 1949, along with a new station on Erbes Rd. to replace the Jungleland station.

1935 - Camarillo, the first fire engine in Camarillo is stored in the Knob Hill Garage at 2401 Ventura Blvd. In 1941, Adolfo Camarillo donates the land and building for a permanent station on Ventura Blvd. near Fulton St.

1937 - Simi Valley, a permanent station is constructed south of Los Angeles Ave. at Fourth St. and Pacific Ave.

1938 - Oak View, a Chevrolet flatbed truck with a 300-gallon water tank and a 500 gpm pump is delivered to Oak View. A two-stall station is built on Kunkle St. in 1948.

Today - The Ventura County Fire Protection District staffs 31 full-time fire stations in six cities and rural areas throughout the county.

VNC Station 23 - Oak View

VCFD Station 42 - Moorpark

VCFD Truck 30 - Thousand Oaks

Ventura County
Fire Support Helicopter

Yesterday and Today

The 1928 Fire Season
In unincorporated Ventura County:
Fires: 37 - including six structures and 2,820 acres of vegetation.
Budget: $20,000

The 2005-2006 Fire Year
Responses: 29,711 - including 2,807 fires, 19,011 emergency medical service, 3,094 rescues.
Budget: $105.5 million.

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