|Charter Members of Spanish
Fork Fire Department, 1910.
History of the Spanish Fork Fire Department
by Ezra Warner as found in History of Spanish Fork
The Spanish Fork volunteer Fire Department was organized May 15th, 1908 with a company of twenty men, four from each ward and four at large. The following officers were elected: Charles W. Booth, Chief, Clayton Beck, First Assistant Chief, George Ludlow, Second Assistant Chief, David R. Boyack, Secretary-Treasure.
The department began at once training on their work and were soon equipped with a hose cart and several hundred feet of hose, which they soon learned to manipulate so well that their influence was felt for good in the reduction of fire losses.
Charter Members of Spanish Fork Fire Department, 1910.
Their work at the fireman's tournaments soon gave them the reputation of being one of the most efficient departments in the state, holding the state championship in a number of events for several years.
The city built a drying tower and cart house for the department at the city square.
On March 10th, 1920 the City Council contracted for the purchase of an American La France triple combination fire engine at a cost of $9,250. The engine arrived on June 10th, 1920 and on June 16th it was tried out by the department. It was found that the engine could pump two streams of water from the Mill Race and throw them higher than the high school building.
It was soon given the test in actual service, for on the night of July 26th, 1920, the City Bakery was burned and the efficient work of the fire department with their new engine undoubtedly saved a great deal of adjoining property. On many subsequent occasions the engine has saved its value in fighting conflagrations.
From History of Spanish Fork by Ezra Warner 1930
History of the Spanish Fork Fire Department
by Marvin Banks
Who knows what was going through the young mans head when Charles "C. W." Booth started to think and talk about a fire department. Well it finally happened May 15th 1908, C. W. was instrumental in putting together a group of men who would be known as the Spanish Fork Volunteer Fire Department. There were four L. D. S. wards at the time in Spanish Fork, and from each of those wards were either chosen or accepted four individuals to become part of the newly formed department and an additional four individuals at large were chosen to make a company of twenty members. C. W. Booth was chosen as the Chief of the department, Clayton Beck was elected 1st Assistant Chief, George Ludlow was elected 2nd Assistant Chief and David R. Boyack was to be Secretary/Treasure. This must have been the start of a love affair which would bond the men together in a common cause of giving aid to the community in time of need.
The Spanish Fork Firemen were also very instrumental in getting the Utah State Firemen's Association started which was also founded in 1908. The states bylaws were fashioned from those of the Spanish Fork department.
The department began at once training and was soon equipped with several hundred feet of hose and a hose cart, which is on display at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum in Spanish Fork. A 1912 news paper article read: Chief Booth: Well boys, we now have our suits, our hose cart, our hose and our building and I think the wisest plan now is to take out some fire insurance, for if our fire house should take fire we would never be able to save a thing. Soon, the influence of the men, their training and equipment was felt around the community in fire fighting and the reduction of loss due to fire. I assume there were some who wondered what they had gotten into, especially at their first "big blaze". Much work was put into participation in the early days of the State Association many activities were undertaken by the men to display their talents. Cart races were held, hose coupling competition was held, ladder climbs were held, 100 yard dashes were held as was various other activities. The dedication and talents of the firemen and their participation in the various tournaments soon gave the Spanish Fork Firemen the reputation of being one of the most efficient departments in the state. We like to think the same today. C. W. Booth was elected President of the Utah State Firemen's Association for 1915. In those days it was common place for firemen from the other cities and towns to stay with firemen and their families while attending the conventions. Today however the Association holds its meetings in cities where an abundance of hotels and guest accommodations are available and the Association is much more just a time to visit, check out new items displayed by various vendors, drool over the new trucks on display and for some to talk over "old times" and for others to prepare for the future and to just have a "fun time".
On March 10th, 1920 the City Council contracted for the purchase of the city's first "motorized" truck, an American LaFrance, triple combination, fire engine at the cost of $9,250.00. The engine arrived June 10th, 1920 and on June 16th it was tried out by the department. It was found that the engine could pump two streams of water from the Mill Race, a large irrigation canal and throw them higher than the high school building. On the night of July 26th, 1920 fire broke out at the city bakery. Undoubtedly the hard work of the men and their new truck saved a great deal of the surrounding properties which otherwise may have been lost.
Possibly the costliest fire of the time was that of the Utah Idaho sugar factory fire on Christmas day, 1925, at 7:00 a.m., when somewhere between $500,000.00 and $850,000.00 damages were sustained. Departments from Provo, Springville and Payson were called upon for assistance to the Spanish Fork Firemen. 1927 seen the use of the city's first electrical fire siren, which was said to be a shrill whistle of a distinctive sound and a more discernable improvement over the old system of a rapid bell ringing.
The firemen were always participating in community activities. The firemen were also well known around the city and county for their annual ""Barn Dances" which took place for over 60 years.
|Old Fire Station, 400 N. Main, 1934.|
1934 would see a new fire station on the corner of 400 North Main. Constructed as a P.W.A. project and costing for labor and material approximately $20,000.00. The new station was a handsome two-story and basement building of wire pressed brick, dark maroon in color. It was commenced in early march and was completed in late November. The work was done by local men, approximately 250 being employed at different times. William Unk had the supervision of the construction work since the basement was completed and he was loud in his praise for the mechanics, plumbers and electricians who have helped on the building.
The full basement, 34 x 60 feet would house the offices and equipment of the city waterworks and electrical departments. The first main floor would house the equipment and trucks of the fire department and had a hose drying tower. The upper story was for the firemen's meetings and for social purposes, with an electrically equipped kitchen with cabinets and a hardwood maple floor laid for dancing.
1937 would see the purchase of the city's second motorized truck, also an American LaFrance, 500 gpm pumper with a purchase price of approximately $7,500.00. This truck, still in good working condition was recently refurbished and is on display in the front of the new fire station, across the street from the old station site, 400 North Main Street.
1945 brought tragedy to the department when two firemen responding to the alarm were involved in an automobile accident at the intersection of 100 west and 300 north. Fireman Ross Forsythe Beck died from his injuries, broken ribs and a punctured lung sustained in the collision which ended in his vehicle striking a tree after the initial collision.
1947 brought on another new fire truck to the department. It was manufactured by the Central Company of St. Louis, Missouri on a Ford truck. It was also another year of grief for the members of the department with the passing of their founder, Charles "C. W." Booth. Mr. Booth had served as Chief of the department for 22 years and held an office with the State Association for some 20 years as well, gaining the notoriety and respect of many departments and firemen throughout the state. During the funeral services as if destined by fate, a fire alarm sounded and several of the firemen left the chapel and made a run, their first without Chief Charles W. Booth.
By 1949 the annual barn dance has grown to such an event they decided to hold two dances at the same time, one in the armory building, featuring a popular band, another across the street in the fire hall, featuring old time music.
1950 was the year the department installed a second siren to supplement the original one as about half the firemen were often unable to hear the first sire due to the predictable canyon winds that Spanish Fork is well known for. 1950 was the year a fire at the airport consumed nine airplanes and ten auxiliary engines with a value of well over $100,000.00.
1952 saw the arrival of yet another pumper for the city. Again American LaFrance was given the bid for the new 1,000 gallon per minute truck at approximately $22,000.00. The truck has since been re-powered and had its pump rebuilt and a new paint job and this truck is still in operation today and can pump with the same vigor which it had when it was new.
|Smith Auto Fire, 300 N. Main St, 1959.|
One of Spanish Fork's most spectacular and costly fires to date took place the afternoon of January 8th 1959, that being the Smith Auto building located at 300 North Main Street. Early estimates put the total loss damages at $250,000.00. Flames from a cutting torch ignited something in the paint shop and there was no stopping the resulting fire which consumed a couple of new cars, a couple of used vehicles and a couple of collector vehicles, or at least they would be collector automobiles today, i.e., model A’s and or T’s.
The inevitable happened in 1961 when a house fire claimed the lives of a mother and her child. This is the type of situation that no fireman wants to find himself up against, unfortunately it would happen time and time again. The explosives manufacturing plant at the mouth of the canyon would also prove this out on several future occasions.
1983 brings another American LaFrance pumper, capable of pumping 1,750 gallons per minute to the city. 1990 brings another new pumper to the city, only this time Pierce gets the contract for a 1,500 gallon per minute pumper but by now these trucks are an astounding $250,000.00.
1994 brought another change to the way the department would function. Furnished with a small truck equipped with much necessary equipment our firefighters would assist the ambulance association on calls at industrial accidents and motor vehicle accidents, which is a seemingly never-ending situation, with the increased population and traffic in the area and especially in Spanish Fork canyon.
Summer, 1996 was a nice time for the firemen to move into their new and well overdue Public Safety Building, the old station built in 1934 was razed after the new station was occupied.
1997 was the year of the arrival of the city's first ladder truck which has a heavy-duty ladder capable of reaching 75 feet and pumping 1,500 gallons per minute. The price, double that of the last pumpers, was $500,000.00. The truck rolled into town on mother's day which was quite fitting because the mayor was Spanish Forks first woman Mayor, that being Marie Huff.
1998 saw the department's first female firefighter, Laurie Jarvis Purkey, a sister to two other current firemen and the daughter of a past fireman. This brings us to today, where we are on the threshold of the new millennium, your guess is as good as mine as to what the future holds for the Spanish Fork Fire Department.
It’s been my pleasure to share this overview and history of the Spanish Fork Fire Department with you and I hope it was as interesting to you folks as it has been for me to belong to our department for the past twenty eight years.
Researched and compiled by Marvin J. Banks October 1999
History of the Spanish Fork Volunteer Fire Department, the second fifty years:
Compiled by Marvin J. Banks
The second fifty (50) years at a glance.
1959, January 8th brought one of the most spectacular fires in the history of Spanish Fork City. Smith Auto Company, the local Ford dealership caught fire from a welding torch and flammable liquids in a paint room at the body shop. Several fire extinguishers were used but that wasn't enough. As the fire spread several explosions from additional distillates, the age and construction of the building resulted in a near total loss to the business. Two employees (Bernell Argyle and John Mitchell) received second degree burns and was transported to the Hughes Memorial Hospital a few blocks away. Manager Glen Bowen estimated the loss upwards of $250,000.00. The fire consumed several vehicles, two new 1959 Fords,. some used vehicles in the garage for repairs and a couple of classics. The fire brought spectators from miles around investigating the high rise of thick black smoke. Notice was sent to local schools directing the children to stay away from the down town fire. You decide if that did any good. The long standing tradition of a Barn Dance continued with the 37th annual. The Barn Dance was such a success that the Fire Department utilized two (2) halls for the festivities. One was in the upstairs of the fire hall and also across the street in the Veterans Memorial building. Patrons could pick which type of music and the band they liked best or they could cross the street and enjoy a little different mood. Tickets were one dollar a couple, door prizes were abundant. The towns folks looked foreword to and really enjoyed the annual dance(s) and supported their firemen. A great time was had by all those who participated. Owen Harrison was the Chief
1960 was another year of tragedy in Spanish Fork when a two story house fire on the corner of 100 East and 200 North took the lives of two (2). A twenty-eight (28) year old mother and her 4 year old son succumbed to smoke inhalation. It was determined that possibly a cigarette was left burning in a couch downstairs. The family was awakened to the problem by their son. In an attempt to determine the problem, opening the bedroom door allowed the thick black smoke from the fire downstairs to fill the upstairs of the home. The father jumped onto a roof of a shed, and collapsed on the front sidewalk where firefighters found him. Fire fighters gained access through an upstairs window to the bedroom. Dr. L.H. Foote who lived a couple of houses away entered the bedroom and made the determination that the woman was dead. The son was taken to Primary Children's hospital where he died several hours later. Spanish Fork received dial telephone service.Retired firefighter James Williams 58, Albert Smith, 68 passed away Leo Anderson was Chief
1961 Roy Lundell became a firefighter. Leo Anderson was Chief.
1962 Paul Johnson, Don Patton became firefighters. Roach Chapple was Chief
1963 was another year of death in Spanish Fork. American Cyanimid Company, explosives manufacturing in the mouth of Spanish Fork canyon proved fatal to a 54 year old man with eighteen (18) years of service when the Nitroglycerine building he was working in exploded. The force of the explosion flattened two other buildings and did damage to others near by and damaged a railcar tramway. Fifty (50) employees were on the job at the time. The explosion left a 100 foot diameter crater, and approximately ten (10) acres of brush and grass fire. Departments from Springville and Mapleton assisted Spanish Fork in their efforts to control the fires. Roach Chapple was Chief.
1964, two Spanish Fork men were arrested on charges of arson. Their crime spree left eight (8) head of cattle dead, vandalism to several farmers property and fire. Heber Snow became a firefighter. The 42nd annual Barn Dance was held, William "Billy O" Olson was chief
1965 produced another somewhat spectacular fire. Roger's Tire, 70 West Center Street was engulfed by fire possibly from complications with a propane heater. William "Billy O"Olson was Chief.
1966, Spanish Fork took acceptance of a new Fire Truck. It was manufactured by the Boardman company of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was a G.M.C, 1000 gallon per minute three stage pumper, carrying 500 gallons of water. The cost was $27,580.85, which did not include the additional equipment needed to ready the truck for fire fighting service. The new freeway from Spanish Fork and Provo was opened. Rowe Harrison was Chief.
1967 would host he 54th annual Barn Dance. It was no longer held in two (2) locations. The department consisted of twenty-eight (28) volunteer members. Jay Drage, Lynn Jones, Tomas Woodhouse became firefighters. Rowe Harrison was Chief.
1968 Two major fires occurred in the area. One was Good's Auto parts where it is believed that thieves broke into the building. There was an estimated $20,000.00 in damage. The second fire destroyed the former Building Materials, Inc., at 59West 300 North. Alan Jarvis became a firefighter. Gordon Cloward was Chief.
1969 Duane Knotts, Lloyd Miller became firefighters. Gordon Cloward was Chief.
1970 Robert Larsen became a firefighter. Paul Dart was Chief.
1971 Ed Beck, Marvin Banks, David Lant, James Slaymaker became firefighters. Firefighter Willard "Bill" Crump retired with 38 years of service. Paul Dart was Chief.
1972 Firefighter Dean Smith, 49 passed away while an active firefighter. Elmer Johnson was Chief.
1973 Shirl Olson became a firefighter. Elmer Johnson was Chief.
1974 Glen Baadsguaard, Craig Cloward, L.D. Harrison, Robert Harrison, James Horrocks, Brent Jarvis became firefighters. Retired firefighter Ray Jex, 71 passed away. Roy Lundell was Chief.
1975 Michael Argyle, Steven Nelson, Kenneth Pruitt became firefighters. Roy Lundell was Chief.
1976, February, again a Main Street fire. Known as the Tally Ho fire which caused an estimated $500,000.00 in damages.. Tally Ho was a clothing store with Montgomery Ward and Forsey's Variety store on the south and Utah State Bookmobile on the north sides of Tally Ho business. Smoke and water damage was all that was sustained by the neighboring businesses however the Montgomery Ward and Tally Ho were basically a total loss. Due to the potential of further spread, units from Springville, Payson and Provo were there to assist Spanish Fork. Retired firefighter William Bowen, 70 passed away. Paul Johnson was Chief
1977 Paul Johnson was Chief.
1978 Paul Rose became a firefighter. Retired firefighter Ed Hughes, 76 passed away.Lynn Jones was Chief.
1979 The fire department took possession of a new 1,500 gallon, Ford tanker to replace an old government G.M.C., 1,000 gallon, converted fuel delivery truck from the early 1950's.. Jerry Blackett, Ross Beck, David Harrison, Dale Koyle became firefighters. Retired firefighter Elmer Shelton, 65 passed away. Lynn Jones was Chief
1980 The new Ford, tanker was put into use by the Fire Department. It helped in Spanish Fork moving from a six to a five in the fire rating for the city by the Underwriters, which helps with determining the cost of homeowners fire insurance. That is a very good classification for a volunteer department to have, as that was the same rating that was held by Provo City. The annual Barn Dance continues with its 59th year and tickets were still a dollar. Retired firefighter Mark F. Boyack, 77 passed away. Heber D. (HD) Snow was Chief
1981 Utah valley received 911 service. Howard Johnson, Bret Mitchell became firefighters. Heber D. (HD) Snow was Chief.
1982 Errol Smith, Don Andrews became firefighters. Retired firefighter Willis Wood, 79 passed away. Lloyd Miller was Chief.
1983 The department was in the Thistle area on a semi-trailer fire. Motorists stopped to report a bump in the highway just South of the fire. Further investigation found the highway heaving from pressures of a mountain slide. The Thistle slide was well underway and would create numerous problems for some time to come to include the closure of Highway-6 and 89. Would be a good year for the department as the men put together a new brush truck. A Ford, cab and chassis with a utility box for plenty of storage was used and the members would assemble at Alan's Welding to assist in putting the tank, pump and plumbing, hose reels etc together to make it an invaluable pierce of fire fighting equipment for the department for years to come. A new pumper was also purchased. It was an American La France, 1750 gallons per minute, with onboard foam. The truck was brought home from the manufacturing plant in Elmyra, New York by Chief Lloyd Miller and his assistants and their wives. The cost of the truck was $130,100.00. Clyde Johnson, Stanley Snyder became firefighters. Retired firefighter William "Billy-O" Olson, 74 passed away. Lloyd Miller was Chief.
1984 Alan Jarvis was Chief.
1985 Bryan Jex became a firefighter. Firefighter Alan Jarvis, 56 passed away while an active firefighter. Jay Drage was Chief.
1986 Ensign Bickford purchased the explosives manufacturing facilities at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. Richard Brierley, Monte Larsen became firefighters. Jay Drage was Chief. .
1987 James Shirl Olson started out as Chief and later submitted his resignation. Lloyd Miller was appointed permanent Chief.
1988 was the year for an unexpected open house at the fire station. A two car collision at the400 North and Main Street intersection sent one car across the street and into the support structure between to overhead doors of the fire station. It was a very good thing that there was a support pillar installed years earlier or the accident could have been worse as the roof may have collapsed. Steven Bills, Joe Jarvis, Larry Phillips, Gary Smith became firefighters. James Shirl Olson had been Chief, Lloyd Miller was Chief.
1989 It was another good year for the department, as a new 1990, fire pumper was purchased. This time it was a Peirce, 1,500 gallons per minute pump with 750 gallons of onboard water. The cost of this truck (less equipment) was $201,894.00. As you can see, "they ain't gettin any cheaper." Fire departments from around the county and the forest service aided in a forest fire known as the Maple Mountain fire. Mapleton Fire Department was the "headquarters department" and became a "bee hive" of activities. J. Merrill Hallam was Mayor. With the city having a permanent chief, it was discussed and implemented that the firefighters have an association which would function separately from the Spanish Fork City Fire Department. where the city would not effect the activities and allow members would be able to control the association and its activities. Lloyd miller was Chief. Robert Harrison was elected the first President of the Association. Robert Harrison was elected President of Firefighters Association for the year 1990.
1990 A new uniform patch was designed by Marvin Banks and was issued to the department.. Allen Moore became a firefighter. Retired firefighters William Peery, 82 and Elmer Johnson ,71passed away. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Paul Rose was elected President of the Firefighters Association for the year 1991.
1991 Residents of a home on 200 North were shocked to have a vehicle careen into the living room window of their split level home. The vehicle ended up being half in and half rout of the window. Residents had just left that area of the home when the accident occurred. The driver was taken into custody on suspicion of driving while under the influence Firefighter Roy Lundell retired with 30 years of active duty. John Smiley became a firefighter. Retired firefighter Gilbert Dedrickson, 91 passed away. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Clyde Johnson was elected as President of the Firefighters Association for 1992.
1992 was a year of several arson, house fires and one very suspicious house explosion in the same neighborhood. Investigators found a disconnected natural gas line in the basement area of the home located on the corner of 400 East and 100 South. No one was home at the time of the explosion and there were no injuries, however the home was a total loss. An unusual collision between two west bound trains occurred near Sheep Creek turnoff in Spanish Fork canyon. The engine of the second train clipped a coal car of the first train. Investigators questioned if a switch had malfunctioned. The switch also determines the trains speed. Mark Anderson, Michael Argyle (2nd time) became firefighters. Firefighter Jay Drage retired with twenty -five years of service. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Michael Argyle was elected as President of the Firefighters Association for 1993.
1993 The firefighters association erected a memorial to Spanish Fork firefighters near the entrance to the city cemetery, at a total cost of approximately $2,000.00. Some of the work was donated by Kenneth May, a local mason. James Chappel, Randall Wolf became firefighters. Retired firefighter Paul Johnson, 59 passed away. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Brent Jarvis was elected as President of the Firefighters Association for 1994.
1994 A Carbon County ambulance was involved in an accident in which there was a fatality which at part was due to the treacherous conditions in Spanish Fork Canyon during snowfall conditions. Spanish Fork Canyon has it's "death strip' classification for one of the worst road conditions in the nation. Most (75%) of which is traceable back to driver error and just plain bad luck. Spanish Fork experienced another Main Street fire, which was the Orr electric building, located on the east side of Main Street between 200 and 300 North. The building was completely destroyed by fire. One of Spanish Fork's older buildings, it once housed a creamery, Rocket A-1 Service Station and a Kaiser, Fraiser Auto dealership, Gardner Furniture then Orr Electric. . Orr electric had been in business there since approximately 1962, some ten (10) years after their beginning in 1952. The front of the building was originally erected in 1897 and the back half was added during World War II. A three-man crew was decommissioning a three-story, wooden, nitration, building which had not been used for approximately forty years at the Trojan (Ensign Bickford) plant, when a six foot diameter by five foot high storage tank slipped from the backhoe which was lifting it for removal. Investigators determined that when the tank slipped, one of the legs of the tank slid across the explosives impregnated flooring causing two explosions and a fire. The force of the explosions knocked the backhoe operator off the tractor, blew the supervisor out of a window and the took the live of a 38 year old employee from Santaquin, the father of five. The two other employees were taken to the hospital with minor injuries and later released. Due to the nature of the situation, after the unburned victim was removed from the building, firefighters and plant supervisors vacated the immediate area due to further safety concerns. Later that evening, the smoldering fire crept along and consumed a second unused building. Explosives have been manufactured by several different owners in the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon since 1940. Ensign Bickford purchased the plant in 1986. Three other older buildings have been decommissioned and burned (federal protocol) since 1991. A second fire at the explosives plant appeared to have gotten started outside between offices and lab buildings. The area of origin was under some power lines. Investigators took a very close look for any evidence as to the cause. Knowledgeable people looked at the electrical system for arcing, the area for traces of a cigarette or a match, broken glass and about anything else imaginable and they were unable to find the cause. Many were worried about explosions due to the nature of the manufacturing facility. Firefighters who were making good progress at controlling the blaze were ordered back (Explosives fire protocol). The fire then went wild in the dry brush and undergrowth. However after the fire raged throughout the plant, it proved that their fire protection measures worked, as there wasn't even one report of any type of explosion. Approximately 2,500 acres of forest was consumed by the fire. The department had been getting more and more involved with automobile accidents. The department was due to replace the old brush truck, so accommodations were made and the new, Utah LaGrange, brush truck was used put into service as a first response rescue truck and brush truck. The "jaws of life" with a portable hydraulic pump unit was placed on the new truck along with all sorts of supplies and equipment to aid in the extrication of victims. Firefighters David Lant, retired with twenty-two years of active duty and James Slaymaker retired with twenty-three years of service. Robert Davies, Brad Farrer, Matt Gledhill, Richard Hales, Lee Mecham became firefighters. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Dale Koyle was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 1995.
1995 There has been a lot of water through the hoses since the department had a group picture taken. This proved to be the year for the firefighters to assemble for a group picture. Thirty-two of thirty-three members were present for the occasion. Work began on the building of the new fire station across the street where the Utah National Guard Armory was torn down to make way for the new construction. After the new building was completed, the firefighters and all the trucks and equipment made their way across the street to their new home. Dedication ceremonies were held complete with a high school marching band and open house for the citizens of Spanish Fork and surrounding areas. Remarks were offered by Fire Chief Lloyd Miller and Mayor Marie Huff. The old fire hall across the street was destined for demolition . It seemed to bring the whole town out for the affair. Miles of pictures were taken, bricks were taken home as treasures from a time gone by, it was quite a site for the onlookers. The old station was originally built in 1934 at a cost between $12,000.00 and $20,000.00. It had a hose drying tower so the fire hose could be cleaned and hung to dry. The new building also would house the offices of the city's waterworks and electrical departments. The assembly hall was utilized for many Barn Dance functions, meetings of the department and other civic uses. It was a sad event to see the walls come tumbling down and putting an end to a grand old building. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Ross Beck was elected President of the Firefighters Association for the year 1996.
1996 Utah had its Centennial - - 100 Years since statehood. An inspection of Spanish Fork City brought a recommendation from the ISO that the City should have a ladder truck in its arsenal of equipment. This was already in the making as specifications were issued and one was on order. Vern Jackson became a firefighter. Firefighter Craig Cloward, 43 lost his battle with cancer and passed away. Lloyd Miller was Chief. L.D. Harrison was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 1997.
1997 A friend to Spanish Fork firefighters was that of Floyd Lundell 66, Utah County Fire Marshall, passed away. Floyd worked side by side with our firefighters on countless situations fighting fire. Floyd had twenty years with Utah County. Spanish Fork City also had its first Lady Mayor, Marie Huff (1990-1997). Firefighters had gone to Appleton, Wisconsin to bring home a new 75 foot, heavy-duty, ladder truck. Unplanned although as luck would have it, the new ladder truck arrived in Spanish Fork at city hall on Mothers day 1997. The cost was $426,042.00. Again, this did not to include all the equipment to stock it for firefighting, which would require an additional $30,000.00 to $45,000.00. A fire broke out at 150 East and 1600 North which displaced several businesses: The building was a total loss with early estimates to be over $250.000.00. One of several accidents to plague Spanish Fork was when a track-hoe at the Fairway Meadows, subdivision construction site tipped over. Early on it was suspected that the soils under the track-how were not sufficiently compacted. When the track-hoe toppled the cab compartment landed on the basement footings crushing the cab and killing its operator. Kevin Barker, Bruce Long became firefighters. Heber D. Snow retired with 33 years of service. Retired firefighter Clifford "Chick" DeGraw, 90 passed away. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Howard Johnson was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 1998.
1998 A bad way to start the year out was with another fatality on Highway 6. Another change to the Spanish Fork Volunteer Fire Department was the hiring of the first female firefighter on the department. Arson was again suspect in the fire of a vacuum and sewing machine shop located between 100 and 200 North Main Street on the east side of the street. Spanish Fork City held its first annual light parade. The firefighters decorated trucks and joined in the fun. John Cooper, Matt Johnson, Wells Johnson, Jared Johnson, Laurie Purkey became firefighters. Retired firefighters Leroy "L.D." Harrison, 51 and Gordon Cloward, 75 passed away. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Marvin Banks was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 1999.
1999 brought about more tragedy to Spanish Fork when a little five (5) year old boy went missing. All available resources were summoned to try to locate the little boy. After much searching of the area and the Mill Race canal close to his home. it was later discovered that the little fellow had somehow gotten behind the washer and dryer in the family home and was electrocuted. A fuel tanker caring several thousand gallons of gasoline caught fire due to overheated brakes, northbound along I-15 in the Leland area. Fearing the worst, departments from Payson and Salem were dispatched to assist Spanish Fork with the fire. A great job was accomplished and no explosion of major fire resulted at the scene. Lloyd Miller retired from the department and as Chief. Clyde Johnson was appointed Chief. Kenneth Pruitt was elected President of the Firefighters Association for the year 2000.
2000 Doomsday and predictions of mass computers failure etc. plagued the airways because of the new millennium. People rushed out to stock their pantries, store water, and purchase generators for fear the computers could not realize the year 2000. Hysteria was everywhere, but as you can see, we are still here and functioning. It had been five years since the last group picture was taken. Once again a group picture was taken. The old 1978, 1,500 gallon Ford tanker was rotated out of service and a new replacement tanker was put into service. This one, an American La France, Eagle would carry six (6) firefighters and 2,000 gallons of water. The cost of this truck was $280,407.00 and an additional $30,385.52 was spent on equipment to make it ready for fire service. Tankers are very valuable pieces of equipment to a department, as there are many calls where water is not readily available. The tanker holds about three to four times the amount of water that a typical fire pumper carries. With a portable dump tank it is possible to dump its load of water, allowing a pumper to utilize the water from the tank while the tanker goes to refill and shuttle more water back to the tank for continued pump operations.. Additional tankers can keep up with filling the portable tank by getting into a systematic and constant relay of water supply. Alan Clark, Hefa Tuita, Rodney Warren became firefighters. Retired firefighter Rowe Harrison, 86 passed away. James Chappel was elected President of the Firefighters Association for the year 2001.
2001The Spanish Fork Council made the decision to donate our surplus 1966 Boardman 1,000 GPM, pumper to the community of Rocky Ridge, a community located south of Santaquin at the north end of Juab County. September 11th was when America came under a terrorist attack which involved two commercial airlines passenger jets that flew into the twin Trade Towers in New York City. Emergency personnel was saddled with a massive unimaginable task. When the towers collapsed there were many firefighters and emergency personnel inside attempting to save lives when they gave theirs.. A third jet was believed to be headed towards the White House when it is believed the passengers took the situation into their own hands and caused the airliner to crash in a field in Pennsylvania, short of its intended target. They were true heroes on that flight. Our hearts and prayers went out to all of the innocent victims and their families and our fellow firefighters of the Fire Department. Some 3,000 people were killed in the atrocities. Ryan Baum, Sterling Leifson became firefighters. Lloyd Miller was Chief. Mark Anderson was elected President of the Firefighters Association for the year 2002.
2002 Joseph Hickman, Eric Nilson, Jeff Perry, Codey Phillips became firefighters. Larry Phillips was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 2003.
2003 Matt Gledhill was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 2004.
2004 A pleasant surprise to the department was when firefighter Robert Davies provided a CD with an overview of the current history of the department for everyone to enjoy. Copies were made available for $5.00 to anyone who wanted a copy. Great job Robert, thanks. The department answered approximately 340 calls. Lee Mecham was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 2005.
2005 The fire department had its first "annual" Duck Race fund raiser in coordination with the City's Fiesta Days (24th of July) Celebrations. A truck caring 35,500 pounds of TNT explosives, jack knifed , overturned, skidded, causing sparks igniting spilled fuel and causing a fire and eventually an explosion in Spanish Fork canyon. Hot debris from the explosion was scattered for several hundred feet and caused several mountain side fires. The driver and his passenger (were they helped?) managed to get out of the truck and was starting to leave the area when the trailer exploded. 35,500 lbs of explosives, several minor injuries and damage to several other vehicles traveling the canyon route, rock slides, fires, no serious injuries etc etc. crater 70 feet wide and 30 feet deep - - Two truckers and another driver helped the truckers get away from the wreckage and were approximately 300 yards away when the truck exploded. Firefighter and Chief, Clyde Johnson, a member of the Utah National Guard was deployed to support Iraq war in Saudi Arabia and resigned as Chief. Clyde Johnson retired with 22 years of service. Michael Argyle retired with 30 Years of service. James Chappel was appointed Chief. The city received a new rescue truck after several delays in production and warranty problems. Problems continued with the American LaFrance, formerly Becker, out of Casper, Wyoming. I t would continue to have problems for nearly a year before it was trustworthy enough to rely on. The department answered approximately 431 calls. Jared Chapple, Brad Horrocks, Paul Tomadkis became firefighters. Kevin Barker was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 2006.
2006 The old metal water tank of the 1990 Pierce pumper needed to be replaced and was replaced with a "poly tank." The Nebo Ward, Young Men - Young Women put on a "helping Hands" supper for firefighters and ambulance personnel to show their appreciation of service. Many attended and appreciated the meal and visited with the young men and women. Another truck mishap occurred in Spanish Fork Canyon, this time it was just below where the last explosion took place, and involved a fuel tanker caring8,300 gallons of motor fuels. The driver of the tractor, trailer unit was severely burned over 90% of his body and would eventually die from his injuries. Although US-6 is no longer number one on the Most Dangerous Highways list, it still ranks in the top ten with approximately 400 accidents and an average of ten fatalities per year. Rocky Mountain Composites, a local airplane design and manufacturing facility was again test flying its Spectrum 33, corporate jet when tragedy struck. The plane experienced problems and went off the runway leaving a trail of debris and disaster. Two test pilots lost their lives in the wreckage. The department answered approximately 380 calls. James Chappel resigned as Chief. Brent Jarvis was appointed Chief. Hefa Tuita was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 2007.
2007 The association decided to replace the monument at the entrance to the cemetery. The first try had some flaws which was rendering it to decay. This time the bill was $7,975.00. The firefighters were summoned to a large paint truck which had rolled coming off the hill and through the round-a-bout at the entrance to the Woodland Hills community. The driver, knowing brakes had failed maneuvered the truck as to avoid oncoming traffic which sent the truck through the fields where it rolled, killing the driver. The department would have to fight another house fire east on 1050 South. The family had been warming some butter on the stove and left to attend a church Christmas party when a passerby noticed the fire and called 911. Neighbors notified the family, however when they arrived the roof was already fully involved. The department acted quickly, however they were unable to save the structure. Warranty paint work was necessary on the rear portion of the American La France, 2,000 gallon tanker and was taken care of in Salt Lake City at the Freightliner facilities, paid for by American La France. Justin Cloward, Russell Jackson, Eric Solie, Bryson Williams became firefighters. The department has been averaging around 380 calls per year. Brent Jarvis was Chief. Laurie Purkey was elected President of the Firefighters Association for 2008.
2008 Campaign officials paid the city to make an advertisement utilizing the Fire Station and some of it apparatus. We felt like we were in Hollywood. Apparently they were not happy with how it went the first time, so they will be back for more. The fire Chief has been looking into getting a pickup truck to use as a support vehicle. It so happened that the electrical department was wanting a ½ ton instead of the 3/4 ton pickup in their department. There were some changes made and the fire department acquired the 3/4 truck. Spanish Fork had another house fire from a vehicle in the garage catching fire and spreading to the home. Fast action by the fire department prevented a catastrophe. The home sustained fire and water damage however it was minimal considering the raging fire in the garage earlier. Justin Burnell, Leo Quintana, Patten Sorensen became firefighters. Brent Jarvis was Chief.
As with any history, there is a possibility for mistakes, spelling errors and omissions. Much effort was put into this history and I appreciate the help of anyone furnishing information. Some information was gleaned from the History of Spanish Fork compiled and written by La Nora P. Allred, who has since passed away. If you the reader of this history would like to share any information, pictures, comments, corrections etc., please feel free to contact me. Marvin J. Banks, Firefighter, Spanish Fork Fire Department.