Crook County Fire and Rescue exists to protect, preserve and support the people and property within its service area by using available resources in a manner that demonstrates fiscal and functional responsibility and accountability.
Crook County Fire and Rescue (CCFR), originally chartered as the Prineville Volunteer Fire Company in 1882, is Central Oregon’s oldest fire department. First started to protect the small but growing logging community of Prineville, the all-volunteer turned combination department now protects a Fire District of 450 square miles, which is divided into three geographically distinct response areas; Prineville 1201, Powell Butte 1202, and Juniper Canyon 1203. Extending beyond the borders of the Fire District, CCFR also provides EMS response to an ambulance service area of 3,000 square miles. Its ranks consist of 51 firefighters, most of whom are either EMTs or Paramedics. CCFR supports a community of roughly 19,000 residents, with more than half living outside the city limits of Prineville. Historically a logging and agricultural town, the community has seen diversification in its industry over the years to include heavy manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and high technology. CCFR has a long tradition of supporting and protecting the community and strives to continue this into the future.
PRINEVILLE VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY
Central Oregon’s oldest city is home to Central Oregon’s oldest fire department. Crook County Fire and Rescue was originally organized as the Prineville Volunteer Fire Company on January 20, 1884. Each new fireman was charged a $1.50 initiation fee and monthly dues of $0.25. Like many small departments of the time the PVFC held occasional dances and relied upon donations from the public to supplement the annual budget.
Prineville’s first piece of firefighting equipment was purchased in 1882 for $180. It was a six-man Rumsey hand pumper. To get the pumper to Prineville, it was shipped around Cape Horn to Portland, then taken by barge up the Columbia River to The Dalles. From The Dalles, it was delivered to Prineville by a horse drawn freight wagon.
In 1885 a larger hand drawn pumper and hose cart was purchased from Betton Fire Engine Works of Wakeford, New York, at a cost of $1,310. Classified as a 40-man hand pumper, rightly so because it took 40 to 60 men to haul and operate the pumper, it was a major upgrade from the original Rumsey pumper. While pumping, men could only last about ten minutes, and while pumping at full capacity, or 120 strokes per minute, men could only last three. Firemen frequently suffered injuries such as torn fingers or broken arms when jumping in for relief when the engine was being operated.
The hose cart followed the engine to the fires and supplied the hose for the fire. Prior to the hose cart, firemen went to the fire station and carried the hose to the fire on their shoulders.
On December 18, 1901 a hook and ladder truck was purchased. This carried the ladders, pike poles, axes, buckets and torches.
Prineville’s Fire District was small and rightly so, as it was based on how far a man could run. The equipment was scattered around town. A few of the old locations are East 6th St. – 300 block, 2nd and Fairview at the old Prineville Grade School, the old fire house on Beaver between 3rd and 4th Streets, and at the firehouse on 5th St., where the present fire station is located.
The water for the pumper was channeled by wooden flumes from Ochoco Creek. The flumes ran through town and at each block there was an opening to place hand suction hoses when fighting fires.
The first self-propelled fire engine was a 1917 Model T purchased in 1926. This consisted of a chassis which carried the hose and a small ladder and no water. It is believed that this Model T truck was traded in for the 1930 Chevrolet in 1932 to Dave Jones, the Chevrolet dealer in Prineville. This truck was used originally by Bob Remington to haul cattle from Paulina to Portland via The Dalles.
Seven years later a 1939 Ford open cab fire engine was purchased. Equipment on this engine at the time of purchase consisted of one, 500 gallon per minute centrifugal pump, one booster hose, one 12’ roof ladder, one 24’ extension ladder and one 12’ pike pole. The complete price was $2,650. Hoses and nozzles were purchased separately.
The Prineville Fire Department started a First Aid Car in June of 1946. The Prineville Fire Department ambulance has grown from a First Aid Car to Advanced Life Support unit in July of 1986.
Prineville Fire Dept. E.M.S. Chiefs
• Ted Adamson-1947 to 1973
• Les Hale-1974 to 1984
• Mike Wright-1984 to 1986
• Bill Alguire-1986 to 1988
• John Boynton-1988 to 2000
• Liz Morgan-2000 to 2001
• Jim Dean-2001 to 2012
THE LEGEND OF the P.C.F.D.
Pistol Creek had its origin at the 1939 Oregon Fire Chief’s Conference in Roseburg, recalled Ted Adamson. Adamson was at his first chief’s conference. Gene Cherry, a fire equipment salesman from Prineville, was also there. The Pistol Creek idea was born when an announcer, needing a timer for one of the events, hollered over the loud speaker for: “Gene Cherry of the Pistol Creek Fire Department”. Later that day Cherry went out and bought some small fireman’s hats and printed Pistol Creek Fire Department across the front of them. The next year Cherry, whom Adamson described as a man who had a lot of fun in his life, instituted red flannel underwear as the official uniform.
THE REAL STORY OF the P.C.F.D.
• Pistol Creek Fire Dept. originated due to a chance remark at the 1939
Oregon Fire Chief convention in Roseburg.
• Bend Fire Chief Tom Carlin had made repeated attempts to page Portland’s Munnell and Sherrill fire equipment salesman Gene Cherry. Finally receiving no response Chief Carlin in a loud and clear voice summoned, “Gene Cherry, Chief of the Pistol Creek Fire Department”! Midst the crowd’s laughter, Mr. Cherry (hereafter known as Chief Cherry) came forward.
• A man of class with a great sense of humor, Chief Cherry wasn’t one to be upstaged. He and Prineville Fire Chief, Ted Adamson went shopping at Woolworth’s and bought the entire stock of fireman’s red hats. Taking the hats to their hotel they carefully printed Pistol Creek Fire Department on each one and distributed the hats to the visiting fire chiefs
• This unique idea of Pistol Creek Fire Department caught on like
wildfire. It has since grown into an international organization with
thousands of honorary members throughout the United States,
Canada, and Europe-Numbering many state and nationally known
• The six man 1882 vintage hand pumper used by the organization was shipped around Cape Horn to Portland, the by barge down the Columbia River to The Dalles and was then delivered to Prineville by horse drawn freight wagon.
After participating in a number of local festivities, the Pistol Creek Fire
Department made its first out of state appearance at the 1941 Pacific
Coast Fire Chief’s Association Convention in Reno Nevada.
• Clad in their official uniform of long red underwear-the “RED NOSED”
boys from Pistol Creek have gained wide recognition throughout Oregon
and the Northwest participating in numerous celebrations and musters-
including two appearances on Portland’s Rose Festival Parade and the
Festival’s Twilight parade.
Prineville Fire Dept. Chiefs
• J.F. Circles Jan. 20,1884
• No Record till the 1930’s
• Sylvan Michel the 1930’s
• Ted Adamson 1939 to 1973 (part time paid mid
• Ernest Edwards 1941 to 1945 (Interim Chief while
Ted was serving in WW11)
• John Ferguson 1973 to 1984
• Lawerance Mayfield 1984 to 1985 (Interim Chief)
• Bob Schnoor 1985 to 1993
• Dave Fields 1993 to Dec. 1996
• Skip Simmons Jan. 1997 to July of 1997
• Bob Schnoor 1997 to 2012
• Matt Smith 2012 to Present
• First two paid employees – 1973
• In 1976 the bond issue was passed by the voters for the new station, cost was $410,000.
• Remodel Station 1201 occurred in 2006 at a cost of $685,000.
• Up to 1964 the volunteers paid for the up keep on the equipment.
• In 1991 the Courthouse was condemned and the circuit court was held at the fire station for 3 to 6 months.
• Prior to 1995, District covered approx. 150 sq. miles.
• Current Fire District covers approx. 450 sq. miles.
• District was formed May 1997 by the County Court
• Rural went district in 1999.(voter approval)
• City went district in 2000.(voter approval)
•A.S.A. (Ambulance Service Area) 3,000 sq. miles
• 12-Career firefighters
• 6-Students (combination of Fire Science and E.M.S.)
• 27 Volunteers (still the heart of the Dept.)
• 2-Sub-Stations (Powell Butte and Juniper Canyon )
Main Station – Station 1201
Built in 1977, remodeled in 2006
500 NE Belknap St.
Prineville, OR 97754
Powell Butte Substation – Station 1202
Built in 2003
8900 SW Reif Road
Powell Butte, OR 97753
Juniper Canyon Substation – Station 1203
Built in 2003
SE Juniper Canyon Road
Prineville, OR 97754
BIG THANK YOU
PRINEVILLE FIRE DEPT. VOLUNTEERS (BOTH ACTIVE AND RETIRED)
PRINEVILLE FIRE Dept. HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS 1881-1966 COMPILED BY STEVE LENT
CROOK COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY BOWMAN MUSEUM
TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT
JIM DEAN, MIKE WRIGHT