A History of ACFR
In 2015 the North Washington Fire District merged with the South West Adams County Fire District becoming Adams County Fire Rescue.
While the history of Adams County Fire Rescue comes from two distinct fire departments; each of the original department’s historic journeys parallels each other. Both departments were created in 1946. Both departments began as volunteer firefighter organizations that relied upon their members desire to serve their communities. Each department was founded on a need for better fire responses due to poorly maintained roads. Both departments’ members gave their own time and money in order to purchase the equipment and stations prior to the departments creating special fire tax districts.The two volunteer fire departments were more than just fire departments; the sense of community created a strong bond amongst the members as most lived and worked within the district’s boundaries. Most members would simply leave their jobs to go and fight a fire. Station life involved numerous mealtimes and strong sense of community with the wives of the members being an integral part of fire department life as well.
However, each department saw their communities fragmented by ever changing job markets and the need for the volunteer members to leave the immediate community to go to work elsewhere. Additionally, fires were becoming more complex as modern day plastics and chemicals entered into the burning structures which made training the modern firefighter a huge undertaking. Consequently, in 1964 NWFD and 1999 SWAC fire became combination volunteer and paid departments.
Each district began to experience exponential growth in call volumes and a demand for the departments to fill other community’s needs in the 1980’s. Specialized fire service applications such as Emergency Medical Services, Hazardous response, and Water Rescue, in addition to the continued fires, began to tax all of the districts resources. As a result of these changing community needs, the fire district’s chiefs began mutual aid agreements that supplemented each district’s ability to provide quality fire protection to the citizens. These initial agreements were to become the backbone of the present day Adams County Fire Rescue organization.
The North Washington Fire Protection District and The South West Adams County Fire District chiefs came to realize that in order to progress, they must become one organization. It became evident that the modern fire service environment demands for training prohibited the continuation of having a volunteer firefighter program and in 2016 ACFR disbanded the last volunteer program.
While ACFR no longer has volunteer firefighters within their ranks, their legacy lives on in the district’s beliefs, traditions, and actions expressed by the service to others that is provided daily by the men and women who follow in the footsteps of those who choose to serve their communities.