An underfunded Selma Fire District founded the Selma Fire Department in August 1889. The City took charge in December 1895 with the Department reorganizing in January 1896.
There had been 14 devastating fires by the time the district was reorganized, and the need for a City Fire Department was separately needed. During the beginning, day’s water pressure and equipment became the biggest problem for the Department. Fires continued to plague the City for the next several years. A bond was approved on April 10, 1912 for $10,000.
On June 3, 1913 a $5,940 chemical line engine and hose cart arrived in Selma and two weeks later, a $3,085 fire alarm was installed with 10 alarm boxes strategically located from which the fire bell could automatically be sounded. In addition, the City hired two full-time paid drivers a first for Selma. They were each paid $60 per month alternated 12 hour shifts. The new equipment did not stop major fires, but did improve the chances of containment. On September 25, 1923, the Council called for a $27,000 bond election to buy two new fire engines, a siren system for sounding alarms and to provide $9,000 for a new firehouse. On May 30, 1924, two new American La France engines arrived, and were housed at the Fire Department on West Front Street and later came to be manned by volunteers. Selma Fire Station 2 was built in 1957, which housed the full time staff. It was built because there was a fear that a fire would break out and a train halted on the tracks could prevent proper emergency response to east Selma.
As the needs of the Selma Community changed due to growth in population, the City’s need to expand its services led to the addition of an ambulance service, which was originally provided through the Page and Thomas Robertson funeral homes. In January 1969 the Fire Department, become in charge of the ambulance service in Selma.
We are very proud of the men and women of the Fire Department, who served and are still serving the Community of Selma.
The Selma Chamber of Commerce again thanks Randy McFarland for the History of Selma in, “Centennial Selma: A Biography of a California Community’s First 100 Years."
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