Saturday, November 1

The Upland Fire Department

History

The Upland Fire Department was created by citizens of the former community of North Ontario shortly after the turn of the century. These Upland citizens saw a need for being able to protect their property from fire.

This need became the roots of our current fire department. In 1911, the citizens of Upland created a formal fire department with F.H. Manker named as the first official Fire Chief. The first recorded piece of apparatus was a hose cart that was pulled by the first available personnel to get to where the cart was stored. In 1913, the first serious fire to occur in the new community destroyed all the businesses on the East side of Second Avenue South of Ninth Street. This fire generated interest in further protecting the community and in 19 15 the fire station on D Street was built. The first motorized fire engine was purchased at this time (See Photo). When a fire alarm was received, a siren was sounded to summon the volunteer firefighters.

The volunteer firefighters of the Upland Fire Department were one of the more popular social groups to participate in during the 1920’s until after World War II. The volunteer firefighters were very visible and provided a much-needed service to the community. This social club even purchased a pool table that was installed upstairs in the D Street fire station and according to reports received “constant use.” This particular pool table is stilled owned by the Upland Firefighters Association, though not currently in use. In 1924, the Upland News wrote . . . .“Upland has the most successful fire company of any city in the state”. The social appeal of the volunteer firefighters continued throughout the Depression with stories of annual barbecues, parties and other celebrations recorded throughout the period. In 1937, the volunteer firefighters even went so far as to construct a cabin in San Antonio Canyon for parties and get-togethers. This particular cabin was destroyed in a flood in 1938, but a replacement was built in the area of what is now 16th Street and Tanglewood. This second fireman's cabin was torn down during the construction of Upland Hills Country Club.

The Upland Fire Department continued to evolve after the war and in 1963; the first full time firefighters were hired to supplement the volunteer firefighters. As with the rest of Southern California, people were beginning to commute farther and farther to work with one of the results being that there were not enough available men to respond to fire alarms during the daytime hours. The full time firefighters filled this need. In 1966, a tragic fire took the lives of five people in the north end of the city. This tragic incident resulted in the construction, and staffing of Fire Station 2 on San Antonio Avenue north of 20th Street. This fire station is still operational with fire and life safety responsibility for the northern part of the community. In 1969, the original fire station on D Street was replaced with a new Fire Headquarters facility. This station currently houses Fire Administration, Fire Prevention, Fire Training and Fire Suppression resources. In 1978, with the assistance of a Federal Grant, the City of Upland was able to construct a Public Works facility and one more Fire Station on Benson Avenue north of 13th Street. This fire station provides fire and life safety protection for the western portion of the community. In 2002, the Fire Department adopted a Paramedic Program. This program provided each Engine, and Truck Company with a State Certified Paramedic.  This program enabled the Fire Department personnel to provide the citizens of Upland with the latest in advanced medical care. The program continues today with ever increasing skills and knowledge of its members. With continued growth in the northeast side of town, which would increase call volume, a plan for a fourth fire station was developed. The construction of the Colonies Community, and the extension of the I210 freeway showed feasibility for the station. In 2004, a temporary station was put into service. This station is located off of 15th Street, and Campus. A permanent station is in the planning stages, and should be set to break ground in or around November of 2006.

The Upland Fire Department currently staffs 3 engine companies, a truck company with 3 personnel per unit, and a Battalion Chief. This staffing results in having 13 personnel on duty 24 hours a day. The Upland Fire Department responds to approximately 6000 emergency incidents annually.

The Upland Fire Department has provided fire and life safety protection to the citizens of Upland for over 100 years. This department is rich in history and tradition. The Upland Fire Department stands ready to accept the realities of today and the challenges of tomorrow.