The fire department began in 1976 with the North Sebastian County Rural Fire Department and evolved to the present White Bluff-Rye Hill Volunteer Fire Department. The fire department has seen many changes over the years including lower ISO Class ratings, additional coverage areas, larger Santa Run events, and even more dedicated volunteers and supporters.
Check out a glimpse into out past through the timeline presented below.
North Sebastian County Rural Fire Department was incorporated which later became the White Bluff-Rye Hill Volunteer Fire Department.
Construction began on Station “B” at 5325 Spring Mountain Road – built in 1991 and ’92 and started housing trucks.
Community Room at Station B was completed and opened for us on August 14, 1993.
Bill Moran became our “first” 1st Responder.
Purchased Pumper 1 from Leeco Fire Apparatus. First new truck ever purchased by White Bluff-Rye Hill VFD.
The George Moschner Flagpole and Memorial Stone is erected at Station B – George was a founding father of our VFD.
Jim Almond gets his First Responder training and becomes a Certified First Responder.
We purchased a 1986 Chevy 4x4 and converted into a Brush Truck and sold off our 1968 Dodge 1-1/4 ton Brush Rig.
We had (15) firefighters on the roster during 1997.
First Santa Run through the area was a huge success -WBRH VFD bagged 200 Santa Run bags!
Purchased our first real tanker which held 2,200 gallon of water. It was a 5-speed manual transmission.
Bagged 350 bags for Santa Run.
Pumper 2 was purchased from Deep South Fire Equipment – a refurbished 1991 GMC.
Awarded "Assistance to Firefighter" Grant for a Quick Attack truck to replace our 1986 Chevy.
Purchased Attack 1 – Ford F550 with rescue body, pump and compressed air foam system.
DROPPED FROM CLASS 9 to CLASS 7 on ISO review.
Santa Run – Had 28 donors supporting our event!
Purchased a 2007 Toyota Tacoma 5 Speed and had Crowe Fire Apparatus convert it into Brush 1.
Awarded a $10,000 Thermal Camera from the "Firehouse Subs Grant Foundation."
Charles Mitchael retires as Chief and Jim Almond voted in as Chief.
Doris Moschner retires as Secretary and Debbi Haddock takes the reigns.
Sold our tanker, used reserve funds and some county money and ordered a new 3,000 gallon / 500 gpm tanker from Deep South Fire trucks and took delivery of Tanker 1.
Built Brush 2 from a 1999 Ford F350 4XR and installed a flatbed on it and rigged it for Grass/Wildland Fires.
Search and Rescue (S.A.R.) started up in our department.
Our VFD worked diligently on all of the paperwork all year for our ISO Review and Audit.
ISO improved our PPC rating from a CLASS 7 to a CLASS 5 taking effect on August 1, 2014.
Assisted with the ALS Challenge with our department and Firehouse Subs.
Acquired a Honda 4 Wheeler from FED SURPLUS and converted into a Brush Fire/S.A.R. unit and WON an award from Federal Surplus for the renovation of the 4-Wheeler.
Brush 2 gets outfitted with a new skid unit.
New website and Facebook Page created.
Joe Taylor retires after 32 years.
Up to 600 Bags being handed out on Santa Run.
Had 4 Junior Firefighters on the department.
Station B expansion – added a 25’x40’ bay on the west end with no debt incurred.
Command 1 purchased.
Won the Parrot Island Inaugural Emergency Responder Day Games.
June 25th had a very large Kid’s Day and Open House event.
Jenny Lind VFD dissolves and our department votes to accept county proposal to turn over 70% of the Jenny Lind and Shadow Lake areas to our VFD for Fire and Medical coverage, and added our 3rd station in Jenny Lind.
Our members worked over 1,000 hours brining that station and equipment up to our VFD standards.
We added 8+ square miles and over 669 more structures to our coverage area.
Purchased Pumper 3, Tanker 2, and Attack 3 to house in Station C.
Received Pipeline Grant for PPE gear.
ISO came back in November 2017 for another review of our department since taking over another large area.
Raised our membership rate for the first time ever from $25 to $35.
ISO awards our department an improved PPC rating from a CLASS 5 to a CLASS 4 EFFECTIVE August, 1, 2018.
October 1st – Flagpole and Memorial Stone Dedication at Station A for Charles Mitchael.
850 bags for Santa Run.
"Georgia Pacific Grant" for $5,000 for PPE.
"State Farm Grant" for $2,500.
Purchased 10 new sets of PPE.
August 5th – Largest Fire in our History at Smurfitt Recycling.
ATV sold and UTV 1 purchased (2012 Polaris Ranger).
Tanker refurbishment project started and finished.
Year of COVID-19 – Restricted meetings and events.
Several donations from Choctaw Casino and a large grant from Firehouse Subs for a new Holmatro Pentheon Series Battery Operated Jaws of Life kit including a Cutter and Spreader – Value $23,000.
Santa Visit in its 29th year.
Fire Department in its 45th official year.
Sold our oldest pumper a 1991 and purchased a 2020 Deep South Class A Pumper with a 1,250 GPM Pump and 1,500 Gallon tank. A major upgrade to our equipment and firefighting capabilities.
Continued to upgrade equipment with a $25,000 grant from the "Gary Sinise Foundation" to purchase new AED’s for our Emergency Medical Responders, along with extrication tools and some new hose.
Received several other grants to purchase and upgrade our equipment.