On February 9, 2019, the Tooele City Fire Department held their annual awards banquet. They honored Glenn Caldwell for 50 years of service! Rick Harrison, Sam Colovich, and John Daly were each honored for 25 years of service, collectively serving more than 125 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Tooele City.
This year’s banquet was monumental to the Fire Department as it was the kick-off event for the 100-year anniversary celebration for the Tooele City Volunteer Fire Department.
Chief Harrison shared a short history of the Tooele City Fire Department and how it was started. In 1890, Tooele, as other early small settlements, had little or no fire protection. Tooele depended upon the canyon streams for both irrigation and culinary water. In case of a fire someone would sound the alarm bell on City Hall and everyone would grab a bucket or two and head for the fire. Unfortunately, the fires were generally a total loss. On February 12, 1894, a committee from the City Council was instructed to investigate the cost of securing some hose and a hose cart. After some discussion, the committee was authorized to purchase a hose cart-nozzle and 3 hundred feet of two-inch hose. The cost of the entire outfit being $180.50. The Smelter came in 1909 and on January 3, 1910, the newly elected City Council appointed a Police and Fire Department Committee. While Tooele had no organized fire department, Mercur did have one. After Mercur closed down, a number of the Mercur firemen moved to Tooele and on March 5, 1910 a meeting was held at the City Hall for the purpose of organizing a fire department for Tooele City. At the March 7, 1910 meeting of the City Council, a petition was presented for a Volunteer Fire Department for Plat “A”. A petition was also presented for a volunteer fire department for Plat “C” (New Town). Due to increasing demands of the citizens for better fire protection, the City Council on January 7, 1919, authorized the purchase of a Ford truck from the Tooele Motor Company for $505.00 to be used in case of a fire. On February 3, 1919, 28 men met at City Hall to form a permanent fire department. Three weeks later, 23 men had signed the charter and paid a $1.00 initiation fee. By July of 1919, the department was fully organized and on July 14, 1919, the City Council adopted a resolution recognizing the department as a permanent organization.
From 1919 to present there have been 269 members join the Tooele City Volunteer Fire Department, which today is served by 50 active members. In 2018, the Tooele City Volunteer Fire Department responded and attended 404 Fire/Alarm calls.
I would like to thank all the members, past and present, who have volunteered time out of their lives to show dedication and service to the citizens of Tooele City.
Chief Rick Harrison
Tooele City Volunteer Fire Department