History of The Central Fire District

The Central Fire Department has served the citizens of Rigby, Ririe, and Lewisville since 1981. The original county volunteer fire department was formed in January of 1957. The chief of the department was Russell Bates. The first fire truck was donated by Snake River mutual Fire Insurance Company and was called the Snake River Mutual Fire Truck.

Jefferson County Idaho Fire Department
In 1981 Jefferson Central Fire District was created. Glen Reed took over as fire chief. The governor appointed three fire Commissioners. Those Commissioners were Parley Campbell, Gayle Reed, and Joel Cook. In the first year of operation the district responded to ninety calls. In 1981 Jefferson Central Commissioners used their houses as collateral to purchase 3 new GMC/FMS fire trucks. In February 1986 the QRU presidency proposed combining the East Jefferson Quick Response Unit (QRU) with Jefferson Central Fire District due to cash shortage. When the QRU was originally developed the responders responded in their own vehicles with their own jump kits. Eventually the state helped the independent QRU unit’s acquire suburbans for response vehicles. In March of 1986 their proposal was passed and it prompted the fire district to build their first building. Because of the merger the East Jefferson QRU and Jefferson Central in 1986 Jefferson received a grant to equip the QRU units with 3 Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s). They broke ground for the new building in October of 1986 supporting a 40 x 60 ft one floor, with four bays to park fire apparatus, a classroom and a bathroom. The total cost was estimated at $81,146. This new firehouse was equipped with 8 firefighters and 15 emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. February 24, 1987 Jefferson Central moved into its new fire station located at the Annis Highway.
In February 1986 assistant chief Dale Nadler selected assistant (battalion) chiefs at Rigby (station 1) Todd Stowell, Ririe (station 2) Dale McDowell, and Lewisville (station 3) Grant Rounds. On November 4, 1987 after 30 years in the fire service Glen Reed passes his helmet to dale Nadler who becomes chief of the 40 member department of May 9, 1987.
On July 8, 1988 Reed drug store and Ben Franklin department store in Rigby burn to the ground. A construction worker was killed during cleanup efforts. This same year Dale Nadler created the first light truck and had Jim Polacek build it. That same year Ririe’s mini pumper catches fire and is a total loss.

In December 1989 Central Fire Commissioners proposes increasing the EMS charge to Rigby city residents QRU service. In September 1990 the Rigby city council split from Jefferson Central QRU and developed Rigby city QRU.

On January 14, 1992 Dale Nadler and Todd Stowell, assistant fire chief, goes to Appleton, Wisconsin to pick up the new $160,000 fire truck pierce dash for station 1, also known as 161. The district also receives a new Chevy truck for the chief to drive. Personnel were up to 49 volunteers and 1 full time chief.

In December 1993 Bonneville county residents near Ririe petition to be put into Jefferson Central because it took too long for Bonneville fire to respond to a neighbor’s house fire. It was awarded because residents and Commissioners agreed that “closer was better”.

In June 1995 Central Commissioners proposed a new addition to existing station 1 to accommodate the growing community. The plan was tabled for the time being.

In January 1996 Lewisville proposed a split from central. Decision was later made to keep the district together.

On January 22, 1998 Jefferson central firefighters fought the biggest fire in 10 years. It was the Rigby Produce building located in Rigby. Also in 1998, Menan fire department joins Jefferson Central. Their zone covers part of northern Jefferson County including the Menan Buttes and also has a section of Madison County. Ryan Shippen was named Battalion Chief.

1999 Roberts fire department enters a Mutual Aid Agreement with Central Fire District. Menan had a Mutual Aid Agreement with Roberts and the central Commissioners agreed to honor that agreement. Ririe received their new truck, 181, a Pierce Saber. Gary Ricks, Battalion Chief in Ririe since 1990 and Kirt Hayes, Battalion Chief in the Rigby station since 1995, went to Appleton, Wisconsin and picked it up. The chief receives a new pickup.

On May 18, 2000 the addition to station 1 was finally begun and finished on October 9, 2000. Six bays were added to the building to store apparatus. The old building was then renovated for offices and a district training classroom. Personnel from Central provided the manpower and expertise for the project. Money that was earned fighting the Green Knoll fire in Wilson, WY provided the financing. The class room is an up to date technologically. It is used not only by Central fire, but also is provided to other organizations to training purposes.

On May 10, 2001, Dale Nadler resigns from Central and passes his helmet to Kirt Hayes on August 1, 2001 putting Kirt in charge of four stations and 65 fire district personnel. When Kirt became chief he appointed Darin Robison as the new Battalion Chief at Station 1.

In March of 2002, Lewisville received their new engine, a 2002 Kenworth, Pierce. Kirt Hayes, Fire Chief, Gordon Ball, Battalion Chief at the Lewisville station since 1983, Kevin Anderson, Caleb Anderson, and Mike Miller, one of the Central Commissioners, went to Bradenton, Florida to pick up the new truck. At the same time they brought back a manufacturers demo engine. The Central Commissioners decided to purchase that truck for the Menan station.

Central fire Department serves a population of 13,000 residents and approximately 220 square miles. This area includes part of Jefferson County and portions of Bonneville and Madison Counties. Today Central Fire District consists of 18 emergency response vehicles, plus specialized equipment with compliments of a Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Cheif, Secretary, 4 Battalion Chiefs, 70 Volunteers, an EMS Coordinator, and a Tech Rescue Coordinator. The apparatus includes: 20 Vehicles 1 Snorkel Truck, 6 Class A Pumpers, 6 Mini Pumpers, 2 Rescue Trucks, 2 Tenders, and 2 Staff Pickups. The district has gone from 90 calls in 1981 to 1,151 in 2014.

Today central fire district is a broad spectrum service that provides commitment and professionalism in emergency service response, high-angle rescue, swift-water rescue and fire prevention.

Central Fire District Office – (208) 745-6003