A Fire Department Created in Four Months

A Fire Department Created in Four Months

Newest independent fire department in Sacramento County, Calif., is Sutterville Heights Fire District, which has joined 27 other fire districts in the area that have organized and financed their own fire protection.

It all came about on May 15 last, when limited protection to the district afforded by the Sacramento Fire Department was terminated and the yearly $24,235, paid the city by the district, was stopped by decision of Fire Commissioners William Hess, Dudley Heale and Samuel Parker of Sutterville Heights.

On May 21 last, O. R. DeLaMater, retired captain of the Sacramento Fire Department, met with these commissioners, discussed the formation of a fire department to protect the district and was named chief engineer of the project. Two days later he made arrangements to rent a fire rig for temporary use. With Lieutenant Chas. Elberson, who was also employed by the district, a fire truck was built to afford temporary protection to the district until it could purchase apparatus. The “home made” job, constructed in part of plywood and 2×4’s, was completed to carry 1,000 ft. of 1 1/2-in. single jacket hose, 250 ft. of 2 1/2-in. double jacket hose and some equipment.

The first fire drill was held on June 6th by Chief DeLaMater and, a few days later, the force of eight volunteers was increased by the addition of a third paid man, Lieutenant W. S. Davis. On June 20, arrangements were made with Tom Ward of the State Department of Vocational Training for an instructor and 15 men thereafter completed the course and received diplomas.

By this time citizens of Sutterville Heights knew there was a fire department in their district and pride in the new enterprise blossomed. On May 25th, ground was broken for the erection of a fire house. This was completed and occupied in September, with the district proudly installing a new 500 GPM pumper with 1,000 ft. of double jacket hose and other essentials.

New Fire Station and Apparatus of the Sutterville Heights Fire Department. Shown in the Foreground, Left to Right, are Charles Miner, Fire Commissioner (Ret.); Charles Deterding, County Manager; Sam Parker, Fire Commissioner; Dudley Heale, Fire Commissioner; William Hess, Fire Commissioner and Chief O. R. DeLaMater

With two pieces of apparatus, the townsfolk breathed easier but Chief DeLaMater and the Commissioners, still were not satisfied, so another piece of apparatus was ordered, for delivery in December.

The new fire house, which cost $24,500, has living and sleeping quarters for four regular men and all the necessary vehicles, a classroom, kitchen and other facilities.

Until the new station was completed, the department was housed in a garage, the paid men sleeping on cots and cartying their meals. It was rugged going but the folks of Sutterville Heights, named after the earlier California gold rush pioneers, are used to roughing it, and besides, it was all in a good cause. Meanwhile, the insurance sate for the district has dropped from $1.20 per 100 to .75 per 100, and the end is not yet!

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