Moments in History
1909: The Big Fire
The big fire in Rogers broke out early in the afternoon of September 3, 1909, and when the flames were finally halted and the loss was counted, 7 buildings lay crumpled in ruins and an estimated damage of over $7,500 had been done. According to old-timers who remember the blaze, there was little or no chance to save the destroyed building and the seven volunteer firemen spent their efforts to protect warehouses across the street from the flames. It is remembered that temperatures were over 100 degrees during the day of the fire as the city was suffering from an early fall heat wave.
City firemen battled the blaze for about 6hours, according to reports from those living here at the time. Their equipment was inadequate but they used every means at their hand to keep the fire under control. Some of the people present even remember buckets being used to get water to the blaze. Following the blaze, it was noted that additions were made to the firefighting equipment in use in the town.
Damaged Property Due to the Big Fire
Property damaged or ruined by the disastrous fire included:
- The Ozark Hotel, which was a 2-story frame building. At the time of the fire, the building was owned by John Miller and occupied by Mr. And Mrs. Maurice Stroud. Estimated loss to the hotel was $2,500.
- The H. P. Hansen residence was destroyed in the fire as well as all the household goods of the family.
- The J. G. Steinhelber second-hand clothing store burned. The building was a small frame structure and loss was estimated over $500.
- The John Plyer grocery building, owned by John Gardiner, was burned with an estimated loss of over $1,000.
- The Kentucky House, a 2-story frame structure owned by Mrs. L. C. Howard was destroyed and the loss was estimated in excess of $1,500.
- The Wagonyard, owned by Mrs. Warren Kellog, was burned. The structure was occupied by the J. W Brammer junk shop and the loss was estimated at around $500.
1915: Purchase of First Motorized Vehicle
1915 Rogers Hose Company purchased its first motorized vehicle in 1915, American LaFrance chemical truck that cost $5,000. This truck was purchased with the understanding that it could be converted to a pump truck. However, the cost of the conversion was almost as much as buying a new truck, so the council decided to trade this truck in on a 1919 american LaFrance pumper at a cost of $8,500. This truck became known as Old Hulda and was retired in 1955.
1922: Fire Department Recognized
In 1922, the Rogers Hose Company Number 1 was reorganized to become the Rogers Fire Department. Dr. George M. Love was the first chief after reorganization.
1923: First Paid Firefighter: T.F. "Frank" Jacobs
T.F. Jacobs was the first paid firefighter for the department. He joined in 1923 as a truck driver and became chief 30 years later. His initial salary was $70 per month and he was on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Rogers Fire Department Station 1 was initially located on First Street just north of Walnut. In 1929, it was moved to 212 West Elm. This location served as the City Hall, Police Station, Jail, and the Fire Department Headquarters.
1973: Construction of Station 2 & 3
Two substations were constructed in 1973. Station 2 was built on South 17th Street and Station 3 was built on West Hudson Road.
1974: Purchase of Ambulances
In 1974, the department accepted 3 ambulances, a 1969 Ford van, a 1973 GMC van, and a 1974 Dodge. These ambulances had been purchased by the city for the private ambulance contractor. However, the contractor went out of business and the department acquired the ambulance service. Over the next decades, emergency medical care would shape the department more than any other variable.
1984: First Paramedics
In 1984, the department began providing paramedic ambulance service. The first paramedics were Tom Dee, Tommy Norwood, and Darrell Thomas. Today, we have approximately 70 paramedics and 5 ALS equipped ambulances with 3 reserve ambulances.
1978: Sears Building Fire
Fire Department officials said the fire began about 6:45 p.m., when a tar pot used in roofing the Sears building ignited. The fire spread into the Sears and House of Fabrics buildings soon after ignition. Columns of smoke rose several hundred feet into the air and flames could be spotted several miles away. The owners and managers of the downtown businesses stood quietly. The children gasped when the Snorkel from Springdale, like a giant claw, swung across the flames, shooting a jet of water into the inferno.
Not seen in many pictures was a use of a ladder truck from the City of Fayetteville who was operating in the alley west of the museum. Without the help of our neighbors this fire could have burned down the entire city block. As the fire blazed up until about 8 p.m., city officials began to express concern over the fate of the Rogers Historical Museum on First Street. The museum, which shared a common wall with the Bible Book Store, suffered only minor water damage, but records and artifacts were removed by city officials and firemen for safe-keeping. Finally, one by one, the flames went dark and sputtered in the constant drenching from the fire hoses.
1997: Construction of Fire Administration Offices & Training Facility
The current Fire Administration Offices and Station 1, located at 201 and 301 North First Street, was constructed in 1997 along with a Training Facility on West Oak Street. Station 5 on South Pinnacle Hills Parkway (then Champions Drive) is also completed this same year to provide protection to the city's growing west side.
2002: Fire Station 3
Fire Station 3, originally located at 400 West Hudson Road, is relocated to the Rogers Municipal Airport / Carter Field property at 1 West Etris Drive. The construction of this station was realized through a partnership with Walmart and Beaver Lake Aviation. Before this station was built, the department protected the airport using Quick Response 4, an ex-military vehicle on loan to the city from the Arkansas Forestry Commission. When this station was constructed the RFD also acquired its first true ARFF vehicle, a 1988 E-One Titan, that was retired in 2007.
2010: Training Overhaul
The Rogers Fire Department held a 14-week Rogers Probationary Fire Academy (RPFA) in cooperation with the Northwest Arkansas Training Officers Association and Arkansas Fire Academy. The RPFA consisted of 8 weeks of training meeting the standard requirements of the NFPA 1001 and the Arkansas Fire Academy, and another 6 weeks of instruction with Rogers Fire Department training officials.
The Training Division that oversees this Academy also has the responsibility to monitor the changing requirements of standards and criteria established at the federal, state, and local level. The development of training programs occurs through the research of new and innovative training practices, and review of departmental curriculum. The Training Division is lead by the Deputy Fire Chief of Training and Special Operations.
2011: Accredited Agency Status Awarded
On August 24, 2011, the Rogers Fire Department was awarded Accredited Agency Status by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) in Atlanta, Georgia. The department is 1 of only 200+ agencies worldwide to obtain CFAI Accredited Agency Status. The goal of the CFAI is to assist fire and emergency service agencies throughout the world in achieving excellence through self-assessment, accreditation, and continuous quality improvement in order to enhance service delivery to their communities.
2012: Rescue / Hazardous Materials Response
In 2010, the department combined its Technical Rescue Team and Hazardous Materials Team into a "Special Operations Team". This group of specially-trained firefighters were stationed at Fire Station 5 and led the department on calls involving hazardous chemicals or technical rescue. Thanks to a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the department's heavy rescue and hazardous materials response unit was staffed as a permanent resource for the region in July 2012. The staffing of the asset was a tremendous improvement to the department's emergency deployment.
2015: Insurance Service Office Rating
After intensive preparation, the department was awarded the best rating from the Insurance Service Office regarding fire protection. The rating of a one, on a one to ten scale, indicates superior fire protection. Improvements in apparatus, training, staffing and administrative functions contributed to the attainment of the rating.
2020: Station 8
Fire Station 8 was opened at 7001 West Pleasant Grove Road in August 2020. The station was uniquely positioned along a new section of West Pleasant Grove Road just south of the Rogers Water Utility Pollution Control Facility. The staton was originally envisioned to open in 2009, but was delayed due to a recession that year.