|The Sandy Fire Department was formed in the 1930's when
the City purchased a Ford Model T chemical truck. Recently discovered documents
indicate an organized fire department as early as 1912 had pulled chemical fire
engines. In later years, with motorized fire apparatus, whenever the whistle
blew, whoever happened to be around took the truck and went to the fire. The
old Ford was hard starting; therefore, it was placed on a ramp on property,
which is next to Smith's Garage on Pioneer Blvd. When the whistle blew, the
chock blocks under the wheels of the truck were pulled, the truck would roll
down the ramp and in that fashion would be jump-started. Sadly, during one of
the few fires in those days, a Firefighter was run over and killed by the truck
during one of those starting attempts. Old-timers who are still in the Sandy
area tell us that whenever Firefighters came back from an alarm, their clothing
would be full of holes from the Sulfuric acid that when mixed with Sodium
Bicarbonate created a pressurized extinguishing agent in the tank on the
|Around 1940, the Department was organized under the
Sandy Rural Fire Commission, a non-profit organization run entirely by the
Volunteers. Funds were received mostly from donations, fund-raising events and
charges for ambulance transportation that was provided by the Commission.
However, the City did budget money for the purchase of a fire truck, which was
limited to City use only. This truck was built by the Howard-Cooper Corporation
of Portland on a 1940 Chevrolet chassis at a cost of $3,476.71. Up until 1973,
this unit was still in service as a first line piece of equipment. It was
placed in service temporarily in 1975 and did actually respond to and pump
water at a fire. Since then, the unit has been retired and put on reserve
status as Engine 78. The Volunteers have restored it to its original condition.
The unit has been displayed in numerous Musters and parades around the State.
It is also used by our Volunteers in Muster competitions. The Muster Team has
won several State Championships as well as the West Coast
| The City
truck was limited to City fires. Because of this, Volunteers sponsored several
fund-raising projects to obtain money for a rural fire truck. The first $500
was used to purchase a 1941 Ford chassis on which the Volunteer built a body
complete with a 350 gallon water tank, a 350 gpm PTO pump, a hose bed and small
cabinets. This unit was also in service until 1973, at which time it was
purchased by the Anderson Brothers Wrecking Company and donated to OMSI to be
sold at their annual auction.
|In 1961, the department was reorganized under Oregon State Statutes as the Sandy Rural Fire
Protection District No. 72. The Sandy Rural Fire Commission continued to
operate the ambulance as a non-profit community service. The non-profit
ambulance operation continued until approximately 1974. At that time, it became
a private company and has remained as such since.
Sandy Station was built over a period of six years beginning in about 1963,
with completion of the building in about 1969. During this time, the Fire
District had little money for such an undertaking. Mr. Ed Perren, a local
building contractor in the Sandy area, donated his time in constructing the
Station. In addition, he advanced the District a good deal of the money that
was needed to purchase materials that went into the building. The total cost of
the original Station was about $24,000, including property.
|In 1981, a
major remodeling project was completed that doubled bay space, added sleeping
facilities, classrooms, office space, a combination hose and drill tower, and
parking space. The present building has both full fire alarm and sprinkler
systems. The cost of remodeling, including land purchase, was approximately
was appointed the first Fire Chief in 1942. He served as a Volunteer Chief
until about 1967, when he was appointed as the first full-time paid Fire Chief
of the District and served in that position until 1972 when he retired. Chief
Seaman devoted 32 years of his life to the Sandy Fire District. There is no
doubt that if it were not for his efforts, the Sandy Fire District would not be
as we know it today.
|In 1972, Bob
Rathke was selected as Fire Chief from a nation-wide search. Chief Rathke added
much to the Sandy Fire District foremost was a goal for the future. His new
ideas and foresight led to a comprehensive plan for Sandy Fire District. During
his tenure, the District added two substations, remodeled the Main Station and
added a greatly enhanced Volunteer program. Sandy Fire District has received
nationwide recognition as an excellent staffed and cost effective combination
department. Chief Rathke reached his goal for Sandy Fire in 1985 and resigned
to pursue new goals in private business.
career Firefighters employed by the District were appointed in July 1972.
Career Firefighters are employed under a policy that requires them to have
secondary skills that are used in the management and operation of the District.
total employment includes 49 Volunteers, 11 Full-time Career, 2 Part-time
Battalion Chiefs, 2 part-time employees, 1 part-time PIO/PEO and 1 civilian employees.
|In 1985, Gary
Connelly was promoted to Chief after serving 6 years as the Assistant
Chief/Training Officer of the Sandy Fire District. His knowledge of the
District, community, Volunteer Firefighters and apparatus allowed him to start
where ex Chief Rathke left off and to continue improving the quality and cost
effectiveness of Sandy Fire District No. 72. Chief Connelly's expertise in fire
apparatus gained him a position on the State of Oregon Fire Apparatus Standards
1990, the citizens of Sandy Rural Fire District overwhelmingly demonstrated
their support and faith by approving a new tax base. Passage of this tax base
enabled the Fire District to implement the recommendations of a new 10 year
Citizens' Plan. The Citizens' Plan resulted from hard work by members of the
Sandy community who spent many hours in research and discussion as they
assessed the emergency needs of the District population. The Citizens' Plan for
the 90's emphasizes improvements to the volunteer program, the addition of
staff to provide adequate manning, the adoption of a fire code, and replacement
of major apparatus.
1995, the Dover Substation was relocated to Firwood and Pagh Rd. It replaced
the original Dover Station which was over 20 years old and sat on leased land.
The new location and size accommodate the increasing call volume and need for
services in that response area.
|In June 1997,
Gary Connelly retired as Fire Chief of Sandy Fire District #72, completing 25
years of service. He left the apparatus, staff, buildings, and finances in a
high state of readiness. The Chief's position was offered to James Haugsness of
Colorado, who took command in June 1997. Jim Haugsness resigned as Fire Chief
in January 1999. Battalion Chief Ron Smith was Acting Fire Chief from January
1999 to January 2000.
|In February of 2000 Gary McQueen was hired as Sandy’s Fire Chief. Gary was a member of the District’s High School Auxiliary program beginning in 1976 and became a volunteer member of the District in 1980. In 1983, he began a 17-year career with the Lake Oswego Fire Department while continuing to volunteer and work part-time as a Battalion Chief for Sandy Fire. He has served both departments in several ranks. He has an Associates Degree in Fire Science, Paramedic certification, and is currently enrolled in the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire academy in Emmitsburg , Maryland .