History and Services

History

A Historical Index: The Tucson Fire Department Archive
Provided by the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation

More History

The Tucson Fire Department has been fighting fires and saving lives in the Old Pueblo for more than 120 years. Started in 1881 as a scrappy, all volunteer force, the department has grown into a modern department nationally recognized for its overall excellence.

From the beginning, Tucson firefighters made every effort to respond to the needs of the community, as it grew from a lawless territorial outpost into a modern city--today the state's second largest.

Major events for the department and Tucson include:

1877 Tucson organized as a municipality
1881 Tucson hook & ladder co. organized --Volunteer Fire Co.
          - Jack Boylen 1st Fire Chief from 1881-1886
          - Equipment, 22 buckets, 6 axes, 6 picks, 8 shovels
1883 Tucson Fire Department officially organized
1899 TFD reorganized
         - 21 hours a day, 365 days a year, 1 hour off for each meal
         - $10/month
1900 4 horses purchased. Two pulled chem, engine& hose cart, 2 pulled hook & ladder
1909 Station 1 build, 142 S. 6th Street
1912 Arizona becomes a state
1915 2 motorized trucks purchased, ended need for horses
         - Department becomes fully paid city operation
1917 Station 3 built on Park Ave and E.9th Street
1933 First fire department union is organized (Local 479)
1934 Fire at Congress Hotel leads to capture of John Dillinger
1949 All fire department vehicles are equipped with 3-way radios
1950 Airpacks introduced
1951 First Rescue Unit -All firefighters are qualified as first aid personnel
1969 First training academy at Park & Ajo operational
1970 Pioneer Hotel Fire.? Arson claims the lives of 28 people, 35 firefighters are injured.
1974 First paramedic unit in service
1984 First female firefighter, Deanna Lewis, is hired.?
1995 Old Tucson Studios burns
1997 Regional Public Safety Academy opened
1999 Electronic reporting system goes online
2000 Merging of medical and suppression divisions into 2 operations divisions
2002 "Telestaff" automates staffing
2004 Hazmat & RRT teams put into service