About the North Central Fire Protection District
In 1944, a group of concerned citizens, business owners, and farmers began planning the formation of a fire protection district. The action was prompted by major fires, which devastated businesses and some of the largest packing houses in western Fresno County.
The District was organized under the 1881 Act of the Public Health and Safety Code of California. On December 11, 1945, as a result of a vote by District residents and approval of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, the North Central Fire Protection District was formed. On July 31, 1947, the District became active with Irving H. Cordy as its first fire chief. In January 1946, the BOS appointed 3 Fire Commissioners. In 1965 the number of commissioners were increased to five and elected by District residents. At the same time the title was changed from Fire Commissioners to Board of Directors.
In the District’s beginning in 1947, it served 300 square miles, which included unincorporated areas along the northern and western borders of the City of Fresno. It also included the incorporated City of Kerman and the township of Biola, and current continues to serve those communities along with 230 square miles.
In 1947, four fire stations were built and four fire engines were put into service, three additional stations were added by 1953. In 1947 there were seven paid personnel and thirty volunteers. One of the original fire engines known as Engine No. 1 was restored in 1997 to help celebrate the District’s 50th year. This engine is still driven in the local parades and community events held in the District each year.
The highest level of services provided was in 1976, the District served a population of 55,000 residents throughout approximately 250 square miles with seven fire stations, nine fire engines, and one water tender. The District employed 65 full-time personnel and 30 volunteer firefighters. In the years to follow, the District provided a Hazardous Material Response Team along with a Swift Water Rescue Team. Annexation of more than 20 square miles of the District, reduced the need for District services in those areas and the closure of the Shaw/Brawley fire station and Marks/Neilson fire station, reduce full-time fire suppression personnel to 48, and reducing the effective firefighting force on-duty by 4 daily.
On July 1, 2007, the District electorate entered into a 30-year contract for services with the Fresno Fire Department, which improved daily staffing levels and maximized municipal fire services. The District has been governed by the elected Board of Directors throughout its 71 years of service. The service agreement with the City of Fresno was limited to labor to staff the District’s fire stations, and maintainace of the District’s apparatus, stations, and communications system.
On December 5, 2017, the Fresno City Council unanimously voted in favor of abandoning the 30 year serves agreement between the City and the District for a new short-term contract. Also referred to as the “Fixed Compensation Term” Agreement commencing on January 1, 2018 and ending on June 30, 2019.
On June 21, 2018 the District Board of Directors unanimously voted to move forward with hiring employees and re-staffing the District Fire stations, the following directions was given: The Board directs the Operation Sub-Committee to: 1) Notify the City that the District has elected not to renegotiate a long-term Service agreement; 2) begin the search for a District Fire Chief to conduct District business and formulate an operational transition plan with the City.