Fire Department History

Pinckneyville Fire Department 1909

This is a historical outline of the Pinckneyville Volunteer Fire Department.  There have been many changes to the department throughout it's history and we admire our forefathers for the dedication, hard work, and protection of the citizens of Pinckneyville.  From the very beginning with hooks and ladders, buckets, and hose wagons, to the motorized chemical trucks to the modern firefighting apparatus that we have today, the cost of fire protection keeps going up.  We give special thanks to the special people that are willing to give their time and risk their lives to protect their community.

 More detailed information regarding our Volunteer Fire Department can be found in Fire! A History of Pinckneyville Area Fire and Rescue written by Tom Bardle.


First recorded information pertaining to a fire department in Pinckneyville was January 11, 1858.  Hooks, ladders and buckets were procured for a hook and ladder company.


1857 – First Fire Equipment placed into service: 4 hooks, 4 ladders, 6 buckets, and a wagon.  Firemen were notified by ringing a fire bell.


1888 – Pinckneyville appropriated $4,500 in bonds for a waterworks project that fed the first fire plugs,  one on the northeast and one on the southwest corner of the square. 12 new rubber fire buckets were purchased for $19.35.  Pinckneyville's population had grown to a town of 170 people.


1890 – 600 feet of 2 ½ inch hose and a baby mine hose wagon were purchased at a cost of $ 196.00


1892 – An organized volunteer fire company was established.  Dick Harris was the first fire chief.


1893 – A hose carriage was purchased for $110.



1894 – A temporary fire house to house the hook and ladder wagon, the hose wagon and the hose carriage was built within 100 feet of today's firehouse.


1896 – A gong was installed on the fire wagon  and a new fire plug was installed in front of the fire house.


1901 – Firebell broke and a new one was purchased in January 1902.  Today, this bell is hanging in the bell tower of St Pauls United Church of Christ and still rings every Sunday morning.


1903 – A telephone was installed in the department headquarters.


1906 – A permanent firehouse was built with the cost not to exceed $5,000.  This was a 32' x 50' building complete with a concrete floor and a hose tower.


1910 – Fire calls are received by telephone and electric lights were installed in the firehouse.

1920 – The last year horses were used in the department as they were sold to buy fire hose for a new engine.  The first gas powered chemical fire truck, a ¾ ton chain driven Oldsmobile,  was purchased at a cost of $1,300.  A chemical fire engine was positioned where it was needed, then sulfuric acid was released into the tank causing a chemical reaction.  This reaction would create a 175 psi very quickly.


1925 – A new Chevy chemical truck was purchased for approximately $1,700.


1933 –  A 1 ½ ton firetruck with a 350 gallon booster tank and a 250 gallon per minute pump were purchased to replace the Oldsmobile at a cost of $2,200.


1936 – A large siren was purchased to notify firemen of calls.


1937 – A new city hall and fire department were built at 110 South Walnut.


1939 – The department’s first fish fry was held at Twin Oaks cabin on Beaucoup Creek with about 40 people in attendance.


1941 –  A new Chevy fire engine was purchased for $5,000.  This new engine had a 500 gallon per minute pump and a 350 gallon booster tank.


1942 – The first breathing apparatus was purchased for $8.45 each


1946 – The first SCBA was purchased at a cost of $350.


1949 – A Chevy panel truck was purchased as an emergency rescue and equipment truck.


1952 – The first enclosed cab truck, a Chevy central fire engine, was purchased for $7,797.50.  This truck had a 500 gallon booster tank.


1955 – The Pinckneyville Rural Fire Protection District was established.  The fire district is a separate entity from the Pinckneyville Fire Department and provides for protection for all areas outside of the City limits.  Their equipment is housed in the City’s fire station.  Both departments share manpower.


1956 – The first year the Pinckneyville kindergarten class visited the fire department.


1957 – The first wireless communication equipment was purchased and included a base station and a mobile unit for $152.


1959 – An Emergency truck was purchased from Hubler Motor Sales in Pinckneyville for $3,800.



1965 – The City purchased a pumper truck for $17,847.28.  This truck was recently declared surplus and taken out of service.



1969 – Burn Ordinance passed allowing residential burning only between the hours of 6am – 6pm.

1970 -  On March 2, 1970 a Ford pick up truck with a 10KVA military generator and 8 mounted Quartz lights was put into service at the cost of $8,000.


1976 – The Fire Department took over the ambulance duties in a 1959 panel emergency truck.


1978 – The City purchased its first diesel fire truck at a cost of $55,796 which replaced the 1941 Chevy.

1990 - A 1977 Chevy box rescue ambluance was purchased and converted into an emergency rescue truck.  



1991 – The current fire station was completed.  Also our newest pumper that we have, a 1992 Ford, was purchased for $148,579.



1996 - a 1974 Ford was purchsed to replace the smaller emergency truck for $45,000.


1999 - Perry County became 911 enhanced.


2010 –  The City was successful obtaining a $24,000 small equipment grant from the State Fire Marshall’s Office.   This grant will enable us to purchase 5 self-contained breathing apparatus known as SCBA.  Firefighters need these air packs so they can breathe in smoky or hazardous conditions.


2010 – The City agreed to purchase a new fire truck at a cost of nearly $340,000.  This truck will be replacing the one bought in 1978.

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City of Pinckneyville, Illinois ©2010