By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Before 1914, that wasn't the case.
Clallam County District No. 3 Fire Chief Steve Vogel, an amateur historian in his spare time, said lack of fire protection is why the town of Dungeness burned a number of times in the early part of the 20th century.
“We've come a long way from the bucket brigades,” Vogel said.
A celebration of the century of the various incarnations of the Sequim Fire Department is set this Saturday.
“It's going to be a riot,” promised Steve Chinn, District No. 3 volunteer captain and co-chairman of the fire district's centennial party.
“Luckily, we'll be prepared for any emergency.”
Antique truck parade
The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. with a parade down Washington Street that will feature more than two dozen antique firetrucks from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.
“We wanted to make it a big deal because none of us are going to be around for the next 100th anniversary,” Chinn said.
Honor guards and bagpipe crews from Snohomish County Fire District No. 7 and the Sydney, B.C., fire department will lead the way as the parade runs from the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street across downtown to Brown Road.
The parade will end at the James Center for the Performing Arts, north of Carrie Blake Park, where there will be children's activities, vendors, food and music from such acts as Sequimarimba, Locos Only and Black Rock from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Airlift Northwest medical helicopter will land at 1 p.m.
At 9 p.m., attendees will be asked to stop, drop and get down for the “Burning Down the House” dance party at 7 Cedars Casino, 270756 U.S. Highway 101 in Blyn.
There will be no cover charge. A disc jockey will be provided.
Commemorative T-shirts, hoodie sweatshirts and other items will be available.
The Aug. 15, 1914, fire recorded by the Sequim Press was the first deployment of the volunteer fire company and bucket brigade that had been officially formed by the infant city's council March 11.
The first piece of equipment purchased for Sequim's fire brigade was a fire bell purchased for $25.50 from Graham Fire Apparatus Co. on July 1, 1914, according to Vogel's research.
Eventually, the city purchased a 40-gallon chemical engine and a hose cart that were pulled by six to eight men.
In December 1923, the city bought a used Model T for the department at a cost of $250.
Now, the fire district has seven stations that respond to more than 5,000 calls a year from a 140-square-mile coverage area that ranges from Gardiner to Deer Park.
The department operates on a $6.5 million annual budget derived from a property tax levy.
Fire District No. 3 has 49 employees in various roles, Vogel said, and 79 volunteers who do everything from fighting fires to acting as paramedics to aiding communications.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.