"Those that fail
to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
In 1888, a group of businessmen
headed by J. A. C. Blackburn conceived the idea of
organizing a company to lay water pipes and distribute water
from Diamond Spring. The company erected an elevated brick
water storage tower not far from the intersection of East
Walnut and Spring Streets. That reservoir continued in use
until 1900, when it was replaced by a 100,000-gallon
capacity elevated steel tank that stood near the old brick
one. It is known that the first water system included at
least some fire hydrants, for the first notation in the
minutes of the fire department organized in 1888 reported
that W. H. Dyer and C. H. McCubbins were appointed as
The Rogers Fire Department began as Rogers Hose Co.
No. 1 on November 22, 1888 when the first volunteers showed
up to form the organization. John H. Rebholz was named first
chief at this meeting. On December 13, 1888, Chief Rebholz,
secretary Q.M. Bixler and H.H. Miller were appointed to
draft the bylaws and constitution. They reported back six
days later, their report was accepted and the constitution
and bylaws were read by article and section and adopted.
The Rogers Hose Co. No. 1 was chartered December 19, 1888.
Over the next 10 years the fireman put on balls,
parades, and other festivals to support the organization.
They took their profession very seriously and expected
perfect attendance at meetings, drills and other
assignments. This mindset of perfecting the profession still
is true today. January 10, 1889 Rogers Hose Company reported
that the Buckeye Foundation would furnish an alarm bell, the
city's first fire alarm system. Now to
work out a code of fire signals: "Rapid ringing of Bell,
Fire. One tap for first ward, two taps for second ward,
three taps for third ward; four taps for fourth ward, one
tap, rest, and one tap and repeat, for practice or meeting.
There was one year, from October 1, 1902, to October 1,
1903, when the fire alarm was sounded but once. That was a
summons to a flue fire, which firemen were able to
extinguish without the necessity of connecting the hose.
August 1889, uniforms were ordered for the fireman to
wear. They began setting schedules for practice and drills,
weekly. Fines were issued to those members who missed
meetings and training. June 4, 1896 a committee was formed
to establish a seal for the Rogers Hose Company.
Throughout the 34-year history of Rogers Hose Co. No. 1
until it was formally reorganized in 1922 to become the
Rogers Fire Department as an integral part of city
government, it was made up entirely of volunteers. This
history still lives on in the hearts and minds of the men
and women of the Rogers Fire Department.
Today the Rogers Fire Department
has over 100 members and 7 fire stations. The
Department responds with 18 frontline
emergency response apparatus, including five engine
companies, two truck companies, one heavy rescue unit, four
ambulances, one airport fire response unit, two brush
pumpers, and one command unit. The Department has is
made up of all career firefighters with an exceptional
administrative staff lead by Fire Chief Tom Jenkins. The
training center in Rogers is an outstanding facility to
support the firefighters education and skills training. The
training center contains 2 classrooms and a apparatus bay
for inside drills. Outside, the drill tower, Flashover
trainer, and other props are used for practicing skills
evolutions. The training center is used by all communities
and hosts the regional fire academy for new recruits from
all over Northwest Arkansas. An annual Fire Department
Anniversary Dinner is held on December 19th every
year to remember the current members and those that served
the community in the past. The firefighters stay involved in
community events and fund raisers. The Rogers Fire
Department provides the community with exceptional risk
related service and is focus the effort to continually
improve. This is accomplished by all members committed to a
professional attitude and an extensive training regimen.
The big fire in Rogers broke out early in the
afternoon of September 3, 1909, and when the flames were
finally halted and the loss was counted, seven buildings lay
crumpled in ruins and an estimated damage of over $7,500 had
been done. According to old-timers who remember the blaze,
there was little or no chance to save the destroyed building
and the seven volunteer firemen spent their efforts to
protect warehouses across the street from the flames. It is
remembered that temperatures were over 100 degrees during
the day of the fire as the city was suffering from an early
fall heat wave.
City firemen battled the blaze for about six hours,
according to reports from those living here at the time.
Their equipment was inadequate but they used every means at
heir hand to keep the fire under control. Some of the people
present even remember buckets being used to get water to the
blaze. Following the blaze it was noted that additions were
made to the firefighting equipment in use in the town.
Property damaged or ruined by the disastrous fire included:
- The Ozark Hotel, which was a two-story
frame building. At the time of the fire the
building was owned by John Miller and
occupied by Mr. And Mrs. Maurice Stroud.
Estimated loss to the hotel was $2,500.
- The H. P. Hansen residence was destroyed
in the fire as well as all the household
goods of the family.
- The J. G. Steinhelber second-hand
clothing store burned. The building was a
small frame structure and loss was estimated
- The John Plyer grocery building, owned
by John Gardiner, was burned with an
estimated loss of over $1,000.
- The Kentucky House, a two-story frame
structure owned by Mrs. L. C. Howard was
destroyed and the loss was estimated in
excess of $1,500.
- The Wagonyard, owned by Mrs. Warren
Kellog, was burned. The structure was
occupied by the J. W. Brammer junk shop and
the loss was estimated at around $500.
Rogers Hose Company purchased its first motorized
vehicle in 1915, American LaFrance chemical truck that
cost $5000. This truck was purchased with the understanding
that it could be converted to a pump truck. However, the
cost of the conversion was almost as much as buying a new
truck, so the council decided to trade this truck in on a
1919 American LaFrance pumper at a cost of $8500. This truck
became known as Old Hulda and was retired in 1955.
1922 In 1922, the
Rogers Hose Co. No. 1 was reorganized to become the Rogers
Fire Department. Dr. George M. Love was the first chief
1923 T.F. Jacobs was the first paid firefighter for the
department. He joined in
1923 as a truck driver and became chief 30 years later. His initial
salary was $70 per
month and he was on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
1929 Rogers Fire
Department Station #1 was initially located on First Street
just north of Walnut. In 1929, it was moved to 212 West Elm.
This location served as the City Hall, Police Station and
Jail, and the Fire Department Headquarters.
Two substations were constructed in 1973.
Station 2 was built on South 17th Street and station 3 was
built on West Hudson Road.
1974 In 1974, the
Department accepted three ambulances, a 1969 Ford van, a
1973 GMC van and a 1974 Dodge. These ambulances had been
purchased by the city for the private ambulance contractor.
However, the contractor went out of business and the
department acquired the ambulance service. In 1984, the
department began providing paramedic ambulance service. The
first three paramedics were Tom Dee, Tommy Norwood and
Darrell Thomas. Today we have approximately 70 paramedics
and 4 ALS equipped ambulances with 3 as reserve ambulances.
Fire Department officials
said the fire began about 6:45 p.m., when a tar pot used in
roofing the Sears building ignited. The fire spread into the
Sears and House of Fabrics buildings soon after ignition.
Columns of smoke rose several hundred feet into the air and
flames could be spotted several miles away. The owners and
managers of the downtown businesses stood quietly. The
children gasped when the Snorkel from Springdale, like a
giant claw, swung across the flames, shooting a jet of water
into the inferno. Not scene in many pictures was a use of a
ladder truck from the City of Fayetteville who was operating
in the alley west of the museum. Without the help of
our neighbors this fire could have burned down the entire
city block. As the fire blazed up about 8 p.m. city
officials began to express concern over the fate of the
Rogers Historical Museum on First Street. The museum, which
shared a common wall with the Bible Book Store, suffered
only minor water damage, but records and artifacts were
removed by city officials and firemen for safe-keeping.
Finally, one by one, The flames went dark and sputtered in
the constant drenching from the fire hoses.
1997 The current Fire Administration Offices and
Station #1, located at 201/301 North First Street, was
constructed in 1997 along with a Training Facility on West
Fire Station 3, originally located at 400 West Hudson Road,
is relocated to the Rogers Municipal Airport / Carter Field
property at 1 West Etris Drive. The construction of
this station was realized through a partnership with
Wal-Mart and Beaver Lake Aviation. Before this station
was built, the department protected the
airport using "Quick Response 4", an ex-military vehicle on
loan to the city from the Arkansas Forestry Commission.
When this station was constructed the RFD also acquired its
first true ARFF vehicle, a 1988 E-One Titan, that was
retired in 2007.
2010 The Rogers Fire
Department held a fourteen (14) week
Rogers Probationary Fire Academy (RPFA) in cooperation with
the Northwest Arkansas Training Officers Association and
Arkansas Fire Academy. The RPFA consisted of eight (8) weeks
of training meeting the standard requirements of the NFPA
1001 and the Arkansas Fire Academy, and another six (6)
weeks of instruction with Rogers Fire Department training
officials. The Training Division that oversees this Academy
also has the responsibility to monitor the changing
requirements of standards and criteria established at the
federal, state and local level. The development of training
programs occurs through the research of new and innovative
training practices, and review of departmental curriculum.
The Training Division is lead by the Deputy Fire Chief of
Training and Special Operations, Jake Rhoades.
On August 24, 2011, the Rogers Fire
Department was awarded Accredited Agency Status by the
Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) in
Atlanta, GA. The department is 1 of only 155 agencies
worldwide to obtain CFAI Accredited Agency Status. The goal
of the CFAI is to assist fire and emergency service agencies
throughout the world in achieving excellence through
self-assessment, accreditation, and continuous quality
improvement in order to enhance service delivery to their
Rogers Hose Company #1 founded to protect the citizens of
the Rogers, Arkansas. John H. Rebholz is
appointed fire chief.
The first fire alerting system is installed for the city.
A fire bell, manufactured by the Buckeye Foundry, was
installed on February 7, 1889.
The first uniforms are purchased for the department.
The RHC begins to rent a room for use at the Applegate Drug
Store for $2.00 per month. This, technically, is
the first fire station.
W.D. Baker is appointed as fire chief
J.A.C. Blackburn is appointed as fire chief.
A committee of members from
the RHC begin researching the possibility of an electric
alarm system in the
city. The estimated cost of $100 make it an impossibility.
John Rebholz is appointed as fire chief (for the second
J.W. Frey is appointed as fire chief.
Only one fire is reported in
Rogers during this year.
A disastrous fire occurs in downtown Rogers destroying seven
buildings. A total of seven volunteer firefighters
worked to contain the blaze.
The RHC’s first fire truck, "Old Hulda", is purchased from
The Rogers Hose Company #1 is reorganized as the City of
Rogers Fire Department, an integral part of city
government. Until this time the entire department is
made up of all volunteers.
Dr. George M. Love is appointed fire chief of the city fire
A new Central Fire Station is opened on Elm Street,
replacing the city hall and fire station on 1st Street with
more spacious occupancy.
The first paid member of the
RFD, Frank Jacobs is hired.
The RFD assumes responsibility for EMS transport services.
Fire Stations 2 and 3 are opened at 1907 South 17th Street
and 400 West Hudson Road, respectively.
A major downtown fire occurs in the Sears-Roebuck store
downtown. Three buildings are destroyed and six
smoke and water damage. A Springdale Fire Department
snorkel truck contributes to the
of the blaze.
The department converts a 1979 Mack CF pumper into
its first ladder truck – a 65’ Telesquirt.
The RFD transitions to advanced life support ambulance
Enhanced 911 is installed and the police and fire dispatch
centers are combined into the "Rogers
Fire Station 4 opens at 2424 West Olive Street.
The department’s technical rescue team is created.
Fire administration moves from the Central Fire Station at
202 West Elm Street to 202 South 2nd Street.
The department opens Fire Station 5 at 2525 South Pinnacle
The department opens a Training Center at 3003 West Oak
Central Fire Station is opened at 201 and 301 North First
Streets. The new station includes
headquarter office space, a museum, and sleeping quarters
for fourteen firefighters under 25,000 square feet.
Fire Station 6 is opened at 5701 South Bellview Road,
protecting the city's rapidly growing west side.
The department opens Fire Station 7 at 3400 South First
The department demolishes and reconstructs Fire Station 5
due to significant mold issues.
The department's training center is reconstructed to update
its function within the department.