History

When the Walnut Ridge Fire Department started in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s it was a all volunteer deparment. The fire deparment hired paid members  in the  late 1940’s or early 1950’s. The original fire station was located where the glass shop is located now on N.E. Front street just up from the current Police Department.

 In the mid 1950’s, the city gave the Fire Department the old USO building which was the City’s community center . In 1955 an engine bay area and sleeping quarters and kitchen were added and this then became the main station. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the counties ambulance service was also house there until it was moved to the hospital in mid 1980’s.

 The department had the one station until 1999 when the Airport built a new terminal building and fire station. This station was fully manned in 2003 and designated “Station 2”.

  In 2008 the department purchased the old Cavenaugh Chevrolet building on Highway 67 B, remodeled it and moved the main Headquarters into it. The old station was torn down to the engine bay and sleeping quarters area. In late 2009 this “old station” was remodeled, manned and designated “Station 3”. Station 2 at the airport is now manned using an Intern program that the department has started with Black River Technical college. It utilizes 2nd year Fire Science students who work a shift with the department and in turn are reimbursed for their tuition and books for their 2nd year. This gives the students real world experience and on the job training they can’t get it the class room.

Old Fire Engine

The old engine at the airport museum is a 1940’s era Howe pumper. It was originally used at the airport when the airport was an active U.S. Army Airfield. It was restored by the fire department in the late 1980’s and was used in parades and fire prevention programs until it was retired and donated to the airport museum.

List of  former Chiefs:

J.J. Sharum 1941 – 1948

Joe South 1949 – 1951

R.A. (Bob) Owens 1952 – 1955

Wm. A. (Bill) Henry  1956 – 1964

Bob L. Smith 1965 – 1975

Gary Kearby 1976 – 1981

Mike Smith  1982 – 1983

Joe Coker  1984 – 1998

Wayne Masterson 1999 – 2002

Roger Duckworth  2003 – 2006

Alan Haskins  2007 – 2010

Frank Owens 2010-present

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