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Boise Fire Department



  • Existence: 1876-


The Boise Fire Department began as an all-volunteer crew of 28 men on January 24, 1876. The first fire station opened in April 1876 in the converted blacksmith shop of George Washington Stilz at 619 Main Street. A fully funded department was established in December 1901 consisting of a part-time Chief, two part-time Assistant Chiefs, three Drivers, one Assistant Driver, one Engineer, one Hoseman, and pay-per-call Stokers and Firefighters. On November 1, 1903, E.B. Tage became the first full-time Chief after the Boise City Council passed an ordinance increasing the hours for the position.

Between 1932 and 1938 the Department focused their efforts on fire prevention which included educational programs and fire inspections. The first Fire Prevention Week was observed in 1935 and the position of Fire Inspector was created in 1938. In 1951 the fire combat training program was established, and the first State Fire School was held in 1952. Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) at the Boise Air Terminal was established in 1965 and a new station was built at the airport in 1966. The Fire Alarm Dispatch office which previously received emergency calls was closed on April 1, 1984, and the Ada County Sheriff’s office assumed the duty of dispatching fire calls. On January 23, 2006, the department began operation of the Advanced Life Support Engine Companies staffed with firefighters and paramedics.

The Idaho State Firefighter Collective Bargaining Act was passed in 1979 allowing for a local firefighter union to be created. A service contract with Whitney Fire District was signed on November 1, 2000, moving the employees under the Boise Fire Department, and absorbing two fire stations located on Overland Road and Amity Road. On December 31, 2009, a Joint Powers Agreement with North Ada County Fire & Rescue (NACFR) was signed adding the staff to the growing department but leaving the buildings and apparatus under ownership of the NACFR. NACFR Fire Commissioners and Boise Fire Administration work together on strategic planning for the district.

Today, the department operates out of 17 fire stations and responds to a 130+ square mile area, serving 225,000+ residents. The department has over 280 employees within the divisions of Administration, Operations, and Fire Prevention. The annual operating budget is approximately $49 million, with a capital budged exceeding $1.5 million.