Modern History - 1990 to 2000
In May 1990, Hitchcock-Dery Agency, Stiles Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Hunt-Smith Agency, Brad Hoffman Agency, Professional Insurance and Farmer's Insurance Group purchased and donated a $900 Fire Finder. The first one that had been purchased and donated in 1980 broke and couldn't be repaired because it was obsolete. A special thank you is in order to those agencies who helped purchase this for the fire department.
In 1993, the department purchased a 1993 Dodge Ram pick-up truck to be used as a brush/grass truck. This truck is still in service.
On June 27, 1995, Fenton's fire department responded, along with 4 other departments, to give mutual aid to Holly (North Oakland County Fire Authority) for the fire at Holly High School. The 5-am fire was determined to be arson and damages were $2 million.
Testing Their Mettle
On September 23, 1995, five members of the fire department participated in the Firefighter Combat Challenge at Grand Blanc Middle School. The challenge, which is still run, is a competition based on the Combat Test (fire fighting tasks performed in emergency situations). It was designed to identify and improve the fitness levels of firefighters. Departments from all over the country participated. The Fenton firefighters that participated were Ed Hadfield, Craig Jensen, Rod Matthews, Jeff Shook and Jim Beswetherick.
On August 5, 1996, Fenton hosted a special fire training at Fenton High School. Ranger Insurance Company conducted a Propane fire safety school. Fire departments from Holly, Hartland, Wixom, Flint, Linden, Flushing, Gaines Township and Fenton participated.
On October 26, 1997, Mother Nature decided to play a Halloween trick on the Fenton area. We received 3 inches of heavy, wet snow that caused several trees to break and many power lines to come down. This kept the fire department very busy, running all over town.
A Deadly Rescue
On January 19, 1998 the department responded to a construction site accident on Silver Parkway. Working underground on the installation of a drainpipe, 2 men passed out from lack of oxygen. Only one survived. Recovery efforts were both difficult and stressful. The tunnel was 30 inches in diameter and the person they had to recover was in 180 feet from the opening.
On April 24, 1998, the American Red Cross recognized the fire department at their Salute to Everyday Heroes awards dinner. The department was commended on their efforts during the construction site accident.
Changes for the Department
In August of 1998, the Fenton Lion's Club, Kiwanis Club and the Downtown Merchants Association donated money for the purchase of a defibrillator to use in the event of heart attacks. The balance of the cost was covered through a nationwide grant program. The cost was $4,200 plus $500 for training. This defibrillator and associated training for the fire department has saved several lives in our community since it was put in service and a special thank you is in order to those organizations who helped purchase this for the fire department.
On September 1, 1998, Jamie Downing joined Fenton's fire department. This makes her Fenton's first female firefighter!
Schools around the country found themselves in the midst of problems after the Columbine High School shootings, and Fenton was no exception. On April 30, 1999, the fire department responded to Fenton High School for a fire in the men's public locker room. It was later determined that this fire was deliberately set. Fortunately, nobody got hurt.
Dawn of a New Era - 2000 to Present
With the City of Fenton growing and not showing too many signs of slowing down, the fire department's needs are also growing. The station located at N Leroy and Ellen Streets was not built to withstand the weight of the current fire trucks. We had outgrown the fire station again and we needed more space for fire trucks, training and the equipment needed to give adequate protection as the area grows. A solution was sought and had actually been discussed for many years prior to making a final determination.
The latest portion of our history will be published at a later date.