Our Opinion: Celebrate local fire department’s centennial

News Tribune editorial

If a fire engine is a regular parade participant, how many fire engines are needed for a parade commemorating the 100th anniversary of a fire department?

If your answer is more than 100, you have some idea of the scope of the four-day, centennial celebration of the Jefferson City Fire Department.

“We are hoping this will be the world’s largest parade of front line and antique fire apparatus,” said Capt. Tim Young, describing the event set for 10 a.m. Oct. 6 in the downtown area. “Approximately 110 fire engines are scheduled to be here. We’ve got departments from Ohio, Texas and New York City, including some units who were involved in the operations on 9/11.”

The parade is among a number of anniversary events, which will include:

• A gala at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Capitol Plaza Hotel. Tickets are available at the fire administration offices, 427 Monroe St., 634-6401, or Samuel’s Tuxedos and Gifts, 236 E. High St., 634-7267.

• A street fair Oct. 5 on Dunklin Street between Jefferson and Madison streets. The event will be hosted by the South Side Business and Old Munichburg associations.

• A fire engine rally at noon Oct. 6 around the Capitol, followed by a bagpipe and drum corps performance at 1:30 p.m. downtown.

• An open house and skills demonstration at 1 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Hyde Park Road training facility.

The local agency began as the Career Fire Department, established by a city ordinance signed Oct. 7, 1912.

Action by the city was prompted by state government, which requested updated fire protection for the Capitol after the structure was destroyed by fire, for the second time, on Feb. 5, 1911.

The career of firefighter has evolved dramatically in the past century. Modern firefighters must train and adapt to continuing changes in equipment, techniques and responsibilities. And, in their role as first responders to both accidents and fires, those responsibilities include dealing with life-anddeath situations.

Timely responses to prevent fires and protect our community have been a hallmark of the Jefferson City Fire Department throughout its history.

That’s something to celebrate — today and in the future.

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