History of the Imboden Volunteer Fire Department
The Imboden Volunteer Fire Department began 1959.
Our first Fire Engine was a 1939 Chevrolet Cabless Truck purchased from the Valley Park Illinois Fire Department. The truck was housed in Jiggs Guthrie’s Station located at 3rd and Main Street, until a lean-to was constructed on the Main street side of this building which became our first Fire Station.
Leman Hackworth was our first Fire Chief, followed by Ray Poteet, Ricky Benson and our current Chief Chris Jones.
Imboden’s 2nd Fire Station was built in the early to mid 1970′s located at 3rd Street and Hickory Street. This was our City Hall and Fire Department. The building was constructed by volunteer labor from the firemen. This building is the current AET Ambulance shed. In the early days of our department firemen were alerted to a fire by a 220volt siren that was on a pole by the main street firehouse. A fireman would turn on a switch and then leave and respond to the fire hoping other firemen would hear the call. Assistant Chief Jim Jones stated this worked pretty well in the summer months when windows were open, but not so well in the winter months. On the lighter side he stated that on Halloween some pranksters enjoyed turning the siren on as a practical joke. Next came the “Fire Phone” which was a dispatch system in which every firefighters phone would ring continually, Firemen would pick up the phone and listen for instructions. The Original Phone Number for the Fire Department was a simple 4-digit number which is all that was used in those days, Assistant Chief Jim Jones remembered that it was “2593″.
In June 1968 Larry and Mary Lea Mcleod flew from Walnut Ridge Airport on a 4 seater “Mooney” plane to Roanoke Virginia to pick up Imboden’s first and only new firetruck. Larry stated that on the return trip home somewhere in Tennesse they had to stop for repairs on a leaking rear-end before they could continue home. This truck was named Engine 1 and is still housed in the city shop although it is out of service. Another story that Larry McLeod remembered was that Late one cold winter night in below freezing tempatures Jiggs Guthrie took the 1939 Cabless Chevrolet to Ravenden to assist them on a fire, he said upon arrival he discovered it was so cold that the water had frozen in the tank, valves and pump.
Joe Chappell noted that Steve Jones use to respond all over this side of the county to medical emergencies. Joe’s mother who was a nurse helped out on several occassions.
The fire department moved into its current firehouse/city hall in 1991.