Volunteers Firefighting in Pinellas Park dates back to 1912 when it was just a settlement of about 50 families. To protect their homes and property from the threat of fire, a small group of volunteers formed a 16-man firefighting unit. At this time there were only 2 fire departments in Pinellas County, with the closest one a good half hour away. Reportedly, it was shortly after a home burned to the ground that community leaders established the third department in the county; Pinellas Park Fire Engine Company Number 1.
In 1913, Pinellas Park firefighters, along with citizens in the community, banded together to build the first fire hall for Engine Company Number 1. The new building was constructed near the railroad station and was manned by a group of eager volunteers and a single horse drawn, two wheeled pumper.
By 1925 the population of Pinellas Park had grown to 2,000 people. The Fire Department purchased its first real fire engine, a 1925 American LaFrance pumper, which became known as Engine Number 1. This classic piece of fire apparatus served for many years as a front line engine. Today, the City proudly displays it in parades and special ceremonial occasions.
Growth & Volunteers
During the 1930s era of the depression, the fire department nearly ceased to exist. No new equipment was purchased and Pinellas Park was basically without fire protection. In 1943, the fire department was revitalized and a regular volunteer fire association was established.
During the fifties and sixties, the fire department continued to grow along with the City, until, by 1965, it consisted of 33 personnel, (8 paid and 25 volunteers,) and five (5) pieces of equipment. At the same time, the equipment was being increased and modernized, and the department's personality was also evolving. In 1958, the City decided it needed some full-time firefighters to run its fire department. The first full-time employee was Aaron Harrison who was appointed as Chief.
Chief Harrison was quickly followed by two additional personnel in 1960 and two more in 1962. Throughout the remainder of the sixties and seventies, the department continued to grow and shift from a volunteer force to a full-time paid force, until the volunteer force was finally disbanded in 1986. The eighties and nineties saw tremendous growth with new construction, equipment purchases, and annexation of surrounding areas. Along with the equipment and personnel, the facilities provided to the department were also increased and improved.
In 1976, the Department rented space in a strip mall on 49th Street and called it Station No. 2. In 1978, a new, four-bay fire station was constructed on 82nd Avenue which became the main station. During this period, the fire department began providing ALS Rescue services within the City limits. In 1982, a third facility was added to the Department with the construction of a new fire station on 94th Avenue. Changes in service followed with the addition of paramedics, hazardous materials response, public education, fire investigation, and other special divisions.
As of 2022, the department has 70 full-time firefighters and 17 administrative staff assigned to fire administration and fire stations 16, 33, 34, 35, and 36. The Department provides numerous services to the community and Pinellas County including the Pinellas County Hazardous Materials Response Team and Technical Rescue Team, Pinellas Park Police SWAT Paramedics, CPR training center, public education, emergency management, and a Fire Explorer Post.
The Department is an all-hazards organization that is prepared to respond to any type of emergency within our area of responsibility, as well as to assist neighboring municipalities when required. We look forward to providing outstanding service to our community well into the future.