CALL: Neighbors volunteer to serve neighbors

— The volunteer firefighters of the California Rural Fire Protection Districts serve their neighbors in fighting fires and responding to other emergencies.

The district patrons are served from five fire stations with six brush trucks, four pumper trucks, five tankers and a rescue squad vehicle.

Fire Station One on Jefferson City Road is the largest station at 120 feet by 60 feet. It has five bays for fire fighting equipment, an office, training room and conference room. Station Two is at McGirk, Station Three is on South Highway 87 near the junction with Route T, Station Four is on North Highway 87 at Kliever and Station Five is at Clarksburg.

The California Rural Volunteer Fire Department began in 1954 with a single new white GMC fire truck which operated from a bay at the California City Hall. At that time, the City Hall was a small facility at the corner of Stella and High streets.

When the city fire department expanded about 1969, California Rural relocated to a facility on Railroad Avenue.

In 1999, it was reorganized as a fire protection district supported by a tax levy.

Now, 59 years after beginning operation, the California Rural Fire Protection District (CRFPD) retains little of it's original makeup except for being governed by a five-member board as set up in 1999.

The current board members are President David Strobel, Vice President Glen Bayne, Secretary/Treasurer Shelly Hampton, members Steve Pate and Chris Clifford. Fire chief is Steve Walters and assistant fire chief is Terry Bleich.

California Rural has come a long way making its progress from a shared facility with one truck to a fire protection district with five facilities and 16 trucks.

The district has partnered with the Auxiliary and the 13th Bomb Squadron from Whiteman Air Force Base to upgrade facilities.

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