We rely on our cadre of volunteer fire and EMS responders, 4 Career Firefighters, Fire & Life Safety Officer, Deputy Chief, and the Fire Chief to provide the manpower to cover the needs of the community. In addition to emergency response, our volunteers provide medical and fire standby at events, help with fire and life safety education around the community and attend regular training to keep their skills and knowledge current.
We have been serving the citizens of Philomath since 1930. The mission of the organization continues to revolve around the principle of service to our community. Since 2016, PF&R responds to more than 700 calls, annually, and that number keeps growing.
The City of Philomath and surrounding areas receive prompt and efficient emergency fire and medical services from three fire stations strategically located within the service area of Philomath Fire and Rescue. Our fire district is comprised of approximately 58 square miles and serves a population of over 9,000 residents.
In 1906, fire apparatus was purchased by the City of Philomath including a hose cart, 500 feet of 2 1/2" hose, two clay pipe smooth bore nozzles and spanner wrenches for $540. The hand-drawn apparatus was the city's only means of defense at the time. The city only had four fire hydrants that were supplied by the Corvallis watershed. Townsfolk would roll the hose cart to the hydrant closest to the fire, connect to it and run towards the fire with hose. If you lived within 450 feet of a hydrant, chances were good you might have something left to move back into. For those who lived outside of the 500 foot perimeter, it was garden hoses and Bucket Brigades.
On March 19, 1930 a meeting was held under the direction of Roy Scott, a one-time pool hall owner, who saw the need for an organized fire department. He, himself, was nearly burned out of a business. That very night, 19 volunteers signed up to form Philomath's Fire Department and Roy Scott became the first Fire Chief.
Chief Scott envisioned the need for a motorized fire vehicle. The volunteer firemen canvassed Philomath for donations. They held fundraisers to collect enough money to purchase a Chevrolet truck chassis and other equipment to build Philomath's first fire truck, our very own "Old Number One"! Once completed, this fire apparatus gave homes and other structures a fighting chance for survival, both inside the city limits and in the rural area.
In the 90+ years that Philomath Fire & Rescue has been in existence, there have been 11 individuals who served in the capacity of Fire Chief:
- Roy Scott (1930-40; 1948-59)
- L. C. "Jack" Rees (1940-45)
- Hubert Hathaway (1945-48)
- Bob Morgan (1959-76)
- James Stinson (1976-80)
- Keith Boggs (1980-81)
- David Harlacher (1981-87)
- Dennis Schiedler (1987-93)
- Dale Staib (1994-2007)
- Tom Phelps (2007-2016)
- Tom Miller (2016-2022)
- Chancy Ferguson (2022-Present)
Philomath Fire & Rescue still relies heavily on volunteers to help respond to emergency medical and fire calls in the District. There are more than 40 volunteer firefighter/EMT's and EMS responders with the District. Philomath Fire & Rescue accepts applications for volunteer positions and holds academies twice a year to train new volunteers.