Come with me if you will to a time when the community of Oceanview was the home of residents, visitors, and stick built homes. Wood and coal oil stoves; creosote and flue fires; and cedar and fir shingle roofs. Wherever people have gathered and built homes, fire has the power to ravage our precious families and possessions. Homes, vacation cabins, and businesses were built on this land. Some were built from wood that washed ashore; some from buildings in the Willamette Valley that were dismantled and reassembled here; and some were built from lumber whipsawed up the Yachats River. As always when people stake a claim, they seek to protect what is theirs.
In about 1930 (give or take), folks living in the area of South Lincoln County realized there was no organized method of dealing with structure or wildland fires. They decided to form an organization to improve on this. Those folks joined together and called themselves Yachats Volunteer Fire Department (YVFD). A hose cart was obtained and was pushed and pulled by work-callused hands and sinewy muscled arms of loggers, sawyers, businessmen, farmers, and retirees. One of the first things the YVFD did was work with the phone company to install a fire box alarm that could be used to call in a fire. When a fire occurred, those who could, responded, closing stores behind them to go to the fire. They carried hand tools and drove or caught a ride, and looked to their elected officers for coordination of their efforts once on scene.
Needing money, they set up a system of “assessing” those who lived here. Those who could, paid, and the others apologized. Years went by; eventually several merchants pitched in and sometime after 1941 a 1933 Terraplane car was converted into a fire truck. The cost was $21.00.
In 1948 the YVFD came together with a plan to form an official district, and on March 8th, 1949, Yachats Rural Fire Protection District was formed. People living between Yachats and Waldport asked to be included, since Waldport Fire (now included in Central Oregon Coast Fire and Rescue) indicated that they were unable to offer protection there. The newly form YRFPD was able to levy taxes on improved property within its borders in exchange for fire protection.
As new construction materials and standards evolved, and a switch from wood and coal burning as the primary source of heat greatly reduced the incidence of house fires, fire departments responded to this change by becoming providers of rescue and emergency medical response to accidents and medical emergencies. A huge increase in the number motor vehicles also provided a source of demand for their services. Fire, rescue, and EMS is the new standard for fire departments.
Firefighters and EMS providers are the heart and soul of a community. Thanks for joining us!