Clark County Fire District 3 Celebrates 75 Years Providing Fire and Life Safety Services

BRUSH PRAIRIE, WASH. — Clark County Fire District 3 turns 75 this year and plans to celebrate this momentous milestone with community members at its Open Houses in 2023.

“We have been providing fire and life safety services for 75 years – and we simply cannot do this important work without the support and partnership of our community,” Sorenson said. “Our story begins with community members coming together to volunteer time and resources to protect people and property and continues to this day through your tax dollar support. We are proud to share this birthday with you because you made it happen.”

The fire district’s daily operations are funded by a fire levy that is capped at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Over time, the levy rate falls as property values rise to limit the fire district to roughly the same amount of revenue per year plus a 1 percent increase allowed by law. In 2022, the fire levy rate dropped to $1.34 per $1,000. The fire district serves 45,000 people in east Clark County, including the city of Battle Ground, and its career and volunteer firefighters respond to an average of 4,800 calls per year.

A brief look back at 75 years of service to the community
A group of farmers, store owners and truck drivers concerned about fire safety in the Hockinson community formed the Hockinson Volunteer Fire Department in 1947. The group built the community’s first fire apparatus to provide fire protection for the growing agricultural community. People donated fuel for the fire truck and fire apparatus was kept in barns and garages located strategically throughout the community.

In 1953, the state Legislature passed laws allowing for the formation of fire districts. Fire District 3 became the third fire district formed in Clark County with an operating budget of $2,000 per year (about $22,000 in today’s dollars). The newly formed Fire District 3 provided fire suppression and limited Emergency Medical Service (EMS) across about 80 square miles.

Fire trucks and apparatus were stored in Brush Prairie and in the first fire station located in the Kiive Building. The fire district bought its first new fire engine in 1964 and hired Don Breakey, its first full-time fire chief in 1973. Bill Miller, the first full-time paid firefighter, was also hired in 1973.

In 1975-76, Fire District 3 begins responding to all EMS calls in north Clark County. In the late ’70s, early ’80s, the fire district begins hiring additional career firefighters, including current Fire Chief Scott Sorenson in 1982.

Steve Wrightson was hired as fire chief in 1989. Station 31 in Hockinson becomes the first fire station to be staffed 24 hours a day. And in 1992 voters approve a $3.3 million bond to remodel stations, build new ones and purchase fire engines and equipment.

In 2016, Fire District 3 begins serving the city of Battle Ground out of Station 35, which becomes the district’s busiest station. In 2020, voters approved the annexation of Battle Ground into the fire district. Today Clark County Fire District 3 has five fire stations, 57 full-time and 10 volunteer emergency personnel and serves 45,000 people across east Clark County.

Clark County Fire District 3 Celebrates 75 Years Providing Fire and Life Safety Services

BRUSH PRAIRIE, WASH. — Clark County Fire District 3 turns 75 this year and plans to celebrate this momentous milestone with community members at its Open Houses in 2023.

“We have been providing fire and life safety services for 75 years – and we simply cannot do this important work without the support and partnership of our community,” Sorenson said. “Our story begins with community members coming together to volunteer time and resources to protect people and property and continues to this day through your tax dollar support. We are proud to share this birthday with you because you made it happen.”

The fire district’s daily operations are funded by a fire levy that is capped at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Over time, the levy rate falls as property values rise to limit the fire district to roughly the same amount of revenue per year plus a 1 percent increase allowed by law. In 2022, the fire levy rate dropped to $1.34 per $1,000. The fire district serves 45,000 people in east Clark County, including the city of Battle Ground, and its career and volunteer firefighters respond to an average of 4,800 calls per year.

A brief look back at 75 years of service to the community
A group of farmers, store owners and truck drivers concerned about fire safety in the Hockinson community formed the Hockinson Volunteer Fire Department in 1947. The group built the community’s first fire apparatus to provide fire protection for the growing agricultural community. People donated fuel for the fire truck and fire apparatus was kept in barns and garages located strategically throughout the community.

In 1953, the state Legislature passed laws allowing for the formation of fire districts. Fire District 3 became the third fire district formed in Clark County with an operating budget of $2,000 per year (about $22,000 in today’s dollars). The newly formed Fire District 3 provided fire suppression and limited Emergency Medical Service (EMS) across about 80 square miles.

Fire trucks and apparatus were stored in Brush Prairie and in the first fire station located in the Kiive Building. The fire district bought its first new fire engine in 1964 and hired Don Breakey, its first full-time fire chief in 1973. Bill Miller, the first full-time paid firefighter, was also hired in 1973.

In 1975-76, Fire District 3 begins responding to all EMS calls in north Clark County. In the late ’70s, early ’80s, the fire district begins hiring additional career firefighters, including current Fire Chief Scott Sorenson in 1982.

Steve Wrightson was hired as fire chief in 1989. Station 31 in Hockinson becomes the first fire station to be staffed 24 hours a day. And in 1992 voters approve a $3.3 million bond to remodel stations, build new ones and purchase fire engines and equipment.

In 2016, Fire District 3 begins serving the city of Battle Ground out of Station 35, which becomes the district’s busiest station. In 2020, voters approved the annexation of Battle Ground into the fire district. Today Clark County Fire District 3 has five fire stations, 57 full-time and 10 volunteer emergency personnel and serves 45,000 people across east Clark County.

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