Riverside County Fire Department
From the days of the bucket brigades of colonial America and the range, and forest and brush fires of the early west, fire protection has demanded one dominant element - cooperation. Unlike many other public services, political and jurisdictional boundaries are intentionally minimized through a complex system of agreements. Included is mutual aid and functional consolidation, to maximize efficiency and protect against the common public enemy - uncontrolled fires.
CAL FIRE (formerly CDF) contractual relationship with Riverside County dates back to 1921. Those first contracts were only to augment the level of wildland fire protection provided by the State. CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department, as we know it today, started in 1946 with the appointment of Truman Holland as County Fire Warden. Truman was part of the County Fire Department operations from 1946 until June 30, 1969. Sometime during that period (mid - 1960's), Fire Warden Holland became Chief Holland, who has been described as a very colorful man. It was his innovative ideas in the 1940's and 1950's that developed the basis for what the Riverside County Fire Department is today.
Riverside County Fire Department's first "engines" were surplus Army vehicles. The ten-wheelers stayed in the fleet until about 1970.
Riverside County Fire Chiefs - Past to Present:
- Truman Holland - 1946 to June 30, 1969
- Elmer Chambers - July 1, 1969 to December 8, 1975
- David L. Flake - December 8, 1975 to July 31, 1984
- Raymond L. Hebrard - October 2, 1984 to October 30, 1988
- Glen J. Newman - December 14, 1988 to February 28, 1992
- J.M. Harris - March 1, 1992 to August 28, 1996
- Jim Wright - 1996 to 1999
- Larry Benson - 1999 to 2000
- Tom Tisdale - 2000 to 2004
- Craig E. Anthony - 2004 to 2006
- Tom O'Keefe - 2006
- John R. Hawkins - August 2006 to Present day
Each of these County Fire Chiefs helped to increase fire protection requirements. Their efforts have added to the safety and protection of our firefighters through more modern and better equipment, and in turn have increased the protection level for Riverside County residents.