Agate Fire Protection District | 40160 County Rd 153, PO Box 146 | Agate, CO 80101 | Tel: 719-764-2771
The New Fire Truck in 1951
The Agate Rural Volunteer Fire Department was officially organized on December 13, 1950, when gasoline was 15 cents a gallon. Robert Mohler, William Anderson, Harold Scott, Walter Butler, and Emerson Thistlewood signed the official papers with the State of Colorado as the first officers of the Agate Rural Volunteer Fire Department. Robert Mohler signed as the first Fire Chief.Agate then had an official fire department with active volunteers, but without funds. A request for money went out to the community. In 1951, the firefighters performed a minstrel show as their first fund-raiser. The women in the community also played an enormous part in this show as they helped cook food, sew costumes, apply makeup, and anything else that was requested of them. The Agate School gym was filled with support from Agate and neighboring communities to watch the newly formed department of volunteers perform. It was a total community effort. Donations, large and small were received. A new 1951 two-ton Chevrolet truck was purchased for $1830.00 along with the material to build the 800-gallon tank. This was the sole piece of equipment owned by the fire department until 1977, when a local rancher, Jim Jolly, donated the money to purchase a used 4-wheel drive pickup. The fire department purchased a 1975 F-350 4x4 dually pickup and equipped it to fight grass fires. The department is still using this truck today. The original 1951 truck finally retired in 2001 with 2700 miles on it after 51 years of service. The old truck was no longer capable of responding to fires quickly and was in need of repair.The original fire house is still located in the town of Agate, but is no longer used. The old building had just enough room to fit the original fire truck. On May 11, 1979, Agate Rural Volunteer Fire Department received their certificate of occupancy to move into their new fire house located on First Street in Agate. It was a joint effort between Agate Mutual Telephone Co. and the Agate Rural Volunteer Fire Department to acquire this new firehouse. It still has a dirt floor and the department quickly outgrew this two bay building.For many years fire phones, which were located in a few homes throughout the community were used as the means for communicating the location of a fire. The fire call would come and those who had fire phones would call their neighbors on their line to report the location of the fire. Today, the department has a modern, state-of-the-art, communication system.From its beginnings until 2010, the sole resources for funding the department were through donations and grants. With very limited budgets of about $6000.00 a year, the volunteers managed to keep the department running and they continued maintenance on Agate’s fire-fighting equipment so when they were called upon, they were ready to respond. By the later part of the 1990’s the number of active volunteers began to dwindle and the live the department was challenged.During the summer of 2001, a few in the Agate Community realized the need for more modern equipment as the community started to grow. Meetings were held and committees were appointed. Larry Rector was elected as Chief. To help raise funds to move the department forward and to get a staff of volunteers properly trained, a barbecue was planned. Community members and businesses along the I-70 corridor donated money and supplies for the barbecue. The community rallied and over 200 people attended the 1st Annual Agate Rural Volunteer Department Barbecue. Over $5000.00 was donated to the department. In addition, neighboring fire departments came to the call and donated bunker gear, fire hoses, training classes, and other equipment needed by Agate. A few departments saw our need for vehicles and donated used brush, tanker, and rescue trucks to the Agate Rural Volunteer Fire Department. Later a building fund was established and donations accepted to build the new station at its current location.In 2009 the community served by Agate Rural Volunteer Fire Department voted to become a district with support from property tax levies. The first Board of Directors were elected with Barry Hollembeak serving as President, Kent Dyson as Vice President, Vic Craven as Secretary / Treasurer. Jim Craven and Lyndon Burnett as Directors. Larry Rector was appointed by the Board to be the first Chief of the newly formed Agate Fire Protection District (AFPD).The Department is staffed entirely by volunteers and like their founding fathers in 1950, they are extremely dedicated. Today, the AFPD has 13 active volunteers including 3 EMTs and 2 Paramedics. In addition, Agate is surrounded by a nucleus of support from farmers, ranchers, and townspeople that are always willing to help. Without the support of the community, it would be difficult to keep the department operating.The AFPD continues to hold its annual barbecue to help raise funds. This time is also used to thank the community for their continued support. It is a good time for the community to come together and learn firsthand what the AFPD has accomplished in the past year and allows the community to meet the volunteers.In its 63 year history Agate has been a busy department. Most fires are prairie fires or haystack fires. However, the fire department is receiving more emergency calls for structure fires, vehicle accidents, and medical emergencies. The AFPD covers over 400 square miles with a population under 600 people. It is the only district in Elbert County that covers the I-70 corridor. In 2012, the AFPD responded to over 100 emergency and fire calls.Today, the AFPD has five basic functional responsibilities:Fire Suppression: includes residential, agricultural, oil and natural gas pump and storage site, farm equipment, and wild-land fires. The Agate Fire Protection District provides fast attack firefighting in order to minimize risk to life, property and the environment.Emergency Medical Services: are provided twenty-four hours a day by a skilled life support team of paramedics and EMTs. AFPD owns and operates two fully equipped ambulances.Fire Prevention: is responsible for hazard abatement enforcement, approval of building plans, public education, environmental protection, and fire safety inspections.Training: of Fire Department personnel is conducted in accordance with the county, state, and federal standards. Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics receive updates on advances in techniques and technology, and participate in continuing education.Community Emergency Preparedness: includes training programs offered to organizations and individuals within the District. This includes a yearly educational event held at the Agate School.We have tried to share how our department began and where it is today. We give full credit and sincere gratitude to the original volunteers who saw a need and worked hard to bring the original Agate Rural Volunteer Fire Department to our community. And to the men and women who followed, and those that will follow us to keep it active and operating, may it always be here to safely serve our community.