Kennewick Fire Department Celebrates 100 Years of Service
KENNEWICK, Wa. -- The Kennewick Fire Department is celebrating 100 years of service. Tuesday night Kennewick Mayor Jim Beaver read a special proclamation recognizing the department's 100 years of fighting fires, saving lives and protecting property. The fire department was all-volunteer until 1950 and wasn't a fully paid department until 1978. Several of Kennewick's former fire chiefs and firefighters were on hand for the proclamation. Jim Billingsey was a Kennewick firefighter from 1950 to 1975. "I just backed into it. I was a volunteer and all the volunteers took the test for the paid department. Nobody else. Didn't have civil service deal, you know," said Billingsley. When he first started, he was paid $240 a month. "We had a 1948 Mac, was a new one, but then we had a 1935 Ford and a '42 Ford. They weren't much good," said Billingsley. The fire department will be celebrating the centennial all year. In May, a time capsule will be opened that's been sealed since 1977. In 100 years of service, the Kennewick Fire Department has never lost a firefighter in the line of duty.