Santa Clara County Fire Department

Los Altos County Fire District - Historic Photographs - Page 3

Loyola Loyola
left: from the collection of George Dunham

right: Los Altos History Museum

Two shots of Loyola station. Left photo lineup: Chief Bassett, next to chief's car, and firefighters Anderson, Norton and Brummett next to a Mack pumper. Photo 22 January 1954. Right photo taken October 1955. Note the two separate bay doors, later replaced with a single, double-wide door during the station's renovation in 2000.

Los Altos historical news photo Los Altos historical news photo
both: Los Altos History Museum

Left photo: Firefighters test their new 1956 International/Coast pumper. It was the department's fifth truck. Photo 1 March 1956, by Helga Melgar. Right photo: Two second grades from Hillview School, Los Altos pose with driver Don Fosnaugh. Los Altos Times photo by Merlin Jones, 1956. Both photos from a newspaper articles.

In 1958, the Dodge tanker was converted to engine for the price of $1,800.

from the collection of George Dunham

Chief Bassett next to Pickup 6, a Ford equipped with an Ansul extinguisher. Photo October 1958.

During 1959, all hose-coupling threads were converted from the obsolete Pacific Coast thread to the nationally adopted National Standard thread, bringing the department more up to date. A study was made to a certain the feasibility of a fire station being built on the Foothill College campus.

The electorate within the City of Los Altos voted in November 1959 to withdraw from the LACFD and form a City Fire Department. The effective date was June 1960, at which time the City assumed ownership of all the equipment and personnel previously controlled by the LACFD. The LACFD continued in the town of Los Altos Hills, and the adjacent unincorporated areas, and contracted with the City of Los Altos for fire services. Los Altos operated from the downtown (State St) and Loyola stations.
losaltos_headquarters personnel
Los Altos Fire District Archive

A Public Relations photo of Headquarters Personnel. Photo is dated 3 March 1959.

Vince Tandin
from the collection of George Dunham

Firefighter Vince Tandin on a Mack pumper. Photo December 1959.

Los Altos historical news photo Los Altos historical news photo

Los Altos historical news photo

all: Los Altos History Museum

(Newspaper Article) WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1960

There's one school in Los Altos that's never been on double sessions. On the other hand, there's no school so subject to abrupt interruptions.

The Los Altos Fire Department's fire-fighting classes hear their lectures in a dormitory full of neatly made beds. Their laboratory may be beside a ladder or, as in the pictures, on an unoccupied patch of parking plaza. No one knows where final exams will be; a fire can happen anywhere.

During their 24 hours of duty, Los Altos firefighters receive at least two hours of instruction from their shift captain. Assistant Chief James Pirie supervises the teaching, which includes, for instance, work in driving, ladder handling resuscitation, first aid, tool and equipment use, and such cranial exercises as hydraulics theory and elementary physics. First-year men, known as "probationaries," have the initial task of memorizing street locations and the sites of the 650 hydrants in the 17-square-mile area served by the department.

The department has 21 men under the rank of captain, seven of whom are in their first year. They are divided between the downtown and Loyola stations, two shifts to each. The old-timers take instruction, too, to keep brushed up. Officers take advantage of classes offered by the state.

These pictures were taken during a morning training session when the firemen - none of whom, incidentally, wear red suspenders - received lecture and field instruction.

Top left: One of the department's four captains, Robert Henshel leads a discussion of hydraulics.

Top right: Captain Henshel and Al Law are involved in a practical application of hydraulics theory.

Bottom: Jack Wimer adjusts the truck's pumping mechanism under Captain Henshel's supervision.

Los Altos historical news photo
Los Altos History Museum

Forty-one firemen from Stanford, Palo Alto and Los Altos companies battle a 15-acre blaze on Stanford University foothills land Sunday afternoon, circa 1960. Photo from newspaper article.

Los Altos historical news photo
Los Altos History Museum

In 1962, when Los Altos decided to switch the color of the engines from the traditional red to a safety-inspired white, the firemen offered to handle the painting chores in a huge savings of money to the City. This saved the city $400-600 per engine. From a newpaper article, 8 November 1962.

In 1963, the 1941 Mack was sold and a new International was stationed at Loyola station.

The EL Monte station (in the LACFD area) was placed in service in 1963-1964 in the old carriage house.

In 1966, the big event of the year was the White Cliff fire. This was the biggest fire the Los Altos area had ever suffered as the total damage for the fire was $363,945. Also, during 1966, plans to construct a new Sequoia station were started. In 1967, work was begun on the new station (now known as Los Altos station).

The city of Los Altos built the replacement Sequoia (current Los Altos Station) in 1968.

The Los Altos County Fire District name changed to Los Altos Hills County Fire District sometime in the mid-1990's to better reflect the service area.

The new (replacement) El Monte Station built by the Los Altos Hills County Fire District on 29 June 1996.

Both Los Altos (city) and Los Altos Hills (Fire District) jointly contracted with the Santa Clara County Fire Department for service starting July 1996. For additional historic information and photos, see the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills historic pages.

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