The Pattonville Fire Protection District was established by members of the community following a fatal house fire in 1947. It was that loss of life that inspired members of the community to volunteer for the newly formed fire department and help protect their community. In the 70 years that followed, the Pattonville Fire Protection District has come a long way to evolve into the high caliber department that it is today.
In 1947, starting a new fire department was no easy task. While they had volunteer firefighters from within the community, they needed a fire truck on which to respond to calls. Money was raised through private donations and fire tag sales, and ultimately a fire truck was purchased. The next need was a firehouse in which to store the new truck and equipment. The Pattonville School District donated a section of land at 4008 Fee Fee Road, and the community rallied together and built a one-story engine house. Three fire hydrants were installed around the community during this same year.
In the Spring of 1948, the department changed its name to the Pattonville-Bridgeton Terrace Volunteer Fire Department to better reflect its expanded service into the Bridgeton Terrace area, and on September 7th, 1949, the volunteers formed a fire protection district. The department’s name subsequently changed to the Pattonville-Bridgeton Terrace Fire Protection District. An additional fire truck was also purchased at this time. The district's boundaries continued to grow, and by 1962 it encompassed our current service area of 29 square miles, which includes parts of Bridgeton, Maryland Heights, Earth City, and unincorporated St. Louis County.
To better serve the expanding coverage area, the original Station #2 opened at the intersection of St. Charles Rock Road & McKelvey Road in 1963. A third fire truck was also bought and stationed at this location. The fire district had eighty volunteers, and in October 1964 the district hired its first five career firefighters: Otha Lee Young, David L. Shepherd, Nick Sacco, Oliver E. Ries, & Larry Belford. Five years later, the fire district hired its first career Fire Chief, Robert E. Palmer, who served in that position until 1972. In 1974 the district became fully staffed by career firefighters 24 hours a day / 7 days a week / 365 days a year. The employees at that time organized and affiliated themselves with the International Association of Firefighters. The unionized workforce they established at that time proudly continues within the department’s employees to this day.
In 1981, the district began offering Emergency Medical Services to the community by staffing an ambulance with paramedics trained to provide advanced life support services. To this day, all employees are required to be trained as paramedics and firefighters to ensure the highest level of prehospital care possible to those we protect.
By 1988, the fire district employed forty firefighters, which quickly increased to fifty-five employees in 1990 when an additional fifteen firefighter/paramedics were hired to adequately staff the new engine house being built in the Earth City area. Station #3 opened in 1990 at 13900 St. Charles Rock Road, allowing the district to better provide emergency services to the growing population in that region with faster response times than ever before.
Through the mid 1990’s and early 2000’s, Lambert International Airport bought out the former Bridgeton Terrace area and made a significant expansion to the infrastructure of the airport. When the airport buyout was fully completed in 2007, the district renamed itself as the Pattonville Fire Protection District as the Bridgeton Terrace area had then become part of Lambert Airport. The airport buyout significantly impacted the apparatus needs and fire station locations required to adequately protect the District’s service area. Subsequently in 2008, the voters approved a capital improvement bond issue that funded the relocation of Station #1 and Station #3, as well as the purchased of two new ladder trucks, three new ambulances, and a compliment of the most technologically advanced life-saving equipment for the district’s firefighter/paramedics to use daily. The new apparatus and equipment were fully implemented into service in 2010, and the new Stations were opened just two years later in 2012 allowing for significant response time reductions and the faster delivery of life-saving services to our customers. In 2016, after these equipment improvements and station relations were complete, and with the help of an improved firefighter training program, Pattonville was awarded an Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating of 1, which is an honor only two other departments in the area have.
Today, Pattonville Fire Protection District staffs three fire stations with two state of the art ladder trucks, one pumper, two ambulances, two marine rescue boats, and a HazMat response unit. Fire district personnel include three board of directors, eight staff officers, fifty-two firefighters and paramedics, and five civilian employees.
While our name, boundaries, and engine house locations may have changed over the years, we are proud to say that our mission to do “Whatever it Takes” to provide safe, efficient, and effective community and emergency services through education, prevention, and emergency response has never changed. THANK YOU to the community for your continued support of the fire department that started 70 years ago, and for helping us to gradually evolve into what we are today. Always remember that Pattonville is your Fire District and we are your Firefighter/Paramedics ready to do “Whatever it Takes” to care for you and your family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!