Department History

Station 22 in the early 1960's
Station 22 in the early 1960's
The Bainbridge Island Fire Department has served our community for over 80 years. In the summer of 1942, Louis W. Sinnett formed Kitsap County Fire Protection District Number 2. At that time, the Department had one truck and 16 volunteers called by telephone at home to respond to fires. By 1955, a fire station in Winslow was manned by volunteers, who dispatched all fire calls.
   In 1958, Chief Sinnett retired and was replaced by Chief "Squirrel" Callaham. The 1960s were a decade of growth for the Department. That year, two Ford "attack" pumpers were purchased, and in 1961, another pumper and a pumper/tanker were purchased. In 1969, two Ford tankers were acquired, and the Department hired three full-time dispatchers. A Seagrave pumper was purchased in 1970, providing the Department with its first diesel-powered truck that could pump 1750 gallons per minute – over three times the flow of the attack pumpers. At this point, the Department had obtained eight pieces of apparatus through donations and community support.
    In 1971, Don Beach became the Fire Chief. By 1972, airlifts began to speed up transports using Army MAST helicopters. In 1976, the answering and dispatching of all emergency calls were taken over by the 911 center in Bremerton, "CenCom," as it is known today.
    By the mid-1970s, medical and first aid calls quickly became a mainstay of the Department's operations. With these changes in response needs, the Rotary Club purchased a defibrillator for Department use. Two fully equipped Aid cars, purchased in 1975 and 1976 through donations and Rotary Club support, provided the Department with the most up-to-date aid equipment available to respond to the growing number of medical calls.
    Under Chief Beach's direction, the Department began offering CPR classes to the public in 1974 and introduced Public Education classes in the local schools.
    The Island's first paid shift firefighters began work in 1978. Before being hired, Gary Clough, Mark Hannon, and Lloyd "Butch" Lundin had each been a volunteer or a dispatcher for the Department
    The next 20 years marked rapid growth and expansion for the Department. In the mid-1970s, the residents of Bainbridge Island approved the construction of a new station located at the corner of New Brooklyn and Madison Avenue. With an increasing call volume, the Department needed funding to purchase more apparatus, build a new station, and hire additional paid staff. In 1993, the voters approved a levy increase, allowing the Department to meet some of those needs.
    1994 the Department officially became the "Bainbridge Island Fire Department”. As Bainbridge Island's commercial development increased, a ladder truck's viability was researched to provide aerial firefighting capabilities. In 1996, plans were made to construct new station 23 on the north end of Bainbridge Island, including a training facility for career and volunteer members.
    Increasing demands for emergency services guided the leadership of the Department to commit to creating a larger career staff to guarantee that responders would be available every hour of every day, including a team of Paramedics. 2005 the community approved a temporary levy lid lift to replace emergency response apparatus, including new fire engines and tenders. In recent years, the Department has acquired over $1 million in grant funds to purchase its members' safety equipment and recruit and retain volunteers. The focus on exploring cost-saving options has made the Bainbridge Island Fire Department a leader in resource sharing and has guided the district in exploring staffing programs to meet the increasing demand for services.
   In 2007, Hank Teran came to the Bainbridge Island Fire Department to serve as our current Fire Chief.  Fire Chief Teran has overseen a tremendous evolution in the Bainbridge Island Fire Department over the last decade. He has guided us through a significant growth period, resulting in greatly improved service to the Bainbridge Island community.
   In 2009, the first ever Emergency Medical Services levy passed, which provided funds to hire firefighter/EMTs to staff Fire Station 22 on Bucklin Hill Rd. on a full-time basis.  In 2015, voters approved a $16 million bond to replace Fire Stations 21 and 22. The Bainbridge Island Fire Department would soon have two new stations to call home and three fully staffed and operational stations from which to respond. Fire Chief Teran's strategic vision and leadership to implement that vision have brought the Department to a strong and sustainable position for providing emergency services to the Island now and into the future.