In 1888, the first volunteer fire company was formed in the City of Oceanside. For the next 38 years, a series of volunteer fire companies provided protection to the community. In 1925, the City purchased Oceanside’s first motorized fire engine. The American LaFrance Company delivered a Type 65, Class B pumper equipped with a 40-horsepower motor and a 300-gallon-per-minute pump at a cost of $8,500. The pumper was stored at the Oceanside Garage, the private business of Fire Chief Ernest White, as this was the only building in town suitable for storing a fire engine.
In 1926, the City re-organized the volunteer fire company into “Oceanside Engine Company Number One”. In 1930, the population of Oceanside reached 4,200 and the City opened its first fire station, located at the corner of Third and Nevada Streets. The fire station housed both the fire department and the police department; the fire department personnel included the chief and 18 volunteers.
In 1939, the City hired Richard Trotter and John Todd as the first full-time paid firefighters. Richard Trotter stayed with the department for over 40 years, becoming the Fire Chief in 1963. In 1953, the City opened Fire Station 2, located in South Oceanside at the intersection of Ditmar and Cassidy Streets. In 1962, Chief Trotter opened Fire Station 3 at the intersection of Oceanside Blvd. and El Camino Real. At that time, Station 3 was located at the very eastern edge of the City; however, it now sits in the City center and is the department’s main station, housing an engine company, a paramedic ambulance and the Battalion Chief.
In 1971, the Department opened Fire Station 4 on College Blvd. at Marvin Street. The following year, Chief Trotter instituted the first Fire Department Emergency Medical Technician and Ambulance Program. This fledgling ambulance program has grown into one of the most comprehensive and widely respected paramedic emergency medical services programs in the state.
In 1973, the Oceanside Fire Department opened Station 5 on North River Road serving the northeastern portion of the City. It was three years later when the city began providing paramedic services to the community, and has done so ever since.
In the 1990s the Department added Fire Stations 6 and 7, located at the intersection of Mesa Drive and North Santa Fe and at the old City Water Yard on Jones Road, respectively. In 1991, the Department relocated Fire Station 4 to Lake Blvd. and Thunder to better serve the southeastern areas of the City.
Fire Station 8 was opened in 2006 in a temporary location at the City Operations Center on the far east end of Oceanside Blvd. From its humble beginnings with one 40-horsepower fire engine and two paid firefighters, the Department has grown to approximately 128 employees with a daily staffing of six engines, two quint ladder trucks, four Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances and a Duty Battalion Chief. In standby or reserve status, the department has several reserve engines, 1 truck, four ambulances, two brush engines, a rescue truck, and one water-tender.