Subscribe for 33¢ / day

Editor’s note: This column first ran Oct. 23, 2014, in the Times-News and on

There weren’t enough buckets in town to put out a house fire in the old days.

So in 1906, the Twin Falls Investment Co. donated a building and two lots for a fire station at Shoshone Street and Third Avenue North. Two 15-man hose carts with 500-foot hoses then were purchased for $110 each.

The Twin Falls Volunteer Fire Department, consisting of two companies of 20 men each, organized the following spring and moved into the new station.

But in 1908, the fire station burned down.

That year, voters approved a bond to build and equip a fire station for $10,000. The new station was built in front of the jailhouse at 240 Second Ave. S., and a new horse-drawn steam fire engine was purchased for $5,986. Fire Chief J.P. Taggart was hired at $15 per month.

Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox

In 1910, a smaller, paid fire department replaced the larger volunteer outfit.

In 1921, the fire department replaced its 1908 steam fire engine with a new American-LaFrance Triple Combination Pump Engine and Hose Motor Car that cost $20,000.

In 1935, the department increased its workforce to eight paid firemen. A decade later, it became first in the state to adopt a “three-platoon system” with firemen working 56 hours a week, instead of 84 hours a week under a two-shift system.

A new station, designed by architect Harald Gerber, was built on Second Avenue East next to City Hall.

Mychel Matthews reports on agriculture and rural issues for the Times-News. The Hidden History feature runs every Thursday in the Times-News and on If you have a question about something that may have historical significance, email Matthews at


Load comments