January 5, 1915
The history of the Sheridan Fire Department starts on January 5, 1915. The Village of Sheridan purchased its first piece of fire equipment on this date. It was a chemical powered fire extinguisher mounted on a two wheel cart. The cart, along with hose, buckets, and additional chemical propellants was pulled by a volunteer force of firefighters. As one can imagine, the men often arrived on the scene completely out of breath from manually moving the equipment. Thus, the unit was monuted on a Ford truck.
In 1938 the department received its first modern style fire truck. It was a pumper with a 300 gallon per minute pump. This truck served with the department until the early 1970’s.
In the 1950’s the village purchased a new truck with a 300 GPM pump, 400 gallon tank, hose bed, ladders, and storage compartments. Thus, a true fire modern fire truck. At the same time, the department constructed a 1200 gallon tanker truck to aid with fire suppression.
The Sixties were a busy time for the department. In 1961, a new fire station was built. With the department receiving more calls for help with illnesses and accidents, the firefighters started getting advanced first aid training. The firemen built an emergency truck to respond to these type of calls to free up using the pumper truck. In 1968, the residents voted in favor of establishing a fire district to provide a more stable tax base to provide fire protection. Thus, the name of the fire department became the Sheridan Fire Protection District. The first trustees of the newly formed district were Kenneth Johnson, Harley Breuer, and Harry Foreman.
In 1972, the district purchased a Chevrolet panel truck and converted it into an ambulance. At this time, the firemen were trained as Emergency Medical Technicians. Thus, the department was now able to treat and transport patients to a hospital instead of using area undertakers for that service.
With more vehicles now owned by the district, more room was needed to park them. Some trucks at this time were parked at firefighters homes.
In 1984, the district negotiated with the village to provide more space. The village agreed to a 20 year lease to provide the current station space along with the current village garage for $1 a year. The district received financing from area residents to build an extension on the west side of the structure in 1987. With volunteer labor, the building now had equipment bays, storage and training facilities, meeting room, kitchen, radio room, and an office.
In 2000, the LaSalle County Sheriffs Department started dispatching calls for the department. Previous to this switch, the department operated with a fire phone system for over 50 years. This system was placed into 10-15 homes of firefighters and when a call came in hopefully someone was home to answer the phone. With the county dispatching the calls, they can take the information and then page all firefighters with relavent information.
In 2003, the trustees of the district decided that there was a need to staff the station with two EMT’s during daytime hours. The hours covered was from 8am-4pm. Today the hours have been extended to 7am-7pm every day of the week.
On January 1st, 2004 the department went to a paid on call status. This meant that all personnel responding to a call would be paid a fee. EMT-I’s make $25 per call, EMT-B’s make $10 per call, and firefighters make $5 per call.
In 2012, the department built a new fire station at 405 N. Bushnell Street. The cost for the new station was $1,319,000. On May 5th, 2012, the department started responding to calls from the new station. An open house was held at the station on July 15th in which a public Change of Quarters ceremony was held.
Department Fire Chiefs
Wally Beardsley Jr.
405 N. Bushnell Street
P.O. Bo 508 (mailing address)
Sheridan, IL 60551
(815) 496-2296 Non-emergency
DIAL 911 for EMERGENCY
(815) 496-3401 Fax