Sultan Fire Department was founded in 1911 as a municipal fire department, all-volunteer on-call firefighters staffed it. The Sultan's first town hall and fire station faced Fourth Street and were in the same building. This was before Stevens Pass Highway (US 2) was moved to its current location, bypassing Sultan's Main Street. Dr Copple's Chiropractic and Massage offices are now located there. The fire department's first two fire engines, a 1937 Chevrolet "Howe" and a 1923 Ford "Model T" are pictured to the right. Also pictured are volunteer firefighters from the late 1930s, Adolph Rode, Ellis Warner, Howard Cass, Vernon Love, Bob Heckman, Don Fulcher, Bob Donaldson, unknown, Alan Dunlap and Walt Champman.
Snohomish County Fire Protection District 5 was created on March 19, 1945, to provide fire protection to properties in the unincorporated town of Startup and areas surrounding the town of Sultan. The newly created district's first Fire Commissioners were George Startup, Nate Baxter and Chas. Tiffany. Prior to the founding of the Fire Protection District the town of Sultan provided this service. The town was not compensated for these services. In 1939 the State of Washington Legislature passed a Chapter 60 of the Laws of 1933. This allowed creation of "fire protection districts outside cities and towns. The district upon its creation, contracted with the town of Sultan to provide fire protection services.
In 1992, the City of Sultan was annexed into the Fire District; this formally merged the two jurisdictions. The Fire District then took over the administration and day to day operations of the fire department. The Fire District Commissioners appointed its first Fire Chief Ted Casey.
In 1999, the district hired its fire two full-time firefighters (Ron Berthold and Scott Clark) to supplement it on-call volunteer firefighters. The fire district hired its third full-time firefighter (Tim Tullis) in 1993.
The full-time firefighters strengthened the on-call volunteer firefighters' response to emergency calls. This allowed to the district to have 2 firefighters on duty during the daytime Monday through Friday. On-call volunteers continued to staff evenings, overnight, and weekends.
In 2004 the fire district purchases 7 acres on the south side of US2 one quarter mile east of Sultan Basin Road. The property had two houses on the property, one house was converted into the district administrative offices and physical training room. The other house was converted into sleeper quarters for our volunteers firefighters to sleep in as our current station had no sleeper dorms. A pole building was built to house A51.
The district received a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2006. The SAFER grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. With these additional three fulltime firefighters the district was able to staff the fire station with three firefighters/EMTs during daytime (6 am- 6pm). Overnight response continued to be covered by on-call volunteer firefighters/EMTs.
Over the next 10 years, the district increased its on duty volunteer staffing. Moving away from on-call volunteer staffing, by putting the volunteer in the station during the day and in the sleeper quarters at night greatly improved our response times for at least EMS calls.
In 2015, due to the gradual shift of our volunteer firefighter not living in the Sultan community, the district converted most of the existing volunteers to part-time employees. During this transition, the part-time firefighters were required to work a minimum of 48 hours each month. Part-time or the remaining volunteer firefighters that lived in district were encouraged to continue to respond as on-call and work shifts overnight.
In late 2017, the board of commissioners agreed to move forward in building a new fire station. The city of Sultan's mayor Carolyn Eslick, Sultan School District's Superintendent Dan Chaplik and Snohomish County Sheriff Office along with Snohomish County Fire Chief Merlin Halverson lobbied the State for a Capital Improvement Grant for $1.5 million to help build a Public Safety Center that included room for a much needed community Emergency Operation Center (EOC). Much, if not all, of the City's, School's and Police's infrastructure is located in the lower area (about 110 feet above sea level) of the city. Our highest risk is major flooding or a Culmback Dam failure, which if happened, this whole area would be under 45 feet of water.
In 2018, the fire district hire Lawhead Architects and conceptual drawing were created, those drawings were refined to come up with a plan to build a Public Safety Center with; 4 double deep bay station with an open bay, 7 sleeper dorms, physical training room and kitchen/ dayroom. It also had a community meeting room that will also be used as the department's meeting room/ emergency operation center (EOC). Administrative offices were also added to accommodate the district secretaries and chief officers.
In April 2019 the issue was brought to the community-s to approve the funding package of issuing $8 million in General Obligation Bonds. The issue passed with 67% approval.
In May 2020 The district awarded the construction contract to TRICO Companies of Burlington. They started the project in June 2020 and are expected to completed in 10 months or April/May of 2021.
An early drawing of what the new Public Safety Center - Fire Station 51 might look like.