Fire Department History
On June 1, 1945, the Oak Forest Volunteer Fire Department was formed with funds collected by local residents. Although it was a department of the city, it served the community and surrounding unincorporated areas.
The first fire chief was Frank Davis, who served from 1946 to 1948. In 1946, a Chevrolet Pumper was purchased for $7,200. Additional equipment was purchased utilizing generous donations from the community. The first fire station was located at 16210 South Cicero Avenue (Dunker's Garage).
The First Fire Station
In 1951, a deposit was paid to acquire property at 156th Street and Cicero Avenue to build a new fire station. Local businesses advanced $18,000 to help build the new station. Additional contributions were made by the Forest Ridge Women's Club and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fire Department. In January 1954, the new fire station was put in service. Ironically, the first fire call to come into this station was at Dunker's Service Station.
In 1960, the department received its first two-way radios. It no longer had to rely on the police department's radios or a local phone. Before that time, volunteer firemen were notified by the fire station's siren or by wives' calling the homes of volunteers.
In 1973, a new station (currently Fire Station 1) at James Drive was completed and the department hired its first full-time dispatcher/secretary.
Fire Station 2
In 1974, Fire Station 2 at 16501 South Cicero Avenue was completed. It replaced a metal building on property at 167th Street and Cicero Avenue. The new station flooded many times until it was replaced with the present Fire Station 2 at 4907 W. 167th Street in 1988.
Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Kot
On October 21, 1962, due to a fire department accident, Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Kot was killed in the line of duty. He is the only member ever killed in the line of duty.
In May 1967, the Village of Oak Forest took over the fire department by passing a referendum to provide funding for it. This occurred because the Oak Forest Volunteer Fire Department could not keep up with the growth of the village nor raise enough money to buy the necessary equipment. The first two full-time firefighters were put on duty in January 1969.
Emergency Medical Technicians
In 1973, the department initiated training for emergency medical technicians. Prior to this time, firefighters only received American Red Cross First Aid training. A Ford station wagon was used to transport patients to the hospital. In 1974, the initial group of emergency medical technicians went on to complete paramedic courses (EMT-P). This was the start of paramedic service in Oak Forest using van ambulances.