Morgan Hill Fire Department History

The Morgan Hill Fire Department was established January 17, 1907 by ordinance #14 of the Morgan Hill City Council. The original department consisted of 15 members, a hand wagon, and a horse drawn engine.  

By June the first fire station was built to house its first hose cart. In November 1908, a 36" fire bell was acquired, for a cost of $70.81. However, by February 1914, the use of this bell to signal curfews was discontinued due to firefighters mistaking its ringing for a fire alarm. 

On May 15, 1917, a combination chemical truck was purchased, and eventually sold to the Burbank Fire District for $1,000 on June 22, 1926. 

On December 1, 1920, the town purchased a Ford La France Type E combination chemical fire truck for the sum of $1,420. In 1926 the town passed a resolution that prohibited the city's fire trucks from leaving the city limits.  

In July of 1929 The Fire department was relocated to the southwest corner of Monterey Road and West Main Avenue along with the New City Hall and Police Headquarters.  

In October of 1952 Morgan Hill Fire acquired their first dial in telephone service.  The Morgan Hill Operator was on duty Monday through Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. to answer emergency calls for the area.  All after hour calls were transferred to San Jose. In March of 1965 the department purchased an alerting siren, now located on Nob Hill, for $1,200.  

In 1968 dispatching services via Santa Clara County Communications were established.  This continued until 1970 when dispatching was changed to California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 

On October 15th, 1974, the El Toro Fire Station moved location from 20 West Main Avenue to 18300 Old Monterey Road. Shortly after the old City Hall building that housed the Fire Department, City Hall, and the Police was demolished. The cost of the new station was $150,000. 

In 1977,construction on Morgan Hill's second fire station, Dunne Hill, was started.  The total cost of the station was $145,000.  

Original MHFD Patch

Original  Morgan Hill Fire Department Patch

Morgan Hill's 

Fire Chiefs

Year
Chief
 2018 Jake Hess 
 2013 Derek Witmer 
 2013 Steve Woodill 
 2010 Kenneth Kehmna 
 2007 Kenneth Waldvogel 
 2002 Ben Lopes 
 1995 Doug Sporleder 
 1995 Frank Arnerich
 1974 Bradley Spencer 
 1972 William Lane 
 1967 Bert Embree 
 1965 Manuel Solis 
 1946 Lee Rosa 
 1941 Adrian O'Connell 
 1938 Lee Rosa
 1936 Ted Rizer
 1934 Lloyd W. Skeels 
 1930 Jay Robertson 
 1926 William Buchheister 
 1920 William Rice 
 1915 A. E. Buchheister 
 1909 George F. Boutell 
 1907 Henry Veit 
 1904 Charles Roberston 



“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even of supreme sacrifice.”

Original Morgan Hill Fire House

Historical Fire House