The story of the North Washington Fire Protection District really began in 1946 when a farmer’s home caught fire and, in spite of the efforts of his neighbors, it burned to the ground before firemen from the South Adams County Volunteer Fire Department reached the scene.Based in Commerce City, The South Adams County Fire Department was across the South Platte River from the farm community, which is just north of Denver between the Platte river and Pecos street.
Gosper Ferrero, one of the founders and first volunteer Chief of the North Washington Volunteer Fire Department, called some of the farmers together and proposed that they organize to protect their property.The meeting was held at the Mapleton School on April 23, 1946, and approximately 30 people from the community attended. All agreed the area needed a fire department and the name and place voted on. Money to start the department came in as volunteer donations from farmers in the district. The only piece of equipment was an old Chrysler pumper towed behind farm trucks. Several farmers had hitches put on their trucks and took turns pulling the pumper.
When word of a fire reached the volunteers, they left their fields, jumped into the nearest vehicle and sped to the scene. Some had hose connections on their farm pumps. Sometimes the hoses were dropped into streams or ponds, because there were no fire plugs in the district. So by collecting donations from the farmers in the district, two men from the department went to Salt Lake City and bought a green Army surplus fire truck, bringing the vehicles in the department to two. The vehicles were housed where ever convenient, in garages and barns of some of the firefighters.
In mid 1947 the volunteers got together with the donated help from the carpenter and brick layer and built a two bay fire station on a piece of ground on east 68th street donated by Mr. and Mrs. Mike Cominello. With the new building there were needs for many furnishings and so the first Ladies Auxiliary was formed and they held a Bazaar with the proceeds to be used to purchase the first 100 chairs.
In 1950 the North Washington Volunteer Fire Department became a Fire District and a tax dollar started to take the place of sporadic donations. Firemen were still working as volunteers. In 1957 a new ford fire truck was added to the rolling stock. In 1959 the department bought a surplus Army Jeep and mounted a generator on it to give light at the scene of the fires and to run the equipment where there was no electricity. Fighting fires was only a part of their job. The men were often called on to provide emergency transportation to the hospital, sometimes not far enough ahead of the stork.
Donations from the individuals and the Thornton Kiwanis club, spearheaded by Dr. C.J. Roberts, the department doctor until his death in 1993, made it possible to purchase a Ford station wagon. The men pulled out the back seats and converted it to an ambulance. That was the first ambulance in the district and the service was provided free to the tax payers in the district. Because of rising cost to man the ambulance this service was discontinued and the department began contracting to ambulance service companies.
North Washington Fire Protection District became a paid fire department in 1964. George Mazzotti was one of the original founders and became the first paid Fire Chief in 1974. Today the department has grown from 45 volunteers to 54 paid Firefighters, 14 Reserve Firefighters, and 5 administration employees. North Washington Fire protection District covers 16.5 square miles. In 1994 the Ambulance was brought back to the district and staffed with Firefighter/EMT’s and Firefighter/Paramedics.