(Adapted from October 1996 special insert of the Canby Herald, written and researched by Myra Weston)
Canby’s first fire company was formed in June of 1899. At the time, the company was comprised of 22 members, 2 ½ dozen buckets, two lanterns, two axes and a 60’ rope. Later that same year, the city ok’d the purchase of a hook and ladder wagon to carry a 30-foot extension ladder, three 18-foot ladders, buckets and some pull down apparatus. Storage for this equipment was located in JF Deyoe’s building south of the railroad.
In 1909, the city bought a hand drawn, two-wheel chemical fire engine. In 1924, it was mounted onto a Ford truck. At a meeting in 1917, a second volunteer department was formed. At that time, there was a $25,000 water system in Canby with 30 hydrants and a 75,000 gallon water tank on a 75 foot tower. The department had two hose carts, the chemical engine and 1,000 feet of hose with three nozzles. A tower atop the current city hall housed the siren that summoned volunteer firefighters. On March 11, 1935 the first meeting of the Canby Volunteer Fire Department was held, where officers were elected and by-laws written.
In 1947, the Canby Volunteer Fire Department joined forces with the Canby Rural Volunteer Fire Department to form the Canby Rural Fire Protection District. As Canby continued to grow, there was great need for a bigger building. In 1953, a $24,000 concrete 60 x 80 building was erected at SW Grant and 2nd. Once again, in 1996 due to significant growth, the Fire District moved into a new 14,000 sq. foot building on S. Pine St. At that time there were 10 paid staff members and 35 volunteers providing service to the community.
In 1988, at the request of the City of Canby, The Canby Fire District annexed the City of Canby into the District. At that time, the city sold all of it’s equipment and ½ share of the station to the Fire District.
Presently, the building has been remodeled and a minor addition added to bring the building to 15,000 sq. feet. The bell that once sat in front of the very first fire station still prominently resides in front of todays station and the 1935 antique fire engine still provides memorable appearances during Canby’s special events. The staffing now stands at 18 career staff, 30 volunteer members and two administrative positions. Throughout the history of Canby Fire, one thing has remained the same, dedication and commitment to serving our community.