After a large fire in Moclips, in 1959, Bill Zack and Roy Tottie talked to the Aberdeen Fire Department to find out how they might start a fire department in the Moclips/Aloha/Pacific Beach area.

The Aloha Lumber Company purchased the first fire truck, an old G.I. rig, and the first ambulance “the Blue Bomb”: an old Chevy Suburban. The company kept the truck in a garage in Aloha (across from the tavern). Later, the company gave the district the garage and it was some time afterward that the commissioners discovered the district owned the building but not the land. ITT Rayonier owned the land.

Eventually, the bus garage at the old Moclips school (located off SR109 & Otis Ave.) was used as a fire truck garage until a new garage was built near the Moclips river. The property was given to the ‘Moclips Community Club’, and they turned it over to the fire dept. later.

Some of the first fire dept. members included Jim Harvey (who was a first aid instructor), Bob Harper, & (Wild)Willie Whitbeck. Most of the fire and ambulance crew were from the Aloha mill and could assist while on the job. It was indeed a “scoop and run” affair. The highest certification for the ambulance crew was Basic First Aid, until the State stepped in later and required higher certification.

In the ’60s, a fire hall was built in Pacific Beach (near 1st and Main). All three fire halls, Pacific Beach, Moclips, and Aloha were used until the new fire station was built, in 2002.

In 1978 the State mandated that the ambulance crew had to increase their medical certification qualification level to “Advanced First Aid”.

In 1979 a group of community members attended an EMT class, the first for this district. At that time there were about 10 ambulance crew members which included Myrna Figg, Chris Walthers, Kathy Balaki, Linda and Larry Shelton, Bob Webb, and Marion Keeney. Lolly Roberts attended the first or second EMT class also. There were 5 local dispatchers at the time, and you could say they were the pioneers of “networking”. There was one emergency phone number and 5 dispatchers, whoever happened to pick up the phone first, dispatched the ambulance.

Sometime between 1979 and 1980, The Aloha mill gave the community/fire dept. “the Blue Bomb”. It was an old baby-blue colored station-wagon that was converted into an ambulance without any markings that indicated it was an ambulance.

In 1980 the community bought a red and white Dodge Van ambulance from Quinault Fire Dept. for around $3,000 to $5,000. It replaced the Blue Bomb and was used from 1980 to 1983.

In 1983 the district bought a brand new 1983 Braun Northwest ambulance for about $55,000, through a bond levy. Vivian Matsen and Pat Davis traveled to Ohio to bring it back. The district also purchased the first real fire truck (E8-01). The 1984 pumper holds 750 gallons, pumps 750 gallons/minute and still looks and works great!

In 1984 a rebuilt 1978 model water tender, with a holding capacity of 3,000 gallons, was purchased. It was utilized for over 20 years, complete with its challenging manual transmission stick shift, “Arm-Strong” steering and double clutching maneuvers (lol).

In 2002 the present community center/ fire station was built, by the overwhelming support of the community, through their approval of a tax levy.

In 2004 the communities of Moclips, Aloha, Pacific Beach, and Seabrook, again generously supported the district in obtaining a brand new 2004 Northwest Braun ambulance through donations and grants. This time it was delivered to us……. from the manufacturer in Centralia.

In 2010 a refurbished 1994 water tender (T8-15, a.k.a. “Big Jon”) was purchased to replace our worn and declining 1978 tender. The newer apparatus holds 3,300 gallons of water, pumps 350 gallons/minute, and has an automatic transmission, a wonderful deviation from the old manual-everything behemoth. The new tender was paid for with proceeds generated from 2 Firemen’s balls. (The tender is strictly a water carrier and has no pumping ability).

In 2011 a couple of milestones occurred. Neighboring districts of (#7) Copalis/Ocean City, (#16) Copalis Crossing, and our district implemented an “automatic mutual aid” agreement for fire and accident incidents. If one district is dispatched to a fire or accident the other districts are notified and either respond to the scene or standby to assist if they have available crew to do so & still have enough personnel to respond in their own district if needed.

A Class-A pumper (E8-11) was purchased to replace aged & borrowed trucks (from the Navy). Two of our Fire Captains, Brian (Ditch Boy) Shelley & Ralph (The Hammer) Rangel, drove the refurbished 2005 pumper from Mississippi to its new home in 4 days during the spring of 2011. The pumper holds 1,000 gallons, pumps 1600 gallons/minute, and is the Cadillac of our fleet. A loan to buy the apparatus was paid off through Levy funds and proceeds from the Firemen’s ball events.

During 2015, a “pre-loved” 75-foot Quint Aerial (ladder) truck (L8-12) was purchased to accommodate the ever-increasing number of multi-story buildings in the area. The apparatus holds 500 gallons of water. The massive machine was driven back from Connecticut during Winter’s wrath, by Chief Collum & his wife, EMS Captain Cathie Bisiack. A monumental task considering it was one of the worst east coast winters recorded. The Quint was paid off in 2023, through a local bond levy and was outfitted using Firemen’s ball funds.

A 2015 Ford “Command” truck (CM8-16) was bought in 2015, as well. The truck is used for transporting personnel to meetings, trainings, and emergency incidents that require more personnel. It is also used for establishing a command post during MCIs (Mass Casualty Incidents). This was also paid off in 2023.

A “Zolls Autopulse” was purchased, for our “first out’ ambulance”, in 2018. The device performs mechanical compressions during CPR, decreasing the amount of instability and fatigue the ambulance crew goes through with manual compressions during high-speed transport on our rough roads.

In 2019 the fire district continued to replace outdated and worn apparatus and improve the facility:

  1. A brand new 4-wheel drive “Brush Truck” (B8-17) chassis, with automatic transmission, was purchased to replace our well-worn 1992 standard stick shift wildland/beach fire apparatus. The bed from the old truck, that housed a 250-gallon water tank, hose, pump, firefighting tools and equipment, was mounted onto the new truck. Within a month, the truck was nick-named “John-Deer” after a collision with a suicidal deer. Fortunately, damage was minor to John Deer; unfortunately, not so with the deerly departed.
  2. The station building had a face lift in 2019. The weathered bottom siding on the front of the building was replaced with brick, rusted pillars were repaired, and the rusty, worn steel front doors were replaced with doors made of a polymer substance.
  3. A Connex was placed behind the red garage building for storage purposes. Volunteer Fire Department crew assisted in laying 2 – 10-yard loads of gravel and pouring a concrete slab for the unit.

During 2020, the department bought a tender/pumper (T8-21, a.k.a. “Pudgy”. The apparatus is a refurbished 2004 Freightliner chassis with a 2,000-gallon water capacity. It has a deck gun mounted above the bed of the water tank and is stocked with structure and wildland fire tools and hoses. The tender was purchased from “Deep South Fire Trucks”, in Mississippi, and was shipped to our fire station at their cost. It was paid with levy funds.

During 2022, we had the opportunity to add to our fleet a used 2002 Bruan (out of Ohio) ambulance as a backup ambulance (A8-19). It was purchased locally from RTW, a non-trauma transport ambulance service that serves Grays Harbor and other counties.

In 2023, the local Ladies Aid Organization disbanded due to volunteer attrition and donated what proceeds they collected over the years to local volunteer groups. GHFD#8 was one of those organizations. With their generous donation we were able to purchase a refurbished “Life Assist” heart monitor for $40,000. The monitor allows our EMTs to print out a recording of a patient’s heart rhythm and provide it to responding ALS units or hospital providers, for their use in evaluating the progression of the patient’s heart activity.

We were also able to purchase much needed fire/rescue jackets for our volunteer crew with the donated funds from the Ladies Aid Org. The jackets, which are waterproof and have insulated liners, cost around $300 each and are well worth it!

A note of thanks to the wonderful women of the Ladies Aid who, for many years, hosted Christmas Dinners for the entire fire department, and helped where help was needed in the community.