The history of the fire service in Cordelia dates back to 1918. A group interested in fire control mounted two 40-gallon Soda Acid tanks on a pair of wheels. This apparatus was stationed in a shed. In case of fire, local trucks hooked on to it and went to the fire. Percy Neitzel’s Model T Ford and Claus Mangels’ Kleiber truck made most of the calls.
In 1922 the group, headed by C.J. Lockefers and William Smith, purchased a chassis from the Reo Truck Company The money was raised by giving dances, barbecues, and donations from people in the area. The truck was equipped with two 40-gallon Soda Acid Fire extinguishers, compete with valves, a hose reel, and an extra 100 gallons of water.
In 1925 the fire department was organized. Harvey Elliott was the first official fire chief. Other members included the Benthin Brothers, Seibes, Glasshoffs, Gleasons, Neitzels, Erickson, Kolbert, Dunkers, Gossens, Lynch, Ceredas, Mangels, Guyans, Catrie, and many others. The first Fire House was a building behind Peter Siebe’s General Store
In 1931 a new Chevrolet fire truck was built by Leslie Anderson and many others. The monies again were raised by dances, donations, etc. The Fire Department went to fires all over the County, even as far as Monticello in Napa County.
On November 15, 1932, Domonic Cerda, Claus Mangels, and Earl Kolbert went to the Board of Supervisors and formally established the boundaries of the Fire District, and set $0.08 cents for the district tax rate. The first directors of the district were Demonic Cereda, Claus Mangels, and Leslie Anderson.
On June 20, 1939 a large fire burned the greater part of Cordelia’s businesses, including the Sourther Pacific Depot. The need for a vehicle with a larger supply of water was realized, so a Mack truck chassis was purchased.
Again Leslie Anderson, William Cereda, and many others, designed and constructed the unit. This one had a 500 gallon capacity tank with a 150 GPM pump and high pressure pump for grass fires.
Other units since built include a 1943 Seagrave pumper, a 1947 Power Wagon, a 1955 Power Wagon, and a 1959 Dodge tanker.
Past Chiefs of the Cordelia Fire Department have been Harvey Elliot, Tony Catrie, Percy Neitzel, William Cereda, Tony Ambrose, Karl Sternmier, Virgil Linder, and Albert Guyan.