In 1906, The Upland Fire Department was formed by Citizens of the former community of North Ontario. There was a deep commitment to the community and its protection for over 111 years.
The Upland residents saw a need for being able to protect their property from fire. This need became the roots of the Upland Fire department. In 1911, the citizens of Upland created a formal Fire Department with F.H. Manker named as the first official Fire Chief.
The first recorded piece of apparatus was a hose cart that was pulled by the first available personnel to get to where the cart was stored. In 1913, the first serious fire to occur in the new community destroyed all the businesses on the East side of Second Avenue South of Ninth Street.
This fire generated interest in further protecting the community, and in 1915 the Fire Station on D Street was built. After completion of the Fire Station, the first motorized fire engine was purchased. A 1915 American LaFrance Chemical Pumper.
When a fire alarm was received, a siren was sounded to summon the volunteer firefighters. The volunteer firefighters of the Upland Fire Department were one of the more popular social groups to participate in during the 1920’s until after World War II. The volunteer firefighters were very visible and provided a much-needed service to the community. This social club even purchased a pool table that was installed upstairs in the D Street fire station and according to reports received “constant use.” In 1924, the Upland News wrote, “Upland has the most successful fire company of any city in the state.
The social appeal of the volunteer firefighters continued throughout the Great Depression with stories of annual barbecues, parties and other celebrations recorded throughout the period. In 1937, the volunteer firefighters even went so far as to construct a cabin in San Antonio Canyon for parties and get-togethers. This particular cabin was destroyed in a flood in 1938, but a replacement was built in the area of what is now 16th Street and Tanglewood. This second fireman’s cabin was torn down during the construction of Upland Hills Country Club.
The Upland Fire Department continued to evolve after the war and in 1963; the first full time firefighters were hired to supplement the volunteer firefighters. As with the rest of Southern California, people were beginning to commute farther and farther to work with one of the results being that there were not enough available men to respond to fire alarms during the daytime hours. The full time firefighters filled this need.
In 1966, a tragic fire took the lives of five people in the north end of the city. This tragic incident resulted in the construction, and staffing of Fire Station 2 on San Antonio Avenue north of 20th Street.
In 1969, the original fire station on D Street was replaced with a new Fire Headquarters facility. This station housed Fire Administration, Fire Prevention, Fire Training and Fire Suppression resources.
In 1978, with the assistance of a Federal Grant, the City of Upland was able to construct a Public Works facility and one more Fire Station on Benson Avenue north of 13th Street. This fire station provides fire and life safety protection for the western portion of the community.
In 2002, the Fire Department adopted a Paramedic Program. This program provided each Engine, and Truck Company with a State Certified Paramedic. This program enabled the Fire Department personnel to provide the citizens of Upland with the latest in advanced medical care. The program continues today with ever increasing skills and knowledge of its members.
With continued growth in the northeast side of town, which would increase call volume, a plan for a fourth fire station was developed. The construction of the Colonies Community, and the extension of the 210 freeway showed feasibility for the station.
In 2004, a temporary station was put into service. This station was located off of 15th Street, and Campus. A permanent station was completed in March of 2010 at 1825 N. Campus Ave. This station housed the departments Ladder Truck, Battalion Chief, and Communications Vehicle.
In 2014 the Upland Fire Department entered into a Shared Services Contract with the City of Montclair that provided seamless service delivery between the cities and cost sharing for shared Administrative Positions such as the Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Marshal, Deputy Chiefs and Battalion Chiefs. The Departments started working on an Agreement that will merge the entire organization, and enable both the City of Upland and the City of Montclair to provide the most cost efficient service.
In October of 2016, The Upland Fire Department terminated the shared services agreement with the City of Montclair. The pilot program was aimed at cost savings and the future merging of both departments into a JPA. However, after 2 years, it was determined that Montclair was the only agency saving a significant amount of money and the Montclair City Manager was unwilling to provide adequate staffing for his department when requested, and had no intentions on moving forward with the merging of the two departments.
In July of 2017 the Upland Fire Department was annexed into the San Bernardino County Fire Department. As part of this annexation, all of the Fire Employees were transitioned to County Employees. San Bernardino County fire closed fire Station 162 and moved the personnel to the Fire Station in Downtown Upland. This was due to the close proximity of County Fire Station 12.
The City of Upland is now served by Fire Station 161 with 6 personnel ( 1 Engine, 1 Truck ) , Fire Station 163 with 3 personnel (1 Engine), Fire Station 164 with 3 personnel ( 1 Engine ) and Fire Station 12 with 3 personnel (1 Engine).