History of Surprise Fire-Medical

1960’s Fire Chief: Curtis Ashworth

  • In 1960 the Town of Surprise organized an all-volunteer fire department to protect the residents of the newly incorporated one square mile.
  • In 1967 the first truck was purchased, a 1946 International.
  • From 1960 through the early 1970’s, the Surprise Fire Department responded from Town Hall at 12731 W. Grand Ave.
Surpirse Fire Truck

1970’s Fire Chief: Julio Arenas 1972 & Ray Wallis 1975

  • In the early 1970’s, Town Hall moved to 12604 Santa Fe Drive and eventually this site house a small fire station behind the Town Hall on Hollyhock Street.

1980’s Fire Chief: Carmen Pruitt 1980 & Gilbert Balcome 1984

  • During the 1980’s, the station was slowly remodeled, mainly by volunteer firefighters who added garage doors to the open bays so fire apparatus could be parked inside, and of the weather.
  • In 1986 the SFD transitioned from volunteer to full time personnel to include the first paid fire chief, Chief Balcome.
  • SFD reserve firefighter program was started in 1987 to assist full time personnel.
Surprise Firestation

1990’s Fire Chief: Robert Weekley 1991 & John Walter 1998

  • During the early 1990’s, living quarters were added to the rear of the fire station to accommodate full time firefighting personnel and later a much larger modular was brought on site to provide additional space to a growing workforce.
  • April of 1998, Surprise Fire Department hired 13 new members to staff the soon to be built station 302 at Reems Road & Mountain View Parkway.

2000’s Fire Chief: Michael White 2002

  • In April 2006, Firehouse number one moved to its current location at 16750 N Village Drive East behind the City Hall Complex. The modern 15,000+ square foot, four bay station provides professional emergency services to this day, and will continue to do so into the future.
  • By 2008, the SFMD had become an all hazards response organization and grown to seven stations and 113 personnel.
  • The SFMD organization moved into a state of the art Public Safety Building (PSB) in 2009 where Fire Administration and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) are currently located.
Surprise Fire Fighters working on active fire

2010’s Fire Chief: Tom Abbott 2014

  • In November 2015, SFMD started providing ambulance service to the residents of Surprise. By the end of 2019 five full time ambulance were providing patient care and transportation.
  • November 2017, voters in Surprise approved three General Obligation Bonds that would include the building of permanent Fire Station 4 and Fire Station 8.

2020’s Fire Chief: Tom Abbott 2014 – Present

  • March of 2020, Surprise Fire Medical Department became an Internationally Accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), joining the elite ranks of just 234 departments worldwide. With only 95 departments being accredited in the United States.
  • Permanent Fire Station 4, a state of the art and one of the first of its kind facility, was completed in August 2020 including decontamination showers to help protect firefighters from cancer.
CFAI 2020-2025
Fire Station 304 Project