1960s






1960's

 

 


Jan. 14, 1960
- City Manager Kinnison offers for consideration of the city council a plan to integrate (consolidate) the police and fire departments into a public safety department.
Jan. 16, 1960 - Bill Davis, president of the Reno Firemen's Association outlines the reasons for the association's opposition to the police-fire integration plan.
Jan. 22, 1960 - Keith J. Henrickson, secretary-treasurer of the Reno Firemen's Association announces the Nevada State Firemen's Association, the Reno Firemen's Association, the Nevada State AFL-CIO, the Sparks Firemen's Association and the IAFF are all opposed to the police-fire consolidation.
Jan. 31, 1960 - A motion in district court by the SPPCo. for a new trial was denied.  The SPPCo. filed the motion after retired Reno Fire Capt. Andrew V. Anderson was awarded $36,000 in a jury trial last October.
Feb. 1, 1960 - An elderly woman dies in a residential fire at 998 Kimball Dr.
Feb. 13, 1960 - The Washoe County Grand Jury recommends a study be conducted on the feasibility of a Metropolitan Fire District for Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.
Feb. 20, 1960 - Reno fireman Jack Elliot is injured at a garage fire at 441 Glen Manor Dr.  Elliot snapped a major tendon in his heel when the handle of his axe jabbed the back of his heel as he jumped off the fire truck.
April 11, 1960 - Reno police and firemen circulate an initiative petition to the voters of the city of Reno requesting their support for a pay raise.  Both departments accepted shortened work weeks in 1958 but haven't received a pay raise in four years.
April 13, 1960 - Information from the City of Reno Fire Department Survey by Verlyn Fletcher:
Staffing:  The Reno FD consists of 99 men conducting fire fighting, fire prevention and related activities.  Fire fighters work a 62.8 hour per week schedule, essentially 24-on, 24-off with an extra shift off after working four shifts.  33 men are assigned to each shift minus vacations and other allowed time off.  The 99 men include the Clerk, the Captain in charge of maintaining the fire alarm system, the Captain assigned to Training, the mechanic and his assistant (Operator and Hoseman), four Operators in the FPB, two watch officers who receive and transmit alarms and the Administrative officers (Chief and Assistant Chief).  This leaves 88 men as the effective fire fighting force and includes a Battalion Chief in charge of each platoon.
Equipment:  The Central Station at 136 West St. (corner of Commercial Row and West St.) has two -1250 GPM pumpers and one - 100' aerial ladder truck.  Central also has a Jeep and another unit of limited pumping capacity.  Engine Co. No. 1 at California Ave. and S. Virginia St. has one - 1250 GPM pumper with a 125 gal. booster.  Engine Co. No. 2 at Fifth St. and Morrill Ave. has one - 1250 GPM pumper with 150 gal booster, one - 100' aerial ladder, reserve units: one - 1000 GPM pumper with a 300 gal. booster, County Pump is a 750 GPM pumper with a 300 gal. booster and the County water wagon.  Engine Co. No. 4 at Eleventh and Ralston Sts. has a 1000 GPM pumper with a 300 gal. booster and a reserve unit (30 years old) with a 1000 GPM pump and 100 gal. booster.  Other equipment includes two FPB sedans and a pick-up, a mechanic's pick-up, Fire Alarm Captain's pick-up, Drill Instructor's sedan, a pick-up for moving hose and other equipment between stations, and a sedan each for the Chief and Assistant Chief.  The Chief uses his sedan very sparingly because he doesn't believe it is safe to drive.  The Fire Alarm system consists of 73 boxes, primarily downtown and on major streets, 20 miles of overhead lines and 5 miles of underground lines.  70% of box alarms are false alarms.  The study questions whether fire department equipment maintenance should be done by fire department mechanics (firemen) or by the municipal garage. 
Responses:  If both Central and Engine 1 respond to a fire, Engine 2 fills in to Central, if both Central and Engine 2 respond to a fire, Engine 1 fills in to Central.  1959 runs, not including gasoline leaks from automobiles or fill-ins, were:  Engine 1 - 351, Central - 343, Engine 2 - 183 and Engine 4 - 86.  County runs were 131, 14-1/2% of all runs.  The report questions whether the county is paying the city an appropriate amount for the service they receive.
May 25, 1960 - A Nevada State Journal editorial comes out in favor of police-fire integration into a public safety department.
May 26, 1960 - A Reno woman dies in a rooming house fire at 239 Flint St.  Several other tenants had to be rescued from windows and roofs of the three story structure.
May 28, 1960 - Reno Fire Chief Wagner Sorensen issues a lengthy statement in opposition to the proposed integration of the police and fire departments.
July 12, 1960 - A spectacular blaze Sunday night destroyed $50-$60,000 worth of lumber at the Tahoe Pine Millwork at 1600 E. Commercial Row.  350,000 board feet of select seasoned pine wood in 15 stacks 12' high were destroyed.  The fire was spread from stack to stack by strong winds.  The city council refuses to enact a pay raise as required by the police-fire petition initiative after the groups collect enough signatures.  They pass a 5% across-the-board pay raise for uniformed employees instead.
July 15, 1960 - Former Reno fireman Ben Winn announces he'll run for a second term on the Washoe County Commission after serving as chairman of the board for the last two years.
July 23, 1960 - The Reno FD gets a new mobile power generator unit from the Reno, Sparks, Washoe County civil defense councils.
Aug. 25, 1960 - The Donner Ridge Fire.  Fire officials hope to control the fire today after burning four days and 36,000 acres between Donner Lake and Verdi.  Four parallel power lines serving western Nevada were damaged, cutting power to Reno for 25 hours.
Sept. 10, 1960 - Retired Reno fireman Henry C. Johnson, 59, died today at a local hospital.  Johnson retired three years ago after 15 years with the Reno FD.
Oct. 7, 1960 - Nevada professional fire fighters met in Tonopah this weekend and united as the Federated Fire Fighters of Nevada.  The FFFN is affiliated with the IAFF and the AFL-CIO.  About 240 Nevadans are members of the new group.
Oct. 11, 1960 - While responding to a reported house fire on Marsh Ave., the Hook and Ladder driven by Harry F. Elsrode skidded into two parked cars.  Upon arrival at the scene of the alleged blaze it was determined to be a false call.
Oct. 12, 1960 - During Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, the Reno FD FPB showcases its year-round fire prevention efforts.  Inspector C. F. Bunker said 20,000 pieces of literature will be distributed to schools with posters and other displays.  Each school must have a minimum of three fire drills each month.  Inspectors regularly check businesses to keep fire hazards to a minimum.
Oct. 27, 1960 - SPPCo. appeals the jury award of $36,000 to retired Reno fire captain Andrew Anderson to the Nevada Supreme Court.  The damages were awarded to Anderson for injuries received at the Feb. 5, 1957 gas explosions in downtown Reno.
Nov. 1, 1960 - The Moana Park grandstand and other facilities serving the Reno Silver Sox baseball team were leveled by a fire early this morning.  Firemen fought the blaze until after sun-up.
Nov. 12, 1960 - A Nevada Supreme Court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 23, to decide the constitutionality of the initiative petition method of amending a city charter.
Dec. 7, 1960 - The Donner Trail Service Station on Highway 40 in Verdi was destroyed by a fire yesterday morning.  The fire started in an annex to the station and spread to a nearby small house.  A 500 gal. fuel tank exploded.  The Nevada Supreme Court rules the initiative petition method of amending the Reno City Charter is unconstitutional.
Dec. 9, 1960 - Keith Henrickson, legislative representative of the Reno Firemen's Association, along with representatives from the Reno Police Protective Association and the Sparks Firemen's Association met with Washoe County legislators to outline their 1961 legislative goals for the organizations.  The 12 point program includes:  1)  opposition to police-fire integration/consolidation; 2)  a shorter work week or increased pay for work in excess of 56 hours; 3)  organizing rights;  4)  arbitration for public employees; 5)  the right for public employees to participate in elections and political activities while off-duty; 6)  establishment of a state fire marshal; 7)  a Police/Fire representative on the Public Employees Retirement Board; 8)  retirement for public safety officers after 20 years at any age; 9)  disability pensions; 10)  coverage for heart and lung diseases; 11)  inclusion of families in group health and accident insurance; and 12) the right to participate in jury duty. 
Dec. 30, 1960 - Reno firemen answered 63 alarms in November.  One man died in a fire believed to have been caused by smoking in bed.  Fire prevention teams made 435 building inspections in the downtown area.
Jan. 15, 1961 - Associations representing Reno's police and firemen, acting on a Nevada Supreme Court decision, ask the Reno city council to hold a special election within 45 days so voters can decide whether to grant better wages and benefits to the groups.  The groups collected signatures from 62.2% of Reno voters and had thought by reaching the high percentage they could avoid the costs of a special election.
Feb. 23, 1961 - Reno police and firemen call statements made by Mayor Baker about their pay raise campaign outright lies and demand the recall of Mayor Baker and City Manager Latimore.
March 15, 1961 - Flames whipped by 45 mph winds last night destroyed 12 units of the Pony Express Motel on S. Virginia St. at Moana Ln.  Firemen were able to save the other half of the motel and prevented the fire from spreading to adjacent motels and commercial property.
April 12, 1961 - City Manager Latimore recommends closing the Southside fire station in order to keep the two newest fire stations open.
May 17, 1961 - An explosion caused a fire which destroyed the metal and wood structure housing the Caravan Tops Manufacturing Co. early last night.  Assistant Chief Harry Van Meter was on the roof directing fire fighting efforts when the roof collapsed and he plummeted to the floor below.  His fall was partially broken by a ladder.  He was transported to Washoe Medical Center where his condition was reported as good.  The shop was located at 1875 Dickerson Rd.
May 18, 1961 - The new Gentry Way fire station is expected to be occupied this week.  The new fire engine on order for the station will not arrive until next month.
May 23, 1961 - Reno received $20,000 last year from Washoe County for fire protection services that cost the city almost $80,000 to provide.  City Manager Latimore recommends canceling the agreement unless the county agrees to pay a larger portion of the actual costs.  The firemen kept in reserve to fight county fires are needed to staff the two new Reno fire stations.
May 26, 1961 - Reno firemen will hold their annual ball in the Garden Room of the Riverside Hotel on Saturday July 15.  Proceeds from the ball go to the Firemen's Benefit fund.
June 20, 1961 - The RFD answered 80 alarms in May.  The single largest cause of fires was burning trash.  Six calls were in the county, 39 were in the high value district and 35 were from residential areas.  In addition to the fire calls, firemen responded to 27 autos leaking gasoline and one resuscitator run.  The FPB conducted 375 building inspections and 23 fire investigations.
June 21, 1961 - City Manager Joe Latimore recommends the city discontinue paying the difference between NIC (workers comp) benefits and an employee’s full salary sixty days after an injury.  At present, the city provides the difference to make up the employee's full salary indefinitely.
July 17, 1961 - The RFD responded to 143 alarms in June.  16 calls were for burning cars.  9 calls were caused by careless smokers.
July 27, 1961 - Firemen Charles H. Hansen and Michael S. Wanco are confirmed as permanent city employees by the civil service commission.
Aug. 13, 1961 - Crossings between East and West Berlin are closed.  This is the beginning of the Berlin Wall.
Sept. 15, 1961 - The RFD accepted two new ALF 1250 GPM pumpers recently.  The trucks cost about $30,000 each and are for the new stations on Gentry Way and Mayberry Dr.  Each carries 300 gals. of water, 1500' of 2-1/2" hose and 400' of 1-1/2" hose.  They are equipped with ladders, salvage and breathing equipment, and other fire fighting gear.  These latest additions give Reno 14 front line fire fighting apparatus.
Sept. 22, 1961 - The RFD answered 76 alarms in August.  9 calls were automobile fires, 7 alarms were caused by smoking in bed and 11 were false alarms.
Oct. 17, 1961 - Fire demolished the kitchen of the Nugget Casino at 233 N. Virginia St.  The fire started in the grease chute and burned through the ceiling. Damage is estimated at $10-12,000.  The kitchen and its contents were destroyed.  25 firemen with four pieces of equipment fought the fire.
Nov. 2, 1961 - The Washoe County Grand Jury criticizes the RFD because one new station built recently has not opened due to lack of manpower.  They cited one bright spot as the purchase of two new fire engines. 
Nov. 7, 1961 - The Bel Air Fire in southern California.  250 homes are burned and 3000 people are forced to evacuate in front of the 5500 acre fire driven by 45 mph Santa Anna winds.  Fire fighters fear the main fire will merge with another 2000 acre fire burning in Topanga Canyon.
Nov. 9, 1961 - The final tally from the Bel Air - Brentwood fire is 447 homes and almost 6000 acres burned making it the worst fire in Los Angeles history. 
Nov. 15, 1961 - The RFD answered 95 alarms in October.  10 were false alarms.  Five were caused by children playing with matches and four were caused by smoking in bed.
Nov. 28, 1961 - Fifty county residents present a petition signed by 750 county residents to the Washoe County Commission asking for improved fire protection in the county.  The petition asks for more funding to meet underwriter standards and more support for volunteer fire departments.
Dec. 20, 1961 - The Reno Firemen's Association is arranging complete Christmas dinners and festivities for four needy families.
Jan. 1, 1962 - Early on New Year's Day, only a little after midnight, Reno Police had to deploy tear gas to break up an unruly crowd on Virginia St. in downtown Reno.  When the tear gas seemed to have little effect, two fire engines standing by on the scene turned fire hose streams on the crowd.  Both the police and rioters were sprayed but the riot was stopped.  Fireman Dwight Gregerson was injured when a glass container hit him in the face.  According to Fire Chief Sorensen, the fire department had been called out for this sort of thing before but had never had to do anything.
Jan. 2, 1962 - A fire broke out in a third story storage room at the Mapes Building, over the Woolworth's Store at First and Virginia Sts.  Two residents of third floor apartments had to be rescued.  Thirty firemen fought the fire with five hose lines.
Feb. 1, 1962 - The RFD FPB completed 257 inspections in December 1961 with the average number of inspections per month in 1961 closer to 300.  Chief Sorensen credited these inspections for the drop in fire losses from 1960 to 1961.  New firemen undergo six weeks of intensive training before they are put on line.  Experienced men undergo "retraining" at the department's new five story drill tower, the only one in the state.  The city has two new "triple combination" fire trucks, two new sub-stations - one on Mayberry Dr. near Hunter Lake Dr. and one on Airport Rd. - and 10 additional men.  The city now has six stations.  The RFD answered 1306 calls last year, 150 of which were false alarms.
Feb. 24, 1962 - A man and a woman died early this morning in a fire in a trailer home at 145 Grove St., Fred's Trailer Court.  The fire in the 16' trailer was blamed on an unattended cigarette in the bedroom. 
Feb. 28, 1962 - A fire destroyed the Reno Feed and Seed Co. warehouse and three story grain elevator at 238 Winter St.  The fire was first reported at 4:15 AM.  An air temperature of minus 12 degrees caused ice to form on every surface and freeze water lines.  100 firemen battled the fire, working 1-1/2 hour shifts to avoid frost bite and exposure.  The building was built about 50 years ago as the Reno Flour Mill Co. and marketed "White Rose" branded flour.  Grain in the elevator continued to smolder throughout the day.  The grain was also very dangerous because of its increased weight as it absorbed water.
March 1, 1962 - A fire broke out in the basement of the old Sierra Brewery warehouse on East Fourth St. near Wells Ave.  Stacks of old paper and cardboard that inspectors had cited as a fire hazard six months ago were involved in the fire.  The paper and cardboard made a good sleeping area for transients.  
March 16, 1962 - A Reno woman dies in an apartment fire at 617 North St.  A smoldering mattress was found in the bedroom, probably started by a cigarette.  There was no other damage to the apartment.
April 3, 1962 - The Golden Hotel Fire.  The fire was reported at 7 AM in the three and four story hotel on Center St.  Four women and two men die.  The fire is believed to have started from a faulty valve or gauge on an acetylene tank in the basement.  The blaze raced through the upper three stories in the first hour.  Units from Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Stead Air Base fire departments were on the scene in 25 emergency vehicles.  Firemen used windows on each of the seven floors of the nearby Harold's Club as vantage points to pour water down on the Golden Hotel.  A forestry plane was ordered to swoop low over the hotel and drop water on the fire.  A new automobile on display in the casino lobby as a gambling prize was destroyed.  George Cease, the elevator operator, was credited with saving up to forty people by making numerous trips in the thick smoke to the upper floors to evacuate guests.  He was named an honorary fireman for his bravery.  Aluminum louvers installed over the exteriors of upper floor windows hampered rescue efforts.  The building was 56 years old.  The three story section collapsed into the basement, leaving the building a gutted ruin.  Only the exterior masonry walls were left standing.  Fireman Leonard Howard was injured at the fire and admitted to the hospital.
April 23, 1962 - Reno firemen answered 64 calls in February.  33 residential and 31 from the high value downtown district.  Three people died in fires in February blamed on smoking in bed.
April 24, 1962 - Frank DeWitt Burke, retired Reno Fire Department mechanic died in a local hospital Wednesday.
May 7, 1962 - A fire destroyed the W. S. Watkins and Son Moulding mill at 2000 East Fourth St. Sunday afternoon.  Firemen had to stop trains and lay hoses across the railroad tracks.
June 21, 1962 - The wooden grandstand and an adjoining building at the Washoe County Fair and Rodeo grounds were destroyed by fire Wednesday night.  Damage was estimated at $90-$100,000.  The grandstands date back to 1903.  Several youngsters on bicycles were reported in the area and leaving the scene around the time the fire was first reported.
July 9, 1962 - Washoe County District Attorney William Raggio's office issues an opinion that the Washoe County Fire Department formed by the county commission a year ago is illegal.  The county commission does not have the legislative authority to form such a department.
Aug. 16, 1962 - The Reno city council agrees to provide fire protection services in hydranted areas of Washoe County surrounding Reno for a $30,000 annual fee.
Aug. 27, 1962 - The RFD responded to 116 runs in July, nine more than in June.  There were ten trash fires and ten structure fires caused by cigarettes and ten false alarms.
Sept. 5, 1962 - A fourteen room house at 1075 Riverside Dr. was completely destroyed by fire early yesterday.  The historic two story house was built in the early 1900s by James T. Boyd, an attorney and Washoe County state legislator.
Sept. 10, 1962 - C. F. Bunker, retired Reno Fire Marshall, died at a local hospital on Sept. 7.
Oct. 14, 1962 - The Cuban Missile Crisis lasts for two weeks.  The USA and the USSR each agree to pull out nuclear missiles threatening each other's territory. 
Dec. 12, 1962 - Retirement age for Reno firemen is set at 55 years with one year extensions possible, based on good health, until age 60 years by Reno City ordinance.
Jan. 19, 1963 - Firemen respond to a minor fire in a trash chute at the plush Park Tower Apartments at 280 Island Ave.  When they connected a hose to the 7th floor standpipe outlet and turned on the water there was no pressure.  It turned out there were no caps on the outlets from the 7th to the 15th floors and all the shut-off valves were open.  1250 GPM came flooding down the stairwells.
Feb. 16, 1963 - Firemen answered 105 calls in December.  97 alarms were answered and there were 8 runs to wash down gasoline from automobile accidents.
March 13, 1963 - Firemen ask for pay raises above the 6% included in the 1963/64 budget.  Last year, ten men or 10%, of the fire department, quit - mainly to take higher paying jobs elsewhere.
March 14, 1963 - The RFD conducts full scale training exercises at their new training tower at the Mayberry Fire substation.  The tower was authorized and built about a year ago but a shortage of money delayed the installation of the fire escape until last fall.  This is the first training tower in Nevada.
June 30, 1963 - Reno advanced from a Class 5 to a Class 4 city by the National Board of Fire Underwriters.  Reno was rated class 4 from 1946 to 1960.
June 10, 1963 - Fire leveled a warehouse filled with 96 slot machines at 2550 Dickerson Rd. Sunday afternoon.  Fanned by 25 MPH winds, flames lashed out and burned 60,000 feet of stacked lumber at United Lumber Sales before the blaze was controlled.
July 23, 1963 - Fire destroyed a two story structure and several small residences nearby at the old Home Milk Co. property at 1800 Idlewild Dr. late last night.
July 24, 1963 - Two young men are arrested for accidentally starting the Home Milk Co. fire while trying to steal gasoline by siphoning it from a truck parked in a large storage shed.
July 25, 1963 - Reno renews its fire protection pact with Washoe Co. for protection of hydranted areas outside the city.  The county pays $30,000 for the service for the year.
Aug. 19, 1963 - The RFD answered 96 calls in July.
Sept. 5, 1963 - Fire swept through the main floor kitchen of the El Cortez Hotel early this morning forcing the evacuation of 112 people.  Six fire trucks and 26 firemen confined the fire to the kitchen and had it under control in about 20 minutes.  The fire was fed by grease in the kitchen and spread smoke throughout the hotel.  In a separate incident, a young woman was killed by smoke from a smoldering mattress in a single room cabin at 12 Reservation Rd. yesterday morning.
Nov. 22, 1963 - President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.
Feb. 19, 1964 - The RFD has responded at least ten times this year to Billinghurst Junior High School to the automatic alarm system.  When the heat is turned on in the morning the rate-of-rise detectors go off.  Officials are working on the problem.
Feb. 20, 1964 - Captain Robin A. Trimble retired from the RFD Feb. 5, after 33-1/2 years.
May 23, 1964 - Captain William Frank Davis appeals his demotion from Captain to Lieutenant to the Reno Civil Service Commission.
May 26, 1964 - The Reno City Civil Service Commission restores Reno fireman William F. Davis to the rank of Captain and restores lost pay.
May 27, 1964 - The Christmas Tree restaurant on Mount Rose Rd. burned to the ground this morning in the middle of a snow storm.
June 19, 1964 - The RFD business phone number is changed to 786-1771.
June 26, 1964 - Per the City of Reno salary ordinance - annual salaries - Chief: $11,100; Assistant Chief: 9300; Battalion Chief: 7244; Capt: 6720; Lieut: 6516; Oper: 6144; Hoseman: 5628.  Vacation - 0-5 years = 9 days; 5-10 years = 12 days; 10-15 years = 15 days; 15+ years = 18 days; 1-24 hr. shift = 2 days for vacation usage & nine holidays.  Nevada Industrial Commission (workers comp) the city provides full pay (supplements NIC) for 60 days.  The city pays half the premium for a Group Insurance Program for the employee.
July 25, 1964 - The RFD is being called upon an average of three times per day to quell fires in empty, weed-grown lots.
July 27, 1964 - Firemen fought a fire at the Riverside Lumber Co. at 1675 West Second St. for three hours Sunday afternoon.  The fire destroyed a saw shed, saw and conveyor as well as a quantity of finished lumber.
Aug. 12, 1964 - The RFD begins planning for two new substations - to be built in the Southwest and Northwest.
Nov. 14, 1964 - Karl L. Evans, 67 years old, Chief of the RFD from 1946 to 1959, died this morning at a local hospital.  He first joined the RFD prior to WWI in the days of the horse drawn equipment.  His father, A. J. Evans was one of the members of Reno's first paid fire department. He enlisted in the army in 1918 and returned to the RFD in 1931.  He was named Assistant Chief in 1937.
Nov. 15, 1964 - The RFD answered 114 alarms in October.  1/3 of the alarms were for grass, weed and trash fires.  There were 14 false alarms, 29 alarms from the city's high value district, 78 from residential areas and seven from county areas.
Jan. 21, 1965 - Sparks Fire Chief F. W. Farr proposed the formation of a metropolitan fire district which would incorporate the existing fire fighting organizations of Reno, Sparks and Washoe Co.  With boundaries removed, the nearest firemen and equipment would automatically respond to any call.  Reno Fire Chief Wagner Sorensen opposed any such move, saying Reno has nothing to gain from such an arrangement.
Feb. 21, 1965 - Ron Hart is confirmed as a Senior Fire Prevention Inspector.
Feb. 27, 1965 - After negotiations with City Manager Latimore break down, Reno firemen circulate a petition to place a question on the May ballot to let voters decide if they should get a $70/month pay raise.
March 1, 1965 - Federated Firemen of Nevada representative Keith Henrikson testifies before the Assembly Labor Committee in support of a bill to give firemen the right to join unions and authorize the unions to be the bargaining agents for the men.
March 2, 1965 - The firemen's collective bargaining bill died in the Assembly Labor Committee Monday.
March 24, 1965 - The editor of the Reno Evening Gazette comes ou

 

 
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