History of our Volunteer Fire Department
It all began in the early summer of 1959 when a group of four residents met at Lonnie Cox’s home to discuss the idea of organizing a local Fire Department. This meeting followed the early morning fires that destroyed Landon De Smets’ shop and the home of Edgar and Helen Murray. Both fires started in the early morning hours and by the time help could arrive from surrounding Fire Departments, both structures were complete losses. So it was discussed and decided that before someone lost a life this community would work together with neighboring Peralta to establish the first Bosque Farms – Peralta fire district. The four men that met that night were Rees Caswell, Chester Carpenter, Lonnie Cox and Landon De Smet.
Another meeting following the request approval from the County Manger and Deputy Fire Marshal was held and the regulations and the by-laws for the newly founded fire district were drafted. James Cox accepted the appointment of Fire Chief and Ralph Handley as Assistant Chief. Now all that was needed was money to purchase a fire truck. The Bosque Farms Fair Board started the fund with a $250 donation, an additional $1000. was added to the fund through door to door solicitations that were conducted by a group of women residents. It was with this funding that in August of 1959 the first fire truck was purchased. Following that purchase, on August 7, 1959 a letter was written by John B. Woodall, Deputy Fire Marshal that officially created the BOSQUE FARMS – PERALTA Fire District. At the departments inception there were 18 members, many of which still remain members of our community.
The purchase of the second fire truck in August 1962 prompted the residents to seek land on which to construct a fire station. The request was made to the Los Lunas School Board who granted the request and donated land on which our station has been located for past 42 years. The original building was constructed in the fall of 1964 and housed the first two trucks; the building was expanded to its current four bay size in 1973. That location will change in 2006 with the opening of the new station located next to the Village Office.
Many changes have occurred in the valley since those meetings in1959, the membership has changed many times as new members have moved into our community and old ones have left. The leadership of the department has remained intact and been responsible for many great accomplishments. The department realized its largest expansion under the leadership of Walter Shoemaker, Fire Chief from 1973 to 2001. Walt lead the department into its current structure with his knowledge of the community, its needs and how best to meet those needs. Walt’s dedication to the department will remain a benchmark for all those who follow.
As we move forward we can feel confident that the foundation that was established by those early fire fighters was sturdy ground to stand on. We believe that the Mission Statement of this department was established early on as a commitment to help our neighbors and friends in time of need and the current membership believes wholeheartedly in this goal. We look forward to what the future holds, our new station, new technology and equipment and new members, but we will never lose sight of the original goals set forth by those first Department Members.