History of the East Manatee Fire Rescue DistrictEMFR station picture

In the late 1970’s, a group of residents recognized the need for a fire rescue agency to serve the growing area east of the Braden River. In 1978, the Braden River Volunteer Fire Department was formed to provide protection to eastern Manatee County communities. In addition to the homesteads and farmlands, the construction of the new Interstate 75 was predicted to bring more growth to the area.

 

First Fire Station in the early 1980’s (Pictured on the right)

This pole barn with a tin roof and a dirt floor was leased to the Fire District for $1.00. A Starbucks Coffee Shop now occupies this property at 6521 State Road 64 in the Travelers Oasis Business Park. The nickname “Tin House Orphans” derived from the humble features of this building.

For $1, the District leased a pole barn with a tin roof and dirt floor to house the mismatched equipment handed down by other local and state agencies. This band of good hearted, yet rag-tag bunch of volunteers inherited the nick-name “The Tin House Orphans”.

In July 1980, the Florida legislature created the Braden River Fire Control and Rescue District, a 100 square mile special taxing district.   In 1981, through a donation from Anthony T. Rossi, owner of Tropicana Products, new firefighting gear was purchased.  The new District purchased land in 1982 and built a real fire station on the site of the current Station 2 at 803 – 60th Street Court East.

By 1983, there had been 3 volunteer fire chiefs in as many years. The Board of Fire Commissioners determined that it was time to hire a full-time Chief to manage the growing District. Henry Sheffield was our first paid Fire Chief and retired in 2007, becoming our first retiree.

Two paid firefighters were added in 1988 to address the day-time calls when volunteers were not as available and in 1992 more firefighters were hired and placed on 24 hour shifts.  A second station was built and staffed in 1997 which is the current Station 6, a third station in 2000, and a fourth in 2002.

In 20 years, the District has grown from a volunteer brigade operating out of a pole barn to four fully staffed stations.

In June, 2005 Governor Jeb Bush signed legislation changing the name of the District to East Manatee Fire Rescue which better represented the area served. Also that year, property for Station 5 was acquired and construction began. In 2006, Station 5 opened and was dedicated to Chaplin Richard Kirby.

Also in 2005, 20 acres of land was purchased and in 2008 an office building was constructed followed by a central fire station in 2010. Training grounds were added in 2013.

 

Today, the East Manatee Fire Rescue District has 74 employees with 21 firefighters assigned on a shift operating 6 engine companies and a ladder truck from 6 stations.

 

First Fire Station in the early 1980’s

 

This pole barn with a tin roof and a dirt floor was leased to the Fire District for $1.00. A Starbucks Coffee Shop now occupies this property at 6521 State Road 64 in the Travelers Oasis Business Park. The nickname “Tin House Orphans” derived from the humble features of this building.