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Zoneton Fire Protection District
The Zoneton Fire Protection District was established in 1959, succeeding the Zoneton Improvement Club. It is a Chapter 75 Fire District covering 59 square miles (150 km2) in northern Bullitt County, Kentucky and serving the cities of Hillview, Brooks, Pioneer Village, Fox Chase, Hebron Estates and Shepherdsville plus unincorporated areas such as Zoneton.
The early years
From 1956 to 1959 the Zoneton Improvement Club was a private organization run by many of the community members. Its goal was to provide needed services to the Zoneton community. A slop truck from local farmer Bernie Bischoff was used as the first fire apparatus to shuttle water in the event of a fire. Other key members of the Improvement Club were Raymond McGruder and Joseph Robert Ball, Jr. Prospective members of the club had to go through a probation period, be voted on by the board and then pay a fee.
Becoming a fire department
In 1959 the Improvement Club had the people and resources to become a fire district and formed the Zoneton Volunteer Fire Department. Fish fries, raffles, and other fundraisers were used to fund the department in the early days before they became a taxing district in the 1960s.
Taxes came into play in the 1960s, but still were not enough to provide adequate services to the small community of fewer than 5,000 people. Fundraisers were still needed until the late 1970s when the population boomed. The county's population nearly doubled between 1970 and 1980 along with the Zoneton community.
The 1980s were good to Zoneton; they provided much growth for the county and district, which also provided a bigger budget. In 1983 a new Station 2 was built next to the existing one at 163 Overlook Acres in Brooks, and the district added a Ford Firecat engine.
The 1990s brought even more growth to the area and spurred the district to relocate its Station 1 in 1995 from the Zoneton Road location with 2½ bays to a new $1 million 10-bay firehouse complete with a training room and offices. The new construction didn't come a moment to soon, as just six months after entering the new station a confirmed F4 tornado ripped through the northern part of Bullitt County. The new firehouse was used as a central location for unified command, food closets, shelter, and housing for the firefighters. In 1996 two additional units were purchased, a 1996 Pierce Saber Engine and a 1996 Pierce Saber 65' Telesquirt. In 1999 a Pierce Dash Rescue Pumper was purchased.
In 2002 the district hired its first paid fire chief, and in August of that year five firefighters were hired to supplement volunteers during the workweek. In 2003, Fire Chief Al Yancy resigned and former volunteer Fire Chief Robert L. Orkies was hired to direct the department. Later that year a paid fire marshal was added to benefit the community in fire prevention, investigation, and inspections. In 2004 Station 2 became home to "Live-Ins" or volunteers that live at the firehouse and dedicate 40 hours of service to the department each week as a payment to the department and community. In 2005 Zoneton took delivery of an HME Rescue Engine and an HME 109' Quint. In 2006 a Family Safety Trailer was added to the fire prevention team with tours happening weekly at schools and churches across the district. In October 2006 the $1.1 million expansion was completed to Station 1 adding much needed apparatus space and storage along with new offices and dormitories for paid crews and live-ins. To top off the addition was a new 50×50 ft state-of-the-art training room to make room for the growth of our department. Effective January 1, 2007, three new career firefighters were to join the team adding coverage and response to the community. In 2013 there was a paid Fire Marshall and one Firefighter hired.
The current boundaries of Zoneton Fire Protection District date to the 1957 Fire boundaries with the exception of Kentucky Highway 1020 which is currently involved in a lawsuit with the City of Shepherdsville.
2007 Brooks Train Derailment
At 08:46 EST on January 16, 2007 a CSX Transportation train pulling 80 trains from Birmingham to Louisville derailed, causing a fireball to explode over 1,000 feet (300 m) into the sky. The cars were carrying several hazardous materials that resulted in an evacuation of the immediate area. The derailment was determined to be the largest in Kentucky's history.
- 1959-2002, coming soon
- 1999-2002, Robert Orkies, Volunteer Chief
- 2002-2003, Al Yancy, first Career Chief
- Robert Orkies, Career Chief
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