JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Fire Department celebrated 100 years of service Thursday. On Sunday, Oct. 7, 1912, the modern, full-time fire department was formed to replace the volunteer fire company that had been around since 1842.
To mark the occasion, the fire department is hosting a variety of celebrations that will last through Sunday. The first celebration is a gala to celebrate firefighters past and present. It began Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.
While the gala had traditional party fare such as giving away prizes in a raffle, the overall theme of the event was more somber. The gala, in addition to being a celebration of the department, was also a fundraiser to help the families of fallen firefighters. And, contrary to popular belief, Jefferson City Fire Department Captain Timothy Young said that fires weren't even close to the number one cause of death or injury for firefighters.
"The leading cause of death to firefighters nationwide is definietly heart stress and heart attacks. Firefighters go from... even though they're in good physical condition, they go from a period of calm to a period of extreme excitement then back to a period of calm. That's hard on the human body", said Young. He added that the second leading cause of death and injury to firefighters were vehicle accidents.
According to Young the gala is only the beginning of Jefferson City's tribute to firefighters, as there's a street fair planned for Friday, a parade for Saturday, and an open house and live demonstration planned for Sunday.