History of the Department
Citing a need for fire protection and other services within the budding community of Smith’s Valley, the Smith’s Valley Community Center was established on January 1st, 1952. Although the group’s primary mission was fire protection, they also came together to provide recreational facilities and a central meeting hall, all in an effort to improve the living conditions within the community.
In November of 1953, the members of the Community Center voted to split off the fire protection portion and form an independent fire department known as the Smith Valley Volunteer Fire Department. The new department would remain a sub-entity of the Community Center but would function with its own set of officers and members.
In July of 1956, the members of the Community Center voted to permit the Smith Valley Volunteer Fire Department to completely operate independent of the Community Center and function under its own set of By-Laws. To further facilitate the segregation, the name was changed to the White River Township Volunteer Fire Department.
The department would continue to operate as a fully volunteer force up to and through the mid-1980's. Fish Fry's, carnivals, and a small annual contribution from the Township Trustee were the main sources of revenue throughout these years.
The White River Township Fire Protection District was formed in 1986 for the purpose of receiving local taxpayer revenue, which otherwise was unavailable. Since the formation, it has taken the fire department from an all "volunteer" department to paid stand-by, and finally to it's current day position as a combination fire department. The District's governing body is a five person Board of Directors appointed by the Johnson County Commissioners. Board members fulfill alternating two year terms, with one expiring each year.
The current department has three active stations each station housing engines and ambulance to support emergency response in Johnson County along with other fire department agencies. Stations 51, 52, 53 support response to the eastern side of the county.