The Ester Volunteer Fire Department is supported by its dedicated volunteers and paid staff. The members need to keep up on several certifications and train diligently in order to be ready to respond. The group is lead by its dedicated Chief, Jeff Conner, who gives the team its unity.
How it All Began
The History of the Ester Volunteer Fire Department
written by Mark Simpson, Captain EVFD
The village of Ester was founded as a gold rush town just after the turn of the last century. Located some 6 miles west of Fairbanks, at the confluence of three rich, gold-bearing creeks, the residents of the area decided to remain after large scale mining ceased in the late 1950s. With help from the Ester Community Association, the Ester Volunteer Fire Department began in the mid-1960s as a neighborhood fire extinguisher brigade that used “telephone trees” to alert members when they were needed. The Department incorporated in 1977, and with the purchase of an Alaska Pipeline-surplus water tanker, began providing fire protection in a more practiced manner.
In 1982, the Ester Volunteer Fire Department moved from its volunteer-built firehall behind the Gold Camp building in the village to a new Fire Station located strategically at the intersection of the Parks Highway and the Old Nenana Highway. With a stream of funding from property owners within the Ester Fire Service Area, EVFD began to build the professionally trained volunteer department needed by the growing area.
Today, the Ester Volunteer Fire Department is a full service fire, rescue, hazardous materials response, and EMS provider. The nearly 40 volunteer firefighters and medics provide these services to the 3500 residents of the Ester Fire Service Area. Our 30-square mile district contains residential and commercial buildings, major electrical infrastructure serving all of Fairbanks, the only railroad into the interior, and the busiest highway in Alaska, the George Parks Highway. Volunteers are on call day and night and respond every day of the year to any kind of emergency. Through cooperative agreements with other borough and city departments, EVFD can be called up to provide Fire and EMS services to nearly 100,000 Alaskans.