The History of Orange County Emergency Services District #1

In the early 1940’s when the City of Vidor was just starting out, emergency calls were being taken care of by the Volunteer Departments from Beaumont and Orange. In 1952, a group of concerned citizens banded together and, with equipment donated from the  Beaumont and Orange Volunteer Fire Departments, were able to form The Vidor Volunteer Fire Department. The Vidor Volunteer Fire Department was organized and housed at Mr. J.C. Arnold's Gas Station. Along with being one of the founding members of the department J.C. Arnold was also the first Fire Chief of the Vidor Volunteer Fire Department. He began working diligently to obtain equipment, training and manpower for this newly formed Fire Department. 

In 1973 The Vidor Volunteer Fire Department was recognized by a vote of the community and became Orange County Rural Fire Protection District #2 under Fire Chief Dub Davis. This allowed the department to obtain a small amout of tax dollars to assist with operating costs. The station was then located at 110 Camp St. in Vidor with headquarters at 165 East Railroad. The department grew over the next 20 years, adding another station (located on North 105 in Pine Forest) and increasing equipment to somewhere around 15 different apparatus.

Due to the growth of our community and the surrounding areas it became necessary to expand district services. Therefore, in the fall of 1993 the Orange County Rural Fire Protection District #2 became the Orange County Emergency Services District #1 under Fire Chief John Paul Feeley. This newly named Fire Department hired its first paid employees, a Fire Chief (John Paul Feeley), an Assistant Fire Chief (Gus Deason), a secretary and two vehicle mechanics.

In 1996 The Orange County Emergency Services District #1 became a commissioned department, hiring a Texas Commission on Fire Protection certified Fire Chief, Scott D. Kerwood, and turning the Department from volunteer to a combination department. With the purchase of newer equipment and restructuring the paid/volunteer personnel, the department saw better training, a volunteer reimbursement plan, better benefits for paid staff and a Texas Commision of Fire Protection Certified Training Facility (Station 2).

Currently, under Fire Chief Robert L Smith, the Orange County Emergency Services District #1 covers an area of approximately 160 square miles, owns 11 pieces of equipment, employs 25 Volunteers, 4 Full-Time staff members, 7 Part-Time Dispatchers, 20 Part-time Firefighters, 1 Full-Time Administrative Assistant, and a Fire Marshal. We are housed in 2 fire stations. Station 1, on Highway 12, named after a lifetime member, former Fire Chief and former President of the Board of Commissioners, Jimmy S. Reeves and station 2 on North FM 105. Our department is built on Pride, Honor and Selfless Service. Great credit and thanks to all who have served before us and it is our responsibility to continue building on the foundation that has made OCESD #1 second to none.

 
PAST FIRE CHIEF'S:
  • J.C. ARNOLD
  • BILLY EARL JOHNSON
  • E.G. KERR
  • W.J. "DUB" DAVIS
  • JIM CHANDLER
  • WILLIAM "BILL" GIER, II
  • JIMMY S. REEVES
  • WILLIAM WARE
  • ARLISS RAY YELLOTT, SR
  • JOHN PAUL FEELEY
  • SCOTT D. KERWOOD
  • BRYANT J. CHAMPAGNE
 

Orange County Emergency Services District #1
2351 Highway 12
Vidor, Texas77662
409-769-8294