KAYSVILLE -- With 100 candles on the cake, the Kaysville Fire Department will be on hand just in case it gets out of control.
The fire department is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Wednesday with a banquet that will host 200 people, said Kaysville Fire Chief Brett Larkin, who has been with the department for 30 years.
Those guests include current and former firefighters, who "gave of their time to serve their community," Larkin said.
The department's current 35 firefighters are mostly paid volunteers, which means the majority don't get paid unless they go out on an emergency call, Larkin said.
"The guys are as heavily committed to this department today as the guys were 100 years ago," Larkin said.
The fire department was organized on May 4, 1911, with Ernest C. Blood as fire chief. It had 22 members, all volunteers.
The fire station has moved several times in the past century and has grown from a handcart to several engines.
Fires have changed also, Larkin said. The fire department responds to fewer grass and wildfires than it did years ago. Now, more houses fill up Kaysville's borders.
Also, the houses and buildings are safer than they were years ago and people in general are more aware of what can be a fire hazard.
The fire station is currently manned 24 hours a day by two firefighters, who also serve as emergency medical technicians with the department's ambulance.
Technology has made rounding up firefighters easier than in the past. Every firefighter, whether on duty or volunteer, carries a pager that goes off when they are needed.
Kaysville Fire Deputy Chief Jim Dotson, 72, said when he started with the fire department 44 years ago, firefighters were notified of an emergency by telephone.
The city installed red phones in 10 homes, and when someone called the fire department -- because 911 didn't exist in those days -- the person answering the phone first was responsible for getting the information out to everyone else.
Coincidentally, Dotson was fire chief when Larkin joined as a volunteer firefighter. Larkin said the only training he received in those early days was from books he read while working at a gun shop on Main Street and at the two-hour meetings on Thursday nights.
Training has changed dramatically since then. Firefighters have to be certified in many areas and undergo hours of training each year, Larkin said.
Larkin remembered that, at one of the first fires he responded to, the first truck didn't have enough hose to get to the house. Larkin, who was on the second truck, said he was told to "take the hose into the basement."
"I did and I squirted the fire out," he said.
Larkin said that incident sold him on being a firefighter and that he would drop everything, including his own birthday party, to put out a fire.
Dotson said one of the worst fires he had been on was a hay baler in the middle of a field.
"We're fighting this fire in the hay baler, and meanwhile, the exhaust on the fire engine caught the straw under it on fire," Dotson said. "We turned around and looked, and there was another fire."
Glenn Andersen, 78, now of Roy, started as a volunteer firefighter for Kaysville in 1950 when he was 18. He spent 38 years with the fire department until shoulder surgery caused him to leave.
Back when Andersen joined, the fire chief, who was elected by the firefighters, would "grab anyone who was near the fire station and drag them to the fire," Andersen said.
Later, Andersen got a job with Kaysville city, where it was mandatory for all city employees to volunteer as firefighters.
"I got an old black hat and an old coat," Andersen said.
He said the first fire he responded to was at a roller coaster at Lagoon.
It was also the first time a brand-new 1950 fire truck was used, he said, but the driver had problems with it because he failed to notice the emergency brake was on.
Andersen said it will be nice to meet with other firefighters and to be honored for the service they gave.