We are a fire department providing fire control, emergency medical service, rescue, fire prevention, and education.
We are dedicated to safeguarding the history and traditions and to effecting the goals of the department.
We are devoted to serving the community while practicing the core values of commitment, courtesy, collaboration, communication, and customer service.
Who We Are...
As the first fire department in the county, the National City Fire Department has a long and proud history dating back to our establishment in 1887 and continuing today. From that first station, we have grown to two full sized stations (34, 31) plus a smaller squad station (33).
The National City Fire Department runs in excess of 10,000 calls for service a year, consistently ranking us among the busiest in the county. Within NationalCity's 9.5 square mile city limits, bordered by San Diego and Chula Vista and three major freeways, we provide service to a community of 70,000 residents that swells to over 100,000 during the work week.
Handling those calls are two paramedic assessment engines (3 firefighters), one paramedic assessment truck (4 firefighters), a paramedic assessment squad (2 firefighters) and a Battalion Chief on each of three shifts. NCFD also houses AMR paramedic/transport ambulances at stations 34 and 31.
NCFD Chief is Frank Parra is a lifetime resident of National City, as well as a former City Council member and veteran paramedic in San Diego County. We are also fortunate to have a positive, progressive, and open relationship with the Mayor, the City Council, and the City Manager. It is our unified goal to provide the citizens of National City the highest and most professional level of public safety possible.
On September 10, 1887, National City Firemen's Club was established as a volunteer organization to provide fire protection to the area. In its early stages, the organization suffered from internal conflicts, mostly political, as did many early volunteer organizations. However, the National City Firemen's Club survived through the years and became the National City Fire Department in 1935.
All fire equipment, consisting of hose carts and a hook & ladder rig, were drawn by manpower and were housed in a building at the corner of 16th Street and Taft Avenue. An additional hose cart was located at 8th Street and National Avenue. In 1910 the first fire station was built at 13th Street and National Avenue. This original station served the city as a fire station until 1954 when it transitioned into City Hall and a police station. That structure was torn down in 1966 to make way for the new Civic Center.
The National City Firemen's Club became incorporated on April 27, 1911, and a year later the City purchased its first motorized fire apparatus. The 1912 Seagraves pumper carried 1,200 feet of 2 1/2" hose and a 40-gallon tank of chemicals. It was powered by an 80-horsepower, air-cooled engine that could propel the apparatus at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
In 1922, the City hired its first paid Fire Chief, W.S. Carvell, who continued as Chief until February 8, 1924, at which time James Bird was appointed to Fire Chief.
A new Seagraves 750 gallons per minute Class B pumper was purchased in 1925 and the original 1912 pumper was retired. That same 1925 Seagraves pumper is now housed in the fire department history room located at headquarters Station 34 and occasionally makes its way out for parades and social events.
By 1935, the fire department transitioned from the service of dedicated volunteers to a fully paid department. At that time it was fully staffed with a grand total of five firefighters until more staff and equipment were added in the 1940's.
J. Clifford Bailey was selected as Fire Chief in 1950 and new programs and policies were implemented. For the first time true uniforms were required to be worn by all the full-time firefighters. Chief Bailey went on to distinguish himself, and the department, by becoming the President of the California Fire Chief's Association in 1965.
A new fire station was built on the corner of 16th Street and D Avenue in 1954 and it served as the headquarters station until it was demolished in October of 2003 to make way for the Station 34 which was dedicated in June of 2005. This station houses NCFD headquarters and 19,000 square feet with space for an engine, a truck, a battalion SUV, multiple reserve apparatus and an AMR paramedic ambulance.
The Station 34 campus also includes a state of the art 5-story training tower with a propane fueled "live burn" room, ventilation props, forcible entry props and repelling areas. The incorporated drill yard has a 27,000 gallon underground water tank with its own pump system that supplies two training hydrants, an auto extrication training area and larger ventilation prop with the added ability to change the pitch/angle of the "roof".
Along with Station 34, NCFD also operates Stations 31 and 33. Station 31, built in 1984, is located in the southeast portion of the city and houses one engine and an AMR paramedic/transport ambulance. Station 33, in service since late 2017, is located in the northwest section of the city and houses a Ford F-550 custom pickup truck equipped with a 150-gallon water tank and paramedic equipment.
The National City Fire Department's Station 34's state-of-the-art facilities rival any in the county. We are proud of our history and heritage which are on display in the building's history room. We welcome visitors, so come by to take a look for yourself!