• History

  • In August of 1973 the Gordonville Fire Department was formed serving the City of Gordonville and five miles around it. Charlie Skelton was appointed as the first Fire Chief. Their first fire truck was a 1941 American LaFrance pumper acquired from Poplar Bluff.

    The fire trucks were housed in a shed behind Chief Skelton’s house for several years. One problem with this arrangement was that the shed was on private property. In the winter, road crews would clear the snow from the roads but could not clear the drive to the shed. Chief Skelton and some of the firemen would work hard to clear the snow so the trucks could get out if needed.
    With Gordonville being more centrally located in the county than Delta, they were often called upon to go outside their normal territory to fight fires. At this time both Cape Girardeau and Jackson Fire Departments rarely left their city limits to fight rural fires so Gordonville would be the first one called. Even though the fires would be outside their territory Gordonville Fire Department would make the effort to help wherever they could. To raise funds for the department a subscription of $30 per household was established. Not everyone would pay this fee. For those who did, if they had a fire, they would not be billed any extra. But if a fire happened and you had not paid a fee you would be billed for the time and materials used to fight the fire. This bill could sometimes be several hundreds of dollars. Another fund raiser was a yearly picnic, hosted by the department, at the city park. A new station was built in 1980. It was designed as a multi-use building with the fire department on the bottom level, city hall and community center on the upper level. Situated in the middle of Gordonville on a highway through town, it provided quick access wherever they needed to go.

    One of Charlie Skelton’s achievements while Fire Chief was to be awarded Firefighter of the Year. At that time he was the fourth person in the state to receive this award. After Charlie Skelton resigned Delmar Eggiman became Chief for a short time until Pat Jett was appointed Chief. Chief Jett pushed long and hard for the department to become a fire district. In the summer of 1993 this goal was achieved and Gordonville Fire Department became Gordonville Area Fire Protection District and a tax based entity. With this change the yearly picnics were turned over to the Gordonville Fire Auxiliary.

    In 1996 a second station was built in the west side of the district. In 1998 Chief Jett was in a vehicle accident while acquiring another fire truck. Shortly afterwards Pat Jett decided to resign and Roger English was appointed Chief. Also in 1998 another station was placed in Dutchtown in the southern part of the district.

    One of Roger English’s concerns was that all firefighter know the area. Not just in their own district but the entire county. By now there was county-wide 9-1-1 and mutual aid agreements with the other departments. Roger would conduct classes on understanding the maps and the addressing system used by 9-1-1 in the rural areas. In 2001 Roger English resigned and Gary Matlock was appointed Chief.

    Mark Korber succeeded Gary for several years and currently Randy Morris Jr. is Chief of the department.  Randy has made multiple advances with in the department including moving the Dutchtown station, instituting Advanced Life Support care, acquiring new apparatus, lowering the department's ISO rating, and developing a core team of officers.