From simple beginnings, starting with three hose companies and 75 volunteer firefighters, the Hollister Fire Department can now boast of four dedicated fire stations, each filled with specialized firefighting equipment. The department recently reached its 145th anniversary on Dec. 27.
The city was founded when Colonel William Welles Hollister split with his partners in the Flint-Bixby ranch, with Hollister taking the area of the ranch that became the city of Hollister in 1872. The first fire companies in Hollister started immediately after.
“Hollister was a sheep rancher and this area was great for growing cattle feed,” said Hollister Fire Chief Bob Martin Del Campo. “When the farmers were storing the grain, alfalfa, and hay, there were a lot of fires because of spontaneous combustion. You just did not have the same kind of fire protection that you have now. They needed to be ready to fight fires at the ranch.”