Fire Department

The Nineties ...

In 1990, a bond issue passed by voters went into effect that brought about much needed departmental growth. Included in this bond issue was the construction of two new stations, 23 and 24, new facilities for stations 17 and 14, a remodel and expansion of the Training Center, and the showpiece of the department today: Station 18. Station 18 houses two engines, one truck, two paramedic rescue units, and one battalion chief. Living quarters and the barn are all located on the first floor. The second story is the home to the Fire Investigation Division and Fire Prevention Bureau. All of the remaining administrative functions are housed on the third floor of this super station, the largest fire facility in the state of Nevada.

Chief William S. Bunker

In December 1990, after 31 years of service, Chief Parrish retired from the fire department. Deputy Fire Chief William Bunker acted as the Fire Chief for six months before he was appointed to the position on June 18, 1991. Prior to his appointment, Chief Bunker served as a firefighter, engineer, paramedic, rural fire chief, and deputy chief.

Full of enthusiasm and new ideas, Chief Bunker set to work immediately. One of his first goals was to achieve an ISO Class 1 rating. By upgrading services and the tremendous effort of every member of the department, CCFD finally obtained its ISO Class 1 rating in 1992, thus becoming the first county fire department to obtain this distinctive rating of excellence at that time.

The same month Chief Bunker took permanent office, an Employee Assistance Program was put into effect. Percy "Red" Christian served as the liaison officer. This program provided department members with a place to "let it all out" without having to worry about "how it would look." Firefighters are a shoulder for the community to cry on. Red was a shoulder for firefighters to cry on. This program continues to prove its worth by helping many firefighters and their families.

On November 11, 1991, the department hired its hairiest member, a yellow Labrador retriever, Josie. She joined the ranks of the Clark County Fire Department to serve as an accelerant detecting canine.

Josie had been a guide-dog candidate, who at 18 months, was declared too hyperactive for a guide dog. She was sold to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (BATF) where she was quickly discovered for her other talents. The career change worked out just fine for Josie. She was donated to the Clark County Fire Department by BATF where she joined forces with her handler, Fire Investigator Cliff Mitchell. Together they began a life-long friendship and were trained as a team by the Connecticut State Police.


The Cliff-and-Josie team investigated approximately 250 fires, resulting in 15 arrests with a 100 percent conviction rate. Everyone who had an opportunity to watch these two during demonstrations and/or actual investigation work were always impressed with Josie's tremendous sense of smell. She could detect a drop of gasoline in a parking lot that was almost three weeks old.

Josie made arson probes much easier for the department investigators, shaving anywhere from five to twenty hours off an investigation. Many scenes are so thoroughly burned out that conventional means of accelerant detection yield no results. Josie could quite often mean the difference between an arsonist getting away with it or cooling his heels in a jail cell.

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