Wood Hill Village Fire Department
In 1960-61, a small subdivision was formed in unincorporated Will County and was named the Wood Hill subdivision. Three of the early initial homeowners, Red Black, James Burt, and Kenny Gibbons, got together and decided that the area needed fire protection. They formed the Wood Hill Volunteer Fire Department. All were former members of area fire departments.
They were able to lease a 1926 Seagrave fire engine that was no longer being used by the Hazel Crest Fire Department. Additionally, they obtained space in an old World War II quonset hut on Exchange Street, a gravel road at the time. The building was used as storage for the builder and was the only building that could hold the truck. It was located just west of the water tower. The curb cuts remain for the gravel driveway that went around the new fire station.
Several more residents joined the department and fundraising began. Used equipment was borrowed or purchased from other area departments' out-of-service equipment stocks
Park Forest South Fire Department
In 1966 and 1967, a new builder, Nathan Manilow, emerged and had great plans for the area. The residents joined in his vision and incorporated the community as Park Forest South. The Wood Hill subdivision then consisted of approximately 300 homes with a population of about 1,000, who were all spread between Exchange, Irving, Blackhawk, and Western. The builder was concerned with the market image and decided the 1928 fire engine and the other secondhand equipment needed improvement.
A deal was struck and the first new fire apparatus, a 1969 Ward-LaFrance fire engine, was ordered. The Fireman's Association that did the fundraising for the department set up a loan to pay $1,000 per year for the $15,000 engine. The builder then made an annual donation of $1,000 for equipment.
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