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2 - Fire Works in 1970s

On November 13, 2009, the City of Parkland held a dedication ceremony for its $2 million Public Works and Fire Station facility located on the northeast corner of Parkside Drive and Holmberg Road (the location of the Old City Hall). However, there’s lots of history to fire engines and trucks in Parkland.

Back in 1973 during Mayor Harold Bockhold’s administration, Parkland acquired a large water tank truck from the U.S. government surplus supply in Palatka, Florida. Parkland had no water hydrants in the Pine Tree Estates area so the water tanker was needed to provide water to put out house and field fires—some of which were started during the day merely to see the  volunteer female firefighters in action (while the male firefighters were at work).


Parkland’s volunteer firefighters pose for a picture at the Donley pole
barn in the early 1970s: on the truck is City Clerk Lynn Steel; standing
from left to right are Gail Caroto, Maryann Temple and Patricia Sweet.
Volunteers not pictured are Julienne Bockhold, Angela Moran,
Nancy Aaron and Virginia (Jennie) Donley.

[Photograph donated by unidentified donor to the Parkland Historical Society.]


There were eight female fire fighters---the first certified female fire fighters in Broward County! Water availability was not as difficult in the Ranches area since water was available there from the drainage canals. All of the volunteer fire fighters were certified by the Wilton Manor Fire Department which trained both the men and women. 

A couple of years later, the city purchased a used fire truck from Coconut Creek. For obvious reasons, this truck was referred to as “Old Yellow” but the city kept “Old Yellow” for just a couple of years.


Fire truck purchased from Coconut Creek; nicknamed “Old Yellow”.

[Photograph donated to the Parkland Historical Society by Harold Bockhold.]


In 1975, Parkland resident Paul Gougleman joined the volunteer fire department and, because of his experience and knowledge, was elected by the group as its Chief. Chief Gougleman privately purchased a ¾ ton pickup fire truck which was the only up-to-date fire engine in the city. This truck became the first to respond to fires since Chief Gougleman was retired, arrived within minutes to survey the need, take necessary action and determine the manpower needed. All of this was accomplished by Chief Gougleman as a volunteer at no cost to the city; he even paid for his fuel, oil and repairs.

Since Parkland had such a small tax base at the time, there was no money budgeted for a fire station so the trucks were always parked outside in the elements. Chief Gougleman determined that that the trucks and equipment should have some shelter overhead to protect the equipment from the weather. (The pickup fire truck was his so he had a shelter for it.) Chief Gougleman insisted that it would diminish the efficiency of the fire fighting equipment if it didn’t at least have a temporary structure until funding could be arranged for a permanent building.


Three Parkland fire trucks from 1978. 

[Photograph donated to the Parkland Historical Society by Harold Bockhold.]


Chief Gougleman was anxiously awaiting Narco Realty Inc. to begin construction of 464 homes in Parkland Lakes (later renamed Cypress Head). He rightfully believed the new homes being built would increase Parkland’s population and ultimately lead to an increase in the city’s tax base bringing the volunteer fire department more operating money.

In the mean time, he and other officers contacted Narco Realty for permission to use a portion of land along Holmberg Road for a temporary building. Former Mayor Bockhold asked Florida Power and Light for eight poles which they donated and delivered to Parkland. The fire department volunteers dug the holes and set the poles securely with concrete bases.

Mayor Bockhold also called an engineering truss company for twelve trusses which they donated to the volunteers. Chief Gougleman rounded up the fire fighters to set the trusses and nail down a cover for the roof. It was a successful project and they backed in “Old Yellow” with the media there to document the event.


Parkland’s Temporary “Fire Station”. 

[Article from Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel, February 18, 1979.]


When Mayor Gerren had the “fire station” torn down because it hadn’t been approved, Chief Gougleman got fed up, resigned and took his fire engine with him!

The funding for the Fire Department was finally resolved by the City Commission stepping in to solve the monetary problem of the volunteer fire department but it took three years before the city had good protective cover and storage for its fire trucks. The City's fire protection was no longer left to the ‘whim and fancy’ of the owner of the fire truck.

…And that’s how it was in Parkland in the 1970s!

Written by James Weiss; Archive Retrieval by Pierre Hodot; Edited by Ira Goldman; Art Work by Bill Reicherter; Parkland Historical Society President Jeff Schwartz