Tri-State Fire Protection District History

Tri-State Fire Protection District began in 1941 as a small group of volunteers working to help others. The first firefighters to serve this district volunteered their time and energy, and helped to support the operations of the department by holding several fund raising events each year.  The firefighters realized fund raising was not the answer and on September 27, 1946, through a voter’s referendum, the Tri-State Fire Protection District was established and levied a fire tax for the first time.

The first fire station was located in the residential community known as Tri-State Village located southwest of Interstate 55 and Route 83. The current Station 121 (formerly Station1) was built in 1958 and reconstructed in 1997 and is located within two blocks of where the original station once stood.  Over the years, the District was supported by volunteers, and then made the transition to a staff of paid-on-call firefighters. In 1974 the District hired their first full-time firefighters. These individuals worked Monday through Friday, during the daytime hours, when paid-on-call firefighters were typically committed to their full time jobs, and not readily available for emergencies.

In 1975, our second fire station was built at 419 Plainfield Road in the City of Darien. This station, now known as Station 122, also served as the Fire District Headquarters from 1975 until January 2021 when the new Administration Center was built at Station 121.  The Plainfield Road fire station also served as the District’s dispatch center from 1975 to 2018.

The dispatch center:

  • Answered all emergency calls and dispatched Tri-State fire companies. On-duty paid-on-call and full-time firefighters manned the dispatch center until full-time dispatchers started to be hired in 1985.
  • Answered all emergency calls for the Clarendon Heights Fire Protection District beginning in December 1976 and up until the Clarendon Heights Fire Protection District was dissolved and annexed into Tri-State Fire Protection District in November 1995.
  • In September 1991, the DuPage County Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) was formed and the 9-1-1 system was born replacing the old 7-digit emergency numbers.  Tri-State became a secondary PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) in the DuPage County 9-1-1 System.
  • In July 2009, the Tri-State dispatch center began providing 9-1-1 answering and dispatch services to the Village of Willow Springs Fire Department.
  • In September 2016, dispatch services were officially turned over to the Addison Consolidated Dispatch Center (ACDC) to comply with the State’s mandated consolidation of dispatch centers. ACDC would continue to utilize the Tri-State dispatch center until their new building was completed in April 2018.

Since inception, Tri-State Fire Protection District has provided both fire suppression services and basic first aid and Basic Life Support (BLS). The ambulance was staffed with firefighters trained to perform basic treatment and transport to an area hospital. In June of 1982, a referendum was passed to provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) services and full-time paramedics through a service contract with a third-party provider.

A contract was signed with a third-party vendor to provide two on-duty paramedics around the clock. The paramedics responded from the fire station on Plainfield Road in a squad vehicle and firefighters would respond with an ambulance from the fire station in Tri-State Village. If a medical call required advanced treatment, one paramedic from the squad and one firefighter from the ambulance would make the transport to the hospital. If only basic treatment was required, both firefighters would make the transport to the hospital.

In 1990, the District’s third fire station, now known as Fire Station 123, was built in Burr Ridge on Madison Street just south of 87th Street. When this station went into operation, the paramedic squad was disbanded, the number of on-duty paramedics was increased, and the Fire District began staffing two ALS ambulances, one at the Darien station and one at the Burr Ridge station. A full-time mechanic also operates out of this station and maintains all of the Fire
District vehicles.

In November 1995, the residents of the Clarendon Heights Fire Protection District held a referendum, to determine if their district should be annexed into the Tri-State Fire Protection District. The referendum passed and the Clarendon Heights Fire Protection District was dissolved and became a part of Tri-State. The fire station located at 6301 Western became our Station 4.

Clarendon Heights Fire Protection District Station


On September 23, 2013 the Village of Willow Springs entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Tri-State Fire Protection District to provide fire and EMS service to the Village for a period of three years effective October 1, 2013. The IGA also stated that both entities would explore the feasibility of the Village annexing into the Fire District at a later date.

On October 1, 2013, the Willow Springs Fire Department was disbanded and Tri-State Fire Protection District began servicing the Village.  Crews from Station 4 at 6301 Western were relocated to the Willow Springs fire station at 8259 Willow Springs Road. The Willow Springs fire station became Tri-State Station 4 and the station at 6301 Western was closed and became an administrative office for the Fire Prevention Bureau. In January 2015, the Fire Prevention Bureau moved to the Willow Springs fire station and the station at 6301 Western was closed and sold to a private party.

Station 124 in Willow Springs


On March 15, 2016, residents of the Village of Willow Springs passed a referendum to join the Tri-State Fire protection District. On April 11, 2016 the Board of Trustees of the Tri-State Fire Protection District passed a Resolution accepting the Village of Willow Springs into the Fire District and a court order was signed in DuPage County Court on April 12, 2016 making the annexation official. The Willow Springs became Station 124.

In June 2018, the Fire District began the process of replacing the contract paramedics with District employees. The process was completed in September 2019 and resulted in a third ambulance being placed into service at the Willow Springs station.

In the Spring of 2020 construction began on the Fire District’s Administration Center and Training Tower located adjacent to Station 121 in Tri-State Village. The project was completed in January 2021 and the administrative staff from the Plainfield Road station, the fire prevention bureau staff from the Willow Springs station, and the Training Division offices from the Burr Ridge station were consolidated into one location to better serve the Public and the District.