1970: City Fire Chief And Truck Driver Retire

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
More than 72 years experience with the Doniphan Fire Department departed in 1970 when fire chief Leonard Ponder (pictured at right) and truck driver Andy Price (left) retired. Price joined the department in 1928 at which time the town boasted a 1928 Model A fire truck. The force consisted of 15 men then, the same number that it had in 1970. Price recalled that even before that time the town had volunteers and a mechanical type fire cart with a bell which clanged each time the wheels revolved. The salary paid to the men in those earlier days was $1 for a grass fire and $2 for a house fire. When the late Check Hancock retired from the department in January 1940, he was replaced by Leonard Ponder. He served with the department for seven years before being named fire chief, a position he held until his retirement 23 years later. Ponder was proud to point out that the men have had a salary increase and in 1970 received $2 for practice which is held the first Sunday each month. Firemen also were then paid $3 for a call although they might not have to hook up a hose, $4 for a grass fire and $5 when the fire required hooking up a large hose. Andy Price was perhaps better known as a fishing guide on the Current River, something that he also began doing in 1928. Leonard Ponder previously had worked as a freight handler for the Union Pacific Railroad in Doniphan for 33 years. He also delivered parcels for the post office. Following a severe heart attack in 1966, he retired but remained active as mayor of Doniphan for several terms.
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