National Fire Fighter Corp. is a family-owned business in Eugene, Oregon dedicated to helping our customers protect themselves, their families, their businesses, their communities and property from the devastating consequences of fire by delivering exceptional service and quality products in a timely manner.
In 1945, Ernie Laing and his partner Sterling McReynolds set out to launch a welding supply business. Ernie worked as an engineer building air separation plants and when his firm, Industrial Air Products, was purchased by Liquid Air, it seemed like the right time for a new venture and Eugene Welders Supply was born. 15 years later, Ernie’s son Jerry and Sterling’s son Larry joined the company. Jerry really took to the business and purchased Sterling’s shares in 1980 (the early 80’s). In the 1990’s, Jerry’s sons Bob and Brent joined the business and eventually took the helm, allowing Jerry to retire. The name Eugene Welders Supply was changed to Industrial Source, which was more fitting as we expanded across Oregon with locations in Coos Bay, Medford, Grants Pass, Salem, Portland and Roseburg.
In 1992, the Laings were looking to diversify. They purchased National Fire Fighter Corp., a local business focused on fire suppression supplies and service in operation since 1951, from Jack Clark. Since 1992, we’ve dedicated ourselves to being knowledgeable, honest, friendly and easy to work with. Our technicians are factory certified on most major systems and would be happy to provide you with a complimentary walk-through fire safety survey of your business to evaluated your code compliance and ensure that you are adequately protected. Since purchasing National Fire Fighter Corp., we’ve also worked on expanding our customer base across Oregon. In 2000, we purchased a business that shared our focus in Portland, Carbon Dioxide, Inc and in 2002, we began operating under the National Fire Fighter Corp. name in the Portland metro area. Since then, we have expanded into several other markets across Oregon. Today, we have certified technicians in Portland (6), Eugene (3), Salem (2), Medford/Grants Pass (2) and Roseburg (1) and an outstanding support staff to ensure that you receive the best service possible.
In 1993, Brent stumbled into a niche that would quickly become a major part of the Laings’ work - wildland firefighting clothing, gear and equipment. National Fire Fighter Corp. teamed up with Eugene business Western Shelter Systems, founded and then owned by Paul Bennett (a former owner of National Fire Fighter Corp.), to design a pair of wildland firefighting pants using flame resistant Nomex fabric. At that time, the industry was largely wearing treated cotton trousers, which were not very durable or comfortable. Although the price of these new “CrewBoss Brush Pants” was quite a bit higher than the old style cotton trousers, quickly after the pants started landing in the hands of government agencies, we started getting calls from across the country. Oregon crews, wearing the new pants, were travelling across the country to fight fires. They loved the pants and so did most people who set their eyes on them. "We knew then that we didn't have to focus just on Oregon," says Brent. "Because if Oregon doesn't have a fire season, someone else is going to have one and we wanted to be there." Soon after, we published our first catalog and started selling products on our website. "We decided early on that whether a customer spent $5 or $5,000, we would take care of them," Brent says. "In the beginning, customers would call us and be thrilled that we would be responsive and ship the same day. It's been successful and we tried hard at that. We still do. Our customers have come to count on us for that level of service.” Today, we are still a part of innovation in the industry, recently assisting manufacturer True North Gear with development of their new “Dragon Slayer” line of wildland clothing.
In addition to selling the highest quality wildland firefighting products manufacturers across the country make, we’ve also expanded our business (and our building) for manufacturing. In 2003, we began building drip torches, tools used to intentionally light fires in wildland fire suppression, controlled burning and forestry applications. Today, we sell drip torches to the federal government, state/local governments, fire departments, private contractors, private landowners and to distributors across the country. In Eugene, we also build our popular mobile attack skid units - mobile firefighting units that include a pump, gasoline-powered motor, tank and hoses. The skid units vary in size according to our customers needs and can fit on a flatbed truck or inside the bed of a pickup truck to serve areas inaccessible to larger vehicles.
One of the things we are most proud of is our dedication to giving back to the communities that help sustain our businesses. We eagerly contribute 10% of our net income back to our local and wildland firefighting communities through cash/merchandise donations and paid employee volunteer hours. Each employee is encouraged to volunteer at least 16 hours of their time each year during the work day and they are paid to do so. We love volunteering for organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, FOOD for Lane County, March of Dimes, Coburg Fire District and our local schools. Our employees are also involved in recommending and evaluating cash/merchandise requests. We love supporting and hold many organizations close to our hearts including Courageous Kids, Relief Nursery, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
Today, our National Fire Fighter Corp. headquarters is still in the original Eugene Welders Supply location on West 6th Street in Eugene. We invite you to stop by, say hi and check out our products and services.