Louis Thomas, a local plumber, led the call to form the Riverside Volunteer Fire Department in 1895. Thomas was elected Chief and served in that capacity until 1903. In 1898, the Village
Adopted an ordinance to make the volunteer department an official department of the Village. The firefighters continued volunteering their time until 1901, when Chief Thomas asked the Village Board to compensate the department members. Riverside was one of the first communities in Illinois to pay their firefighters.