Home » Departments » Fire » History


EFD's 3 Fire Trucks and 10 Full-time Fireman upon the opening of Station #1 in 1961
EFD St. 1 (1961)
(L-R: 1958 Chevrolet Pick-up Truck, '27 American LaFrance, '48 American LaFrance, '60 Ford/American LaFrance, -Bill Bowling, Worley Merritt, J. D. "Nub" Phillips, Harold Dean Phillips, Bill Carter, Clarence "Bounce" Carter, Howard "Jug" Clark, Cpt. Walter "Baldy" Morris, Cpt. Alvin Kyte and Chief Dennis Younce) 

   The Elizabethton Fire Department was organized in October of 1908 upon the election of Mr. Walter R. Dunlap as the City's first Fire Chief. Under the direction of Chief Dunlap, 3 Hose Companies were organized in late 1908, followed by a Hook & Ladder Company in late 1909. Chief Dunlap was paid only $5.00 per month for his services. The Fire Chief would continue to be a part-time position until June 10th 1941, when Chief Mark Fletcher was promoted to a full-time position at a rate of $105.00 per month, which was only $5.00 more that the other 3 full-time firemen earned. 
   The first known EFD volunteer roster list was submitted to the Board of Mayor and Alderman on September 13th, 1909. At that time EFD was made up Chief Dunlap, Assistant Chief Rhudy, 3 Captains, 3 Lieutenants, 30 Firemen and 3 hand-pulled Hose Carts. The Hook and Ladder Wagon would be put into service within the next 2 months. New Fire Chief, W. D. Rhudy submitted the next known EFD volunteer roster list on June 23rd, 1913. At that time EFD consisted of Chief Rhudy, Assistant Chief Brad Rosenbaum, 4 Captains, 4 Assistant Captains, 21 Firefighters, 3 Hose Carts and 1 Hook & Ladder Wagon. The first full-time paid fireman was John Wilson in January of 1929. 
   EFD purchased their first motorized fire apparatus, a Ford Model-T Chemical and Hose Truck, in 1923. Our second motorized fire apparatus, an open-cab 1927 American La France Pumper, arrived in January 1928 and was our first to be equipped with a fire pump. Our next fire apparatus, an open-cab American La France-Foamite Pumper, wouldn't come until 1948. Our first aerial apparatus, a Ford-American LaFrance Aerial Ladder Truck, was purchased in 1966 and our first Brush Truck, a 3/4 ton Chevrolet pickup truck equipped with an auxiliary driven 250 GPM fire pump and 250 gallon water tank, was purchased September 25th 1980.  
   EFD moved into their first Fire Department housing in 1927. This wasn't a dedicated Fire Station, but rather was part of the new City Municipal Building, which also housed Elizabethton City Hall, Elizabethton Police Dept. and the Elizabethton Jail. The Fire Dept. offices and living quarters were located upstairs with a fire pole in place to allow for quick response to the fire trucks in the small bay below. We wouldn't move into our first true dedicated Fire Station until 1961. This Fire Station at the corner of S. Sycamore Street and Hattie Avenue still serves as EFD Headquarters today. EFD Station 2 would open just nine years later at 1200 W. G Street, with Station #3 opening in 1997 at 100 Buck Van Huss Drive. 

EFD firefighters working to document department’s history.