Pikeville Volunteer Fire Department
A little history….
The Fire of 1940
In the mid 1940’s the City of Pikeville suffered a disastrous building fire in downtown. This fire came at a huge financial loss to the community. In early 1946, the City of Pikeville council and the community came together to begin forming the department. On March 15, 1946, the City of Pikeville Volunteer Fire department was officially organized. The department was founded as, and remains to this day, an all-volunteer organization staffed by local community members.
Though volunteers may operate the department, training standards remain the same for volunteer members as they do with any paid fire department. The department strives to maintain training in accordance with the most recent state and national standards. New members in the department receive orientation to firefighting, before continuing on to more advanced classes. The majority of the membership hold advanced Firefighter 1 or higher certifications. All members receive training in vehicle extrication, thermal imaging, emergency driving, CPR, and first aid. In addition, many members are trained in “rapid intervention” which is very specialized training used in difficult structure collapse situations or situations where other firefighters may need help or rescued. The department even has members that have trained at the National Fire Academy in Maryland with New York City Fire Officers.
With the full support of the men and women of the City of Pikeville council, the department has been able to apply for and receive numerous grants over the past decade. Majority of these grants have been full awards or have required only a minimal 5-10% match of funds from the City of Pikeville. The department has utilized this money to update equipment and apparatus to national standards. The department operates three Engines, one 114’ Tower, one Special Rescue Unit, one SCBA Mobile Fill Station/Command, and one Wildland UTV. Two of our engines carry complete sets of vehicle extrication equipment for use on automobile accidents and one apparatus even has winches, as well as, heavy lifting airbags that are capable of lifting over 100,000 pounds safely. This along with other equipment the department has obtained provides the City of Pikeville residents a reduction in cost on their homeowners insurance. The Pikeville Fire Department currently operates at an insurance rating of Class 5 and hopes for re-evaluation soon to a lower level, which will save our community and citizens even more money. These insurance ratings are also attractive to prospective businesses or factories who may want to locate to the City of Pikeville.
Additional grant funding has allowed the department to expand the department’s long-term history of fire prevention and education. The department always strives to educate our community children and citizens in fire safety.
In addition to firefighting capability, the department also has the ability to provide basic emergency medical care including cardiac arrest defibrillation. The department maintains several medical personnel, including licensed Paramedics, Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians, and Emergency Medical Responder.
The Pikeville Fire Department is an active member of two Mutual Aid Organizations. When requested by another county fire department, Pikeville Fire responds to any emergency scene in Bledsoe County through the Bledsoe County Fire Mutual Aid Association. In addition, the Pikeville Fire Department is a member of the Sequatchie Valley Mutual Aid Association composed of 10 other Cities stretching all the way to South Pittsburg. As a member of both organizations, the department can either request aid or send aid in the form of apparatus, equipment, and manpower depending on the need and severity of the emergency.
In the Pikeville Fire Department’s 64-year history, it has only had eight fire chiefs to date. The department’s first fire chief was Sam H. Brown, followed by John T. Therrell, Alfred Holland, Bill Stephens, Charles Walling, William Holland, George E. Young, and currently Paul H. Swafford.
As of January 2023, our department is blessed with 24 personnel who have varying backgrounds and areas of expertise.
The Pikeville Fire Department is continually seeking ways to recruit and retain trustworthy men and women who would like to volunteer some of their time to help our neighbors during an emergency.
The department’s membership meets every 1st and 3rd Monday night of the month at 7:00 PM central time. Our door is always open and we welcome anyone to stop by and apply.