The History of the Kingsport Fire Department

The Kingsport Fire Department was organized June 23, 1916 as a self-supporting volunteer organization consisting of 48 men divided among four companies. Their gear consisted of four hand-drawn hose reels, 2,000 feet of hose, one hand-drawn hook and ladder truck, (which had one 20ft and one 30ft ladder an 18ft wall ladder, and axes, poles, and lanterns), six nozzles, and one hand-drawn chemical engine with two 35-gallon chemical tanks. Fire alarms were sounded by a wildcat whistle at the Extract Plant, one of the industries located in the heart of Kingsport.

The City of Kingsport assumed financial responsibility of the department when it was incorporated in 1917. The first pumper truck, purchased in 1917, is still owned by the department and is currently displayed at Station Two on Fort henry Drive in an outdoor showroom. The department started operating under the leadership of Chief Tom Warrick. They responded to calls with one paid driver until 1930, when four paid firefighters and the second pumper truck were added to the force. The department has grown substantially, with 118 full time firefighters currently employed working out of eight fire stations.

The Kingsport Fire Department was re-accredited in 2012 by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. All suppression personnel are certified by the Tennessee Commission on Firefighting Standards to the highest level available and are licensed by the State as Paramedics or EMT. All personnel in the Fire Marshall’s Office are certified through the State Fire Marshall’s Office. The Kingsport Fire Department dedicate themselves to continue to work and train to be a premier department in the State of Tennessee.

 

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Kingsport’s First Fire Station