Community Joins Smithville Fire Department in Celebrating 80 Years and Dedication of New Fire Truck (VIEW VIDEO CLIP HERE)

February 25, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chamber Director Suzanne Williams presented a Chamber “Milestone Award” Sunday to the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department for 80 years of service to the community
Dr. John Carpenter, Minister of the Smithville First United and the Bright Hill United Methodist Church began the dedication with a prayer and anointing of the new fire truck.
Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department officially placed into service the city’s new fire truck during a brief ceremony Sunday historically known as a ‘push back.’
New Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, which is a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle
Lieutenant Donnie Cantrell of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department showing features of the new fire truck to guests at Sunday's Open House
The Smithville Volunteer Fire Dept hosted a new fire truck dedication, 80th anniversary observance, and open house Sunday. A good crowd turned out for the ceremony and to enjoy cake and refreshments.
Photo shows founding members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department in 1938. Bethel Thomas (dressed in white) served as Chief. Names of others shown here unavailable
Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker with two former city firefighters at Sunday’s 80th anniversary observance, Billy Joe Cripps (center), and Freddy Colvert (right).

Smithville Volunteer Firefighters held an open house and new fire truck dedication ceremony Sunday while also celebrating the 80th anniversary of the department at the fire hall.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker began by welcoming the guests who turned out for the observance and paying tribute to firefighters past and present for their service. He also introduced and thanked the mayor and aldermen for their support of the fire department especially for the purchase of the new fire truck. Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Jason Murphy, Gayla Hendrix, Josh Miller, Danny Washer, and Shawn Jacobs each made brief remarks thanking the firefighters for the job they do for the city.

Dr. John Carpenter, Minister of the Smithville First United and the Bright Hill United Methodist Church began the dedication with a prayer and anointing of the new fire truck. Members of the department then officially placed the fire engine into service in what is historically known as a ‘push back.’

The origin of pushing a fire truck into the station dates back to the time of horse drawn equipment. Firefighters had to push the fire pumpers into the fire station because horses were incapable of backing the equipment.

Chief Parker said the new Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, which is a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle, will take the place of three vehicles being used now.

“It serves as a fire truck, rescue truck, and service truck all together. It has full fire capabilities with a 1500 gallon a minute pump. It also carries all of our rescue equipment including the jaws of life, air bags, chains saws, cutting saws, plus service equipment, ladders, etc. Its a full compliment when it goes. It can do fire and rescue both with less manpower so we’re real excited about it. We do have a foam system on this truck. Its a little more advanced foam system. We can spray foam out of the nozzles, from the deck gun on top of the truck, and from the front bumper. We can use that at the airport if we ever need it to foam the runway. The deck gun has a water capacity of 1500 gallons per minute and it has remote control capability. The truck also has cameras built in all the way around it to monitor from the back and give us side views. Monitors are at the pump panel where firefighters can see everything going on at the other side of the truck. It has exterior lights as far as the tank level. Not just the commander or whoever is in charge, but even firefighters going in or coming out of a structure can know if we have enough water to make an advance. These are just some of the features this truck gives us,” said Chief Parker.

After the ceremony guests were treated to cake and other refreshments and given an up close look at the new fire truck by members of the department.

Two former city firefighters in attendance, Freddy Colvert and Billy Joe Cripps each talked about how far the fire department has come since they served.

“I served with Shag Hendrixson, Robert Eller, Charlie Lockhart and others back in those days. I think it was around 1960. I served for about 20 years. I went on the road driving a truck for a while and that kind of broke me away but I really enjoyed it. The community has really got something to be proud of here. They don’t really understand the fire department and all it does but I do from being a past member. We had one fire truck back then and were stationed where the education building (Ernest Ray Education Center) is now. It was the city jail at that time and the fire truck was there. We had a 1954 open cab and that was the only truck we had. They have come a long way and I am really proud of the department,” said Colvert

“I was on the department in the 1960’s. I really don’t remember how long I served but I left in 1969 and moved to Madisonville to work at Tellico Plains. I think its great what they have today (fire trucks and equipment). We sure could have used it back in the 1960’s. Back then you just had to grab a hold (on the one fire truck) and hold on for dear life (when enroute to a fire),” said Cripps.

Chief Parker said the department was founded by the mayor and aldermen in 1938.

“80 years ago on February 3 the city council passed ordinance # 92 to form the Smithville Fire Department. In doing that they appointed Mr. Bethel Thomas as Chief and Freddie Tramel as Assistant Chief. Bob Herndon was the Captain. They appointed 22 businessmen to become the Smithville Fire Department. That’s what it was back then. It was made up of businessmen who wanted to do something to help their neighbors. I think we have come a long way in those 80 years,” added Chief Parker.

The names of current and past members are listed here and the year they joined the department

Kevin Adcock-1999 (current member)
Auvil D. Adcock-1953
Becky Atnip-2013 (current member)
D.J. Atnip- ?
Greg Bess-1995 (current member)
W.H. (Dub) Bing-?
Bill Bond-1938
Alton Bonham-1938
Carter Braswell-1969
Eddie Braswell
Wink Brown- 1998 (current member)
Stephanie Brown-2009
Walter Burton-1972
Wallace Caldwell-2004 (current member)
Charles Cantrell-1938
Donnie Cantrell-1980 (current member)
Gerald Cantrell-?
Harold (Soapy) Cantrell-1960
Ray Lee Cantrell-1965
Don Cantrell-1961
Van Cleveland-1938
Buba Coffee-?
Freddy Colvert-1963
Lonnie Colwell-?
Eddie Colwell-2010
A.P. Conger-?
Roy Conger-1938
Corkey Conger-?
W.O. Conger-1955
Shannon Cook-?
Billy Joe Cripps-1966
Jim John Dearman-1938
Leonard Dickens-1969
James (Bo Bo) Driver?
M.V. Driver-1938
Bill Durgham-1938
Patrick Edge-2009
Robert Eller-1946
Billy Estes-1946
Frank Evetts-1964
W.J. Evins-1938
Davey Ferrell-1999
Harry Foutch-1938
Glynn Frazier-1968
Cody Fults-2014
Glen Gill-1973
Dereck Graham-?
Lanelle Haggard-1964
Hoyte Hale-1985 (current member)
Joseph Hall- 2008
Bill E. Hendrixson-1938
Sellars Hendrixson-1941
Toby Hendrixson-?
Robert (Bob) Herndon-1938
James Herndon-?
Ryan Herron-2016 (current member)
Tim Holmes-?
Billy Hooper-1964
Kenneth Howard-1938
James R. Hunt-2005 (current member)
Bill Jacobs
Shawn Jacobs- 2013 (current member)
Bradley Johnson-2014 (current member)
Garrett Johnson-2016 (current member)
Gary Johnson- 2005 (current member)
Kim Johnson- 2016 (current member)
Dusty Johnson-2005
Jeff Keith-?
W.J. (Dub) Keith-1967
Ronnie Kemper-?
Cory Killian-2011 (current member)
John Kunstman-?
Glen Lattimore-2008 (current member)
R.E. Lawrence-1938
Odell Lewis-?
Donnie Lewis-1976
Charlie Lockhart-1944
Houston Lockhart-1938
Caleb London-2017 (current member)
Tyler Ludwick-?
Eddie Mabe-?
Melvin McCormick-1968
Jack McGuire-1952
Clyde Medley-?
W.H. (Moon) Mullinax-1973
Lynn Newby-1967
Charles Nokes
Earl Odom-1972
Wendell Owens-1970
Charles Owens-1970
David Pack-1981
Buddy Parker-1966
Charles Parker-1980 (current member)
Danny Poss-1980 (current member)
John Poss-? (current member)
David Redman-?
Dalton Roberts-2014 (current member)
Kent Robinson-1973
Erik Russell-2007
Edward Rutland-1975
Abe Silman-?
Barney Sorell-?
Robin Summers-2016 (current member)
Jimmy Taylor-?
Bethel Thomas-1938
Clarence Thweatt-?
C.J. Tramel-2014 (current member)
Freddie Tramel-1938
Mike Turner-1967
Jimmy Vickers-?
W.H. Vickers-1938
Earl Wade-1938
J.C. Webb-1941
Norvel Webb, Jr.-?
Ronald Whitaker-?
Paul Willoughby-1938
W.H. Windham-1964
Anthony Wright-?
Jeff Wright-1986 (current member)
Seth Wright-2016 (current member)
Stephanee Wright-2006 (current member)
Charles Young-?
Joe Young-1938
Jeremy Young-?

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