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-?
Wink Brown- 1998 (current member)
Wallace Caldwell-2004 (current member)
Donnie Cantrell-1980 (current member)
Harold (Soapy) Cantrell-1960
Ray Lee Cantrell-1965
Billy Joe Cripps-1966
Jim John Dearman-1938
James (Bo Bo) Driver?
Hoyte Hale-1985 (current member)
Joseph Hall- 2008
Bill E. Hendrixson-1938
Robert (Bob) Herndon-1938
Ryan Herron-2016 (current member)
James R. Hunt-2005 (current member)
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)
W.J. (Dub) Keith-1967
Cory Killian-2011 (current member)
Glen Lattimore-2008 (current member)
Caleb London-2017 (current member)
W.H. (Moon) Mullinax-1973
Charles Parker-1980 (current member)
Danny Poss-1980 (current member)
John Poss-? (current member)
Dalton Roberts-2014 (current member)
Robin Summers-2016 (current member)
C.J. Tramel-2014 (current member)
Norvel Webb, Jr.-?
Jeff Wright-1986 (current member)
Seth Wright-2016 (current member)
Stephanee Wright-2006 (current member)