History of New Market Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
The first vision for a fire department for New Market was formed in early 1957 by a group of citizens in the community. After much effort on the part of the seventeen original members, a surplus Army truck was acquired from Mobile, Alabama. Two members drove to Mobile and returned with this vehicle, which was converted into our first fire truck by county employees of District 1. After several years of service to the community, the original equipment became unserviceable, and the department could no longer provide fire suppression for the community.
By 1973, the need to re-establish a fire department was recognized, and an organizational meeting was held at the New Market Restaurant on September 23, 1973. On September 30th, a second meeting was held to fully organize and elect officers. In October 1974, incorporation papers were filed with the Judge of Probate of Madison County, and our present department was officially organized.
The first truck was obtained early in 1974 from the Alabama State Forestry Commission. Considerable time and money was required to make this an operational unit by June 10, 1974. During this time, efforts had been made to obtain land on which to build a fire station. A family in the community offered to donate a lot on Church Street, however, the property at the site of Mountain Fork School became available. The school property had an existing building that had been used as a lunchroom, and it was suitable to convert into a fire station. It took until March of 1976 for the Board of Education to convey this property to the Madison County Commission for use as a fire station. During April and May, work on the old lunchroom building went forward, and on May 18, 1976, the first meeting was held in our new fire station.
Following the fire at New Market School in January, 1978, the department realized the need for additional firefighting equipment. Two months later, four fire department members went to Wilmington, Delaware to purchase a 1951 Ford fire truck, which they drove back to New Market. Once again with some hard work and community support, mechanical expertise, and many hours of time, New Market had its first fire pumper.
In May, 1982, an additional fire station was opened in the Plevna Community. New Market Station #2 was built by the people of that community on land donated to the fire department. One of the early trucks used at that station was donated by the Huntsville Fire Department. Today this station houses the equipment necessary for the reduction of insurance rates in the northern area of our fire district.
In 1984, a new E-One mini-pumper was purchased. In June, 1985, our first new truck was purchased. It was an attack truck/mini pumper made by E-One of Ocala, FL. In June, 1995, our first certified pumper was acquired from Quality Manufacturing of Talladega, AL. This unit is still in service as Pumper 215 for Station #2.
A new station #1 was built on Jacks Road in 1992. This station has a four-bay truck area, office, and meeting room, which is also used for community events. This facility has enabled the fire department to better serve the community in both fire protection and other emergency needs.
In 1993, New Market was the first volunteer fire department in the county to receive a rating with the Insurance Standards Organization (ISO). Following many long hours of work and research, the department received a rating of 5/9, which the department continues to maintain today.
By 2003, the department had two stations in operation and eight fire apparatus and EMT vehicles in front line service. That year, we added two additional trucks to our department. A 1998 E-One fire truck was purchased from Klein Fire Department in Texas. New Market was given one of the fifteen new engines purchased by the Madison County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments. That gave the department four front line pumpers to serve New Market and the surrounding communities.
In 2006, Station #3 on Hurricane Road was constructed on land donated to the department. This three-bay station continues to serve the Hurricane Valley area today. During 2008, we added a rescue unit from Myrtle Beach, SC, and between 2011 and 2014, we purchased two new EMT vehicles and two attack/rescue units.
The department appreciates and thanks the citizens of the New Market Community, who have given generously to help support our financial needs. The members of the department have given sacrificially of their time and talent to make this an outstanding fire department. The Madison County Commission has also been very supportive of our volunteer service to the community. Training and proper equipment have always been of prime importance to the department. Our members provide the community with both fire protection and emergency response 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service is provided for nothing more than just a thank you.
We hope that you enjoyed reading a brief history of our department. The department looks forward to continuing to serve the New Market Community in the coming years.