Fulton Fire and Rescue
Fire Chief: Shane Smith
Assistant Chief: Jason Laney
EMA Director: Patrick Homan
Fulton Volunteer Fire Department History
Written by Virgil "Doodle" Pate, Jr.
June 23, 1976
In the early 1930's the town of Fulton had two hose reels that were used to extinguish fires. These were made up of a set of wheels with a spool between them, the hoses were rolled onto these reels, a tongue could be pulled out for the people to pull the reels by; and the hoses were stored on this apparatus.
Some time in the late 1930's, the city purchased a "B Model Ford" car which was cut down and made into a pickup truck. The town officials had a small metal building constructed next door to what was then the Staub-Stewart Hardware (now Ollie's Pool Hall). The truck and hose were kept in this building.
In early 1945, some time after World War II started, the Board of Aldermen serving under the late Mayor A. J. Mattox secured the first real fire truck (one with a pump) that the Town had ever owned. After the truck was purchased, the Board appointed Virgil H. Pate, Sr., as fire chief. This truck was kept at his home in his garage. He was responsible for getting the truck to fires and for securing any volunteer help to put out the fires.
After the War was over and some of the local men came home, a meeting was held in the Fulton Courthouse to try and organize a volunteer fire department. Bylaws from the Booneville and the Cleveland Fire Departments were studied and used as guidelines to write bylaws for the Fulton Volunteer Fire Department.
The first members of the department were: Virgil H. Pate, Sr., Wayne Senter, Hillman Senter, Harvey Gray, Oscar Wiygul, Malcolm Stubblefield, Allie Scott, Charles Pate, James Pate, O.R. Cooper, Virgil H. Pate, Jr., and the late Billy White and the late Casper Summerford. Meetings and drills were held monthly. Some of the members were trained in fire fighting techniques at the State Fire School which was held each year at Mississippi State College in Starkville.
The late Whit Whitaker, who at that time worked with the State Department of Education, came to Fulton each year to conduct a fire school. In 1963, when the Town was trying to change from Class 9 to Class 8 insurance rating, the Board of Aldermen under Mayor L. C. Prestage purchased a new Howe Fire Apparatus, made other improvements, and were able to secure a Class 8 rating. This gave each insurance policy holder a cheaper rate of insurance.
This truck was kept at the Town Hall. Some time later, a tank truck was made out of a truck given to the Town by the Itawamba Junior College. This truck was used until 1970 when the tank was removed and installed on a truck that was originally purchased and used for a garbage truck. It war equipped with a 500-gallon-per-minute front mount pump and a 1500 gallon storage tank. Because of the many grass fires and house fires that could not be reached from a fire hydrant, it became apparent that this type truck was necessary.
In 1966 Mr. Pate retired, and the Fire Department was without a Fire Chief until Virgil H. Pate, Jr. was appointed by the Board of Aldermen in 1970. Fulton held its first fire school that year. The firefighters reorganized and began plans to build a fire department so that all of the fire equipment could be housed in one building.
Alderman James Chatham, who was serving as Fire Commissioner for the Board, helped secure the land on which the Fulton Fire Department now stands. The second fire school was held in the newly completed building in March of 1971; and on Sunday, April 18, the Fulton Civic Club hosted an "open house" for the Department which was very successful and well attended.
After his appointment, Chief Pate, Jr., began attending the State
Firefighters and Fire Chiefs Conferences held in different cities over the State each year, was elected vice president of the Chiefs Association for two years, is now serving his third year as President of the Mississippi State Fire Chiefs Association; and his wife, Ann, is serving her fourth year as Northeast Vice President and First Vice President of the Mississippi State Firefighters Auxiliary.
Numerous schools and drills have been held in the past several
years with more being planned for the future so that the Department may continuously grow in knowledge and for service to the people of this area.
The City was notified in May of 1976 that the Fire Department
had complied with the necessary requirements to be placed in Class 7 for insurance rating purposes.