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Carrollton Fire Rescue Celebrates 90 Years

Post Date:03/31/2017 1:06 PM
Carrollton Fire Rescue 2011 Patch  
 2017 patch design
 1927 fire patch
 1927 patch design
The City of Carrollton Fire Rescue Department celebrated 90 years of service this month. A lot has changed over the years - badges, vehicles, and equipment, but the dedication the department has shown to the community is just as strong as it was at the start.

The first recorded fire protection service in Carrollton began August 25, 1916 when a “bucket brigade,” a line of men that passed one bucket at a time from the water source to the burning building, helped save the First Baptist Church on Josey Lane and prevented a wide-spread fire. An obvious need for better fire protection led to the installation of a hand-pushed fire hose cart in the 1920s.The pump was concealed in the bottom of a bandstand that was built in the middle of the Downtown Square where the current-day gazebo stands.

In March 1927, the first Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) was formed and consisted of a 20-member roster. The VFD was renamed the Lillie-Ann Hose Company No. 1 in honor of the two women, Lillie Patterson and Ann Kennedy, who solicited enough money to buy each fireman a pair of boots, a hat, and a slicker.

The first fire engine used in Carrollton was a Model T hose truck. It was stored in a rented shed used for business meetings.

Ray Culver was the department’s first full-time, paid firefighter. He was hired in January 1959, but it wasn’t until 1967 that the first Fire Chief, F. J. Douglas, was appointed. As the department grew, it was molded into the Carrollton Fire Department and was granted Civil Service status in 1973. Within the last 10 years, under Fire Chief John Murphy’s tenure, the department was renamed Carrollton Fire Rescue (CFR).

Murphy recalls his early days in the volunteer fire service in 1966 Forest Hill that were filled with cotton gloves, plastic boots, plastic hats, and open carriage trucks that had no seatbelts or airbags.

“Nowadays, the safety of the firefighters has dramatically improved,” Murphy said. “They have impact resistant helmets made out of a fire-resistive composite material, and probably most important, they use self-contained breathing apparatuses which significantly reduce some of the long-term hazards. Back then, we just had no idea about things like carcinogens coming out of those severe environments.”

Improvements throughout the decades cover more than bunker gear and fire trucks. Luckily, the digital revolution has encompassed and benefited public safety efforts in communities like Carrollton and its surrounding areas.

“It’s amazing how much technology has changed,” said Assistant Chief Mark Haseloff. “We have the new state-of-the-art dispatch center, electronic mapping, and GPS. We do still print out hard copies of the maps though, just in case.”

 1955 fire dept
 1955 Carrollton Firefighters

Today, there are 162 firefighters employed by CFR headed by Murphy, who is retiring after 12 years of service as Carrollton’s Fire Chief. He leaves behind a legacy of hard work, professionalism, and integrity. From the launch of the regional dispatch center at NTECC to the establishment of the department’s highest safety classification with the ISO, Murphy has continued the City’s goal of improving fire protection services to its residents.

Assistant Chief of Operations Gregg Salmi will take the helm as Fire Chief beginning early April. After a nationwide search, the City of Carrollton appointed Salmi to the position recognizing his excellent customer service to the citizens of Carrollton for the past 31 years as well as his commitment to quality public safety.

“Carrollton is the only fire department I have ever worked for and it will be the only fire department I will ever work for,” Salmi said. “A major goal I have as fire chief is to ensure that CFR continues to provide exceptional service delivery that exceeds citizens’ expectations. I believe the future of the department looks very bright. The previous chiefs, including Chief Murphy, have laid a strong foundation and my goal is to build upon that.”

For more information on Carrollton Fire Rescue and its future, visit

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