A BRIEF HISTORY OF
MILLER FERRY FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Miller Ferry Fire Department was founded in August of 1954 out of an idea by Burt Miller. The Charter was received on December 3, 1954. Burt Miller was elected as president and Glenn Lyerly as vice-president. Joe Gamewell was elected as secretary and Grady Walton was elected treasure. The original station was built on the Myers property on Miller Ferry Road, now known as Long Ferry Road. It housed two trucks, but later was enlarged to hold four trucks. The first fire truck of the department was purchased by Burt Miller from Franklin Fire Department. This truck was affectionately known as “Leapin Leena”. If you had ever seen her you would know why. During this time Meldeau Grant was appointed as Miller Ferry’s first fire chief. During these early years you had to be a dues paying member of the fire department. If you did not pay your dues the fire department would not respond to your house. A small 6 x 6 sign was placed in the front yard with the fire department emblem on it designating that you were a dues paying member. During these early times you called the fire department directly. There was a pay phone in the station. When the phone rang the alarm sounded. One drawback to this, you had to stay on the phone until someone answered it. It didn’t take long before the count went to UHF radio dispatch. Remember, we don’t have individual pagers yet. The department bought four stationary pagers. These pagers were place in four different homes where people usually at home most of the time. Each person had a phone call list. They would start calling the people on their list. When someone answered the would say “fire alarm” and hang up and go to the next person on the list until all of their people were called. Have we come a long way, or what?
Other chiefs which served the Miller Ferry Fire Department included, Robert Iddings, Robert Gobble, Larry Gobble, Reggie Gobble, Hal Brandon, Martin Trexler, Mike Gobble, and Greg Shue. The current Chief is Bobby Fox.
In the early years the fire department raised money to run the department by having chicken and dumpling dinners and by having a food booth at the Rowan County Fair. The department was able through these fund raisers to purchase a brand new 1956 Ford Howe Pumper. This pumper was equipped with a three stage pump. Not long after this the department bought a 1958 Ford chassis. Through the help of Buck Steam Plant and several other members who worked there, a tank and body with cabinets was built and placed on this chassis. This was about the time that Leapin Leena was retired.
Through the years the fire department has gone through many changes. A new station located at 2650 Long Ferry Road was completed in March 1992. This building has three double bays, a larger meeting room and a larger kitchen. In 1977 Miller Ferry purchased a Ford cab over pumper with what was believed to be the first to mount pump in the county. A Ford tanker was purchased later. Unfortunately the tanker was wrecked and destroyed while responding to a structure fire. Fortunately no one was hurt. To replace this chassis it was decided to go with a custom designed chassis built by Simon-Duplex. This is our current Engine 643. Other apparatus that we currently have include, a 1500 gallon tanker on a Freightliner chassis “ Engine 642”, a 3000 gallon tanker also on a freightliner chassis “Tanker 645” and a brush unit/ medical responder unit on a Dodge chassis “Brush 647”. In the late fall, early winter of 2007 Miller Ferry Fire Department purchased a 1982 Mack 100 foot Aerial with bucket to compliment our other equipment. It was believed to be the tallest aerial in the county at the time.
In July of 1990 a Medical Responder program was started by the Miller Ferry Fire Department. The fire department at the time felt that this was another way in which they could better serve the members of the community. The department is now on a tax base for this district. The current taxation is six cents on the one hundred dollar evaluation of the communities property.
Miller Ferry Fire Department currently has approximately thirty firefighters and medical responders. These members respond to over three hundred calls per year with approximately forty five percent being medical calls. Miller Ferry Fire Department also sponsors a junior firefighter program with eighteen members.
By the way, you no longer have to have the sign in your front yard for us to answer your call for HELP. We answer all calls.