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The Salisbury Fire Department, led by Fire Chief Robert Parnell, strives to provide the citizens of Salisbury with the highest level of emergency services. We are committed to the preservation of life, property, and the environment by effectively meeting the public safety and welfare needs of our diverse community.

Our Department is a "Service Organization." As such, we will always strive to improve our level of service and commitment to one another and to the citizens we protect. Our members mitigate every challenge they face through constant training and development, increasing professional knowledge, and using the best possible protective equipment and proven methods. The leadership and administration of this department acknowledges that the management of such a system must be modern, resourceful, and firmly committed to the safety and well-being of each member of the department and of our community.

This firm commitment is further demonstrated by the Department's motto: "Value Life, Prevent Harm, Respond Quickly and Respect All."

The Salisbury Fire Department responds to over 4,000 incidents a year. The Department employs over 100 highly trained men and women. During an average year the department responds to a variety of calls for assistance, including medical emergencies. Besides fire engine and fire truck units the department has specialized teams for haz-mat, water rescue, high angle, trench, confined space and collapse. We serve the community in many other ways than just traditional fire fighting based on the talents and interests of our team members.


Mission Statement

To protect the quality of life for present and future generations through interaction with our community, compassionate service and an atmosphere that encourages innovation, professionalism, and diversity.


Our Core Value

To maintain high customer satisfaction with superior customer service.


Our Goals

  • Mitigate hazards and emergencies by quickly responding to all requests with professional members
  • Provide public safety education and hazard prevention services to our community
  • Strengthen management and leadership services
  • To provide an excellent work environment, ever mindful of our fiscal responsibility and our commitment to serve
  • Embrace Diversity

Our Services

  • Protect human life from fire and other life safety hazards
  • Provide inspection and code enforcement activites
  • Handle hazardous material and rescue emergencies
  • Provide emergency medical care for sick and injured

200 Years of History

The Beginning

1770 – General Assembly of the Province of North Carolina “an Act Regulating the Town of Salisbury”. Among the provisions of this act was the protection against fire. Every householder was required to keep upon his premises a ladder and a leather bucket of not less than two gallons capacity.

The Salisbury Fire Department has a long history that is marked by faithfulness to duty and outstanding progress. Salisbury's first fire company was formed December 8, 1817 as the townspeople expressed their desire to form a fire department, the Town officially organized a firefighting company.

The Citizens of the Town of Salisbury donate funds amounting to $415. “We whose names are hereunto subscribed, do promise to pay to the Commissioners of the Town of Salisbury the sum opposite to each of our names on demand for the purpose of enabling them to procure an engine and other fire apparatus as they may think necessary for the safety of the town. Witness our hands at Salisbury, N.C. This 8th Decem. 1817”. An official copy of our originating document was presented to the fire department by William D. Kizziah, Rowan County Register of Deeds, on July 30, 1948.

1818 – Laws of North Carolina. Chapter CVI. An Act concerning the Town of Salisbury. Be it enacted by the general assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of same, That the commissioners of the of the town of Salisbury, be, and they are hereby authorized to form and organize one or more fire companies in said town, and to make such rules and regulations for the government and operation thereof, as to them may seem necessary, and to compel the inhabitants of said town to procure fire buckets, and said commissioners shall provide a convenient and fit place for keeping in safety the fire engine of said town.

1866 – A new fire engine was purchased replacing the fire engine destroyed during the occupation of Salisbury by Gen. Stoneman during his raid. The new engine, a hose carriage, and 300 feet of leather fire hose purchase totaled $1150. The new fire engine was purchased from Rumsey & Company of Seneca Falls New York for $500. The new apparatus was a Piano Style No. 1 Fire Engine. The hose carriage cost $200. The hose cost $1.50 per foot. A Negro Fire Company was organized in Salisbury. This company consisted of about 30 members whom were exempt from paying poll taxes in return for their services.

The formal organization of the Salisbury Hook and Ladder Company No 1 took place 22 years later in 1877.

1887 – First municipal water works established. A standpipe was erected on 100 block of West Fisher St. containing 250,000 gallons of water. They installed 5 miles of water mains and 52 fire hydrants. The water was pumped from Crane Creek (current Corbin Hills golf club area) along Stokes Ferry Rd directly into the standpipe. The North Carolina Firemen’s Association was formed this year as a statewide association of firemen. The NCSFA held its annual convention in Salisbury in 1896, 1904, 1933 and 1940. Alexander Parker, former Salisbury Fire Department Chief, was delegate to organize the NCSFA; Chief Parker remarked, “One of the greatest organizations of the State to protect life and property. We can’t honor a better class of men, than the firemen, who risk their lives to save our lives and our property.”

1896 - A new Central Fire Station was constructed at 117 S. Lee St. The building was occupied around 1900. This station also served as the Town Hall and Calaboose. As a fire station, it remained in service for 65 years. The building would go on to become a restaurant and later a flower shop.

Early 1900s

The first steam pumper was purchased for $5,500.00 in 1906. It was an American LaFrance Metropolitan Steam Pumper, second-size (#3216), 600 GPM. This pumper is credited for saving Salisbury from a conflagration in the Empire Block of S. Main in Dec. 1909. The steamer was supplemented with a motorized hose wagon four years later. Motor-drawn by 1922, it was a reserve unit by 1931. The steamer was scrapped in 1942 during the metal drives of World War II.

In 1912, Salisbury fire department purchased its first motorized fire truck. An American LaFrance Type 10 Hose and Chemical. The Registry number was #212. A public fire alarm box system was installed with 20 fire alarm boxes installed on street corners.

The first motorized pumper truck was purchased by the fire department in 1920. It was an American LaFrance Type 75, triple combination pumper, Reg. #3087. This truck retired the last 4 horses. Paul Brown, descendant of Fire Chief WA Brown, owns this truck toady.

Engine 3, a Series 500 American LaFrance type 575 CO pumper, Reg. #L-1168 was received by the department in late 1939. The pumper cost $9,000. It will pump 750 gallons per minute and carries 100 gallons of on board water.

The first aerial ladder truck was purchased in 1941. This was an American LaFrance open cab type M-190 65' aerial ladder truck Reg. #L-1627. This truck was replaced with another American LaFrance 85' ladder in 1965. Aerial Co No 1 was lovingly restored and currently resides at station 5.

That same year, a new headquarters fire station was built to accommodate the bigger pieces of equipment. The old quarters were so tight, one truck couldn't turn left out of the station. They would have to turn right and go around the block..

Late 1900s

In 1973, staffing levels were increased to allow a third shift to be added and personnel worked 4 days, 4 nights, and had 4 days off. Firefighters handled dispatching duties up until 1977 when dispatchers were hired to dispatch the city and county fire departments.

On 1978, the Salisbury Fire Department entered into the first responder program by converting a step van into an ambulance. Transport was still handled by a county agency, but the unit was transport certified if needed. It was indeed needed many times.

Station 2 was closed and rebuilt 10 blocks south of the original station 2. This move provided better protection of a growing city. The original substation was closed on February 22, 1980 at 1800 hours. The day shift was the last shift to occupy the old substation. The night shift came on duty to the new Station 2.

A new 110' Pirsch ladder truck was bought in 1986 and a major purchase of apparatus was made from E-One in 1988. Three custom pumpers with enclosed cabs were bought to replace an aging pumper fleet. Also purchased that year was a 3,000 gallon tanker from Grumman to respond to non-hydrant areas of the City. 1987 saw a change in the way that fires and other emergencies were reported. The county put in service the 911 system and moved the dispatchers to a new communications center. The last of the fire alarm boxes were removed from service.

Turn of the Century

The 90's saw more technology changes take place. The department changed over to the 800 MHz trunked radio system and computers were installed in the fire stations. In 1993, a Hazardous Materials Team was developed in partnering with the county's emergency management division to respond to hazardous materials incidents within the City of Salisbury and Rowan County.

After many years in the planning, the department was evaluated by ISO in 1995 and received a Class 3 rating. As the 90's come to a close, we received a squad truck as a generous donation from a local industry. This addition became part of the ladder company and carries additional equipment. Another generous donation came in the form of a defibrillator unit. Personnel were certified in EMT-D with additional units budgeted to place one on each front line engine.

The long awaited fourth station opened its doors on January 1, 2007. A 2000 E-One 95' Platform is housed at station 4, along with a reserve ladder, foam trailer, reserve engine, and a Hazardous Materials Team. A time capsule was placed in the station inside of a fire hydrant to be opened in 20 years. This station protects a residential and retail district around them.

March 7, 2008 was a sad day for Salisbury Fire Department and all of Salisbury. A massive fire at the Salisbury Millworks Company claimed the lives of 2 firefighters and seriously injured another. Firefighter Justin Monroe and Firefighter Victor Isler, LODD. Captain Rick Barkley was very seriously injured, but eventually returned to the job as an inspector until his retirement in 2018.

Utilizing the Quint concept, Salisbury Fire Department was rated an ISO Class 2, the first North Carolina fire department to be rated as such!

2017 was Salisbury Fire Department 200th anniversary year. The actual date was December 8th, 2017. A historical marker commemorating the original fire station location on East Innes Street was dedicated. To further celebrate, a large fire truck parade traversed Main St and ended at Station 5 for a public celebration of 200 years of service to our citizens. This parade was held in the cold weather while a light snow, sleet and some rain fell making a beautiful background for a night time parade! As an interesting side note, during preparations for the historical marker dedication, a structure fire alarm was received for 310 S Main Street. Ironically, Aerial Co No 1 was traveling S Main at the time and was in the right place at the right time. Exactly 200 years to the day since Salisbury Fire Department was formed, and 76 years after the purchase of Aerial Co No 1, and, 10 years after the restoration began, Aerial Co No 1 was first on the scene for this call.

200 Years of Fire Chiefs

Salisbury Fire Department was founded in 1817 - The first Fire Chief was Alex Parker.

Portrait of Fire Chief G.G. Seaford

G.G. Seaford

Unknown - Unknown
Portrait of Fire Chief P.H. Merony

P.H. Merony

Unknown-1898
Portrait of Fire Chief M.V.P. Capps

M.V.P. Capps

1898-1904
Portrait of Fire Chief J.V.Wallace

J.V. Wallace

1904-1906
Portrait of Fire Chief G.L. Sides

G.L. Sides

1906-1908
Portrait of Fire Chief W.A. Brown

W.A. Brown

1908-1937
Portrait of Fire Chief C.L. Burkett

C.L. Burkett

1938-1961
Portrait of Fire Chief A.F. Shipton

A.F. Shipton

1962-1984
Portrait of Fire Chief T.E. Melvin

T.E. Melvin

1984-1985
Portrait of Fire Chief S.I. Brad

S.I. Brady

1985-2004
photo of Fire Chief Bob Parnell

SALISBURY FIRE CHIEF

Bob Parnell

(704) 638-4464 | bparn@salisburync.gov

Robert A. Parnell, a third generation firefighter, brings more than 27 years of operational and tactical firefighting experience to public safety. Born and raised in New Jersey, he began his career with the Salisbury Fire Department in November 1984.

Parnell has held the position of Firefighter, Engineer, Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, and Chief of Fire Department Training prior to assuming the roles as Chief of the Department in April 2004. In addition to his responsibilities as Fire Chief, Parnell also serves as the City's Emergency Management Coordinator.

Chief Parnell received his bachelor's degree in occupational safety and health from North Carolina A&T State University, and associate's degrees in Fire Protection Engineering and Fire Science Technology. Additionally, Chief Parnell is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's "Executive Fire Officer" program, and Municipal Administration Certification through the University of North Carolina.

Fire Stations

Station 1

Dedicated in 1965, protects the heavily-populated downtown district and the eastern section of the city. The station is also home to Fire Administration and Training Division.

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Station 2

Constructed in 1980 and serves the vastly-growing southwest section of the city. The station protects a mixture of residential property, numerous industries and businesses and newly annexed areas.

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Station 3

The oldest of the stations, was constructed in 1956 and protects the northwest section of the city. This area is primarily residential; however there are several public facilities with high concentrations of commercial and educational facilities.

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Station 4

The newest of the stations, was constructed in 2005. The station protects a mixture of residential and commercial businesses. Several target areas include Salisbury Mall, Salisbury Gardens Retirement Home, and Food-Lion Headquarters.

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Station 5

Fire Station 5 was originally erected as Fire Station 2 on April 6, 1942 under the direction of Fire Chief Charles L. Burkett. After serving for 38 years, the station was closed. A new Station 2 was rebuilt 1.4 miles south.​

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Loss Prevention and Investigations

outside photo of the Loss Prevention and investigations building

Location: 634 Park Ave. Salisbury, NC 28144
Contact Us: (704) 638-4467

The Loss Prevention and Investigations Division includes the department Fire Marshal, Fire Inspectors and Fire & Life Safety Education Specialist.

Fire Prevention Division

The Fire Prevention Division is charged with improving the lives of its residents by preventing fires and reducing the impact of fires that occur. To accomplish its mission, the division performs inspections of businesses and occupancies as mandated by the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshall, the State of North Carolina Building Codes, and local ordinances. In addition, the division investigates all major fires occurring within the Fire Department's jurisdiction. The division is divided into five major units, each of which is responsible for a distinct focus on prevention.

Inspections

The Fire Prevention Division performs inspections of businesses within the City of Salisbury to assist business owners in eliminating hazards and maintaining a safe workplace. These Inspectors are responsible for enforcing city council adopted codes and ordinances, issuing various permits, follow-up on citizen complaints in regards to possible hazards, and maintaining records for businesses in the city.

The focus of an inspection is to identify and correct problems that may lead to a fire, delay notification of a fire, and to remove any obstacles that may impede or block egress from a building. Examples of these may include combustibles stored near the furnace or water heater, an alarm system or sprinkler system that has not been maintained or storage in an exit way.

To request a Fire Inspection, fill out the Fire Department's common request form:

Common Request Form

Investigations

The Fire Investigation Unit is responsible for determining the cause of fires and assists in the investigation of other related incidents. Strong, aggressive investigations will decrease the number of incendiary fires as well as accidental fires. The identification of the cause and circumstances of how a fire occurred will often prevent a similar incident from happening again. The information that is discovered may be used for a new fire prevention and/or public education program to prevent an incident. The fire investigation unit does prosecute individuals responsible for incendiary fires and threats to burn property.

Ordinances

The Fire Prevention Division enforces all ordinances mandated by the City of Salisbury. For a complete list of fire related ordinances, please visit the Municipal Codes.

Plan Reviews

A review of all commercial building plans (new construction and remodeling) is performed by the Fire Prevention Division prior to the issuance of a building permit. Automatic fire sprinkler, automatic fire suppression, fire alarm, and commercial kitchen hood systems are reviewed also.

The plans are reviewed for compliance with all of the related fire codes as adopted by the City of Salisbury. The plans are checked for compliance with items such as:

  • Maximum occupant load determination for the building and occupancy
  • Location and type of the required fire rated assemblies
  • Fire extinguisher size and number
  • Determine if a fire alarm system is required
  • Determine if an automatic fire sprinkler system is required
  • Other fire or life safety deficiencies
  • Proper number, size and location of exits and doors

 

Public Education

The Salisbury Fire Department is committed to providing the community with life safety education. We believe in the power of prevention and education and offer a wide range of services. Our aim is to reduce life and property loss in our community. By educating those who live and work in Salisbury, we can safe lives.

The Public Education section of the Fire Prevention Division is responsible for educating the public concerning the dangers presented by fires. The majority of the Public Education effort is in area schools, where the Fire Prevention staff provides age-specific training to children each year. The Public Education section also provides training for employees and residents of nursing homes, as well as any commercial business that requests fire safety training for its employees.

To request Fire Prevention training for kids, fill out the Fire Department's common request form:

Common Request Form


Our Insurance Rating (ISO)

The Insurance Services Office (ISO) surveys communities on a regular basis to determine the Public Protection Classification for the fire protection services protecting the community. The Public Protection Classification is used to gauge the ability of a local fire department to respond to fires. A Community's fire protection information is collected and analyzed by ISO using its Fire Suppression Rating Schedule. A classification of 1 to 10 is then assigned based upon the results of the survey. Class 1 is the best rating, and Class 10 is basically an indication of no fire protection. The ISO Public Protection Classification is used by the Insurance industry in determining insurance premiums for many properties within the community.

A variety of areas are examined when ISO conducts their survey. They look at the community's water supply, dispatch (communications) center, and fire department. Each entity receives a rating, and in the end those ratings are considered together to determine the final Public Protection Classification. As a result of the ISO Survey conducted in October, 2007, the City of Salisbury has been awarded a Class 2 rating.

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