The History

According to Clarene Russell's book Collierville,Tennessee Her People and Neighbors, the 1893 Sanborn-Perrin map lists Collierville as having an Independent Hose Cart, which meant there was a volunteer fire department.

  • The 1902 Sanborn's map indicated Collierville had fifteen (15) volunteer firemen and a fire cart with two hundred feet of two-inch hose, and a fire alarm system by bell and by telephone.

  • The Collierville volunteer firefighters organized in 1930.

  • By 1931 the pumper and necessary loose equipment to give Collierville the proper protection needed was said to have cost $30,000. This necessitated the town fathers to issue long-term bonds toward the purchase. At that time, the pumper was kept in a building that later became the John W. Stamps' garage on Main Street. There were eighteen (18) volunteer firefighters and six (6) substitutes: H.L. Sigrest, J.E. Stamps, Bill Freeman, Lin Kelsey, Douglas Hill, D.G. DeLaunay, E.W Martin, H.W. Cox, Sr., James Mann, Morris McGinnis, Raymond Crawford, Stuart Dean, O.C. Dean, Taylor D. Jones, M.K. Mann, R.A. Hall, Edgar 'Sorghum' Morton, Howard Carrington, Britt Baldwin and Curtis Cox. Two of these volunteer firefighters later became Fire Chiefs: Edgar J. Morton and Lin Kelsey.

  • With the purchase of a new pumper in 1938, the insurance rates for property owners were reduced fifty percent (50%). That year $166.50 was distributed among the volunteer firefighters and T.L. Treadwell received $5 for perfect attendance. The first fire station was built in that year on land purchased in 1892 for $200 from J.F. Frank. The Town's fire protection rating was listed at eight on a one to ten scale with one being the best.

  • From about 1934 to 1941, volunteer firemen received a stipend of $0.50 for each meeting they attended and $1.00 for every fire call.

  • In 1943, the stipend for volunteer firemen received was raised to $1.00 for each meeting and for each fire call made of a minimum of two hours or less they received $1.00. If the fire call lasted two hours or longer, the payment doubled to $2.00

  • In 1944 Collierville started construction on a new fire station and the cornerstone was laid in 1946. To this day, it remains Fire House #1 at 128 Main Street and was renovated in 2005. The Collierville Fire Department operated as a volunteer until 1967 when the first full-time men (Ben Wilson and Mike McVay) were employed changing the department to a Combination Department (both full-time and volunteer).

  • Santa came early to the Collierville Fire Department on December 23, 1971 when a big red fire truck was left standing in front of the Day and Night-Payne Company, now Carrier Corporation. This was one of the largest gifts the town had ever received.

  • By 1974, three additional full-time firefighters were employed: Dennis Rutledge, Joe Hewlett and Danny McPeake.

  • In 1983, more good things happened to the fire department when the 100 Club of Memphis provided a $10,000 grant to purchase the departments first set of hydraulic rescue tools, commonly referred to as the "Jaws of Life" used extricate people trapped in motor vehicle accidents.

  • November 22, 1984  Collierville's Fire Department Grew with City. The Collierville Herald

  • Due to public outcry for better Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in 1986, the Town mandated the fire department to initiate an Advanced Life Support (Paramedic) Program to better serve the community. The fire department purchased a mini-rescue/pumper designated as "Med-Squad 2". The medical squad was said to have the most advanced life support (paramedic) supplies and equipment available at the time. The squad also carried a wide array of technical rescue equipment to extricate victims trapped from mainly automobile accidents. 

  • As of Ms. Russell's writing in 1994, the fire protection rating was a four (4) on a one to ten scale with one being the best and the organization had grown from a totally volunteer department to a combination department with twenty-eight (28) full time career firefighters supplemented by twenty (20) volunteer firefighters.


Collierville Fire Department:
 1251 Peterson Lake Road, Collierville, TN 38017 | (901) 457-2400 | Emergency: 9-1-1

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