ZFD 1HENDERSON COUNTY, Ky. (12/4/17) — Zion Volunteer Fire Department in Henderson County celebrated its 50th Anniversary Saturday night.

Past and present members of the department attended the celebration for lots of food, laughter and memories. 

The department was organized after the community had lost several homes in the area to fires in early 1967.

Some of the locals began discussing the idea mid-1967, and held a meeting at Zion Baptist Church that included Henderson City Fire Chief James Davis and Baskett’s Fire Chief Dwight Norman, who attended to help the community get started.

The department was formed in December 1967, bcoming official with the state of Kentucky in February 1968. Later that year, they built a two-bay fire station. Prior to that they housed the fire trucks in a garage. 

“When the department first started, we had a high pressure volume truck in the form of a 1951 REO Golden Comet, which cost around $3,000, and a 1949 Chevrolet pumper truck,” said 50-year veteran Zion firefighter Claude Ray Farmer. “Both trucks were capable of carrying 500 gallons of water each. Today, the department has four trucks including two pumper trucks, a tanker truck, a brush truck that is also used for medical and wreck response. Those trucks can carry between 250 and 4,000 gallons of water.”

Farmer is also a former firefighter for the city of Henderson and a former Zion Fire Chief.  

At that time, the Zion community had six “fire phones,” which were placed at firefighters’ homes. Residents would call that phone in an emergency and give the firemen their information. Firemen would respond to the station and set off a loud siren that was on top of the station. This was done to attract the attention of more firefighters to respond to the station to help. Once there were two responders on station, one would leave to go to the scene and the other would stay behind to tell the other firemen where to go. 

Although this was a day of celebration, the current Zion Fire Chief says there is still a need for dedicated volunteers.

"With the demands upon the fire service, and the duties and the responsibilities of the firefighters, we have so many come, but then leave once they realize how much volunteer firefighting involves." said Fire Chief Nick Risley. 

ZFD 3

The Zion Fire Department currently has around 15 active volunteers. Risley said regardless of address, residents should always consider volunteering to help their community and those in need. 

Kentucky requires volunteer firefighters to receive 150 hours of training in their first two years of service, and then maintain 20 hours of training each year. 

SurfKY News

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