History

50th Anniversary February 4th, 2017



History

Legend is that the name of the Buffalo Community dates back to the days of the Native Americans.  History tells that this area was populated with Buffalo and Deer and was a good hunting grounds. 

Our department began as a dream of many local men to provide fire protection to the rural communities of "Buffalo" and "Mt. Pisgah" areas.   Back in those days, the closest Fire Department was in the Town of Kershaw but they would not respond out to our area.  The department was formed on February 5th, 1967. The first three commissioners of the Fire District were Edward Baker, T.C. Ogburn, and Emmett Sowell. The first Chief was Charlie Wiggins. The department started with an old
fuel tanker converted to a fire truck but later purchased the Chevrolet C/50 pumper in 1969. Until the current two-bay station was built in the early 1970's, the department housed equipment and responded from Emmett Sowell's old store (located across from Mt. Pisgah Elementary, which has since been torn down.)

Later in the 1980's the fire department added an addition of a second building with four-bay's located next to our two-bay station.

The department did not have the paging and radio system of today, and relied on people phoning in fires to J.W. Sowell's Store located at present day intersection of Jones Rd and Mt. Pisgah Rd about 100 yards from the station. J.W. would respond to the station and his wife would call other members by phone. Later the department installed a siren to alert members of calls as well. In the 1970's the department used CB radios to communicate. It would not be until the 1980's until the department had VHF radios and pagers with a dedicated dispatch location. For a while the department was dispatched by Kershaw Police Department, in Lancaster County, but in the 1990's the department moved over to Kershaw County Fire channel and began receiving calls directly from Kershaw County Dispatch.

In June 2004, it was decided upon by the commissioners and members of the department that it was time for a change. We could no longer provide the services that this community needs on the limited budget of the fire district. We decided to join the county fire service to help the citizens of our community and help the department provide better services.

On March 16th 2007, Kershaw County Fire Marshal turned over the Gates Ford Fire Department to us to run as a substation.  Gates Ford was originally set to be an independent station, but due to lack of volunteers, the department needed personnel to run it.  Gates Ford Fire Station receives its name from the "Gates Ford" community named after Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates.  Maj. Gen. Gates led his men through the area and "Forded" the Little Lynches Creek in 1780 headed south to the Battle of Camden.  Hence the name Gates Ford. 

On August 8th 2008, we received a new fire engine from the County.  This would have not been possible without our department coming under the County Fire Services.  This engine is probably the first new engine the department has received since 1969 when it purchased the original Chevrolet engine.  

In October 2010, we achieved our first ISO rating reduction since the mid 1980's.  Our previous rating of 9 was replaced with a new rating effective February 1, 2011: 7.  This rating applied to any home or business within 5 miles of our two stations.  This decrease should benefit home and business owners within our district by helping to lower insurance premiums.

Beginning March 7th 2011, we begin a new service for our community the medical first responder program.  This is a first time program for our department.  From 1967 until today, the department was focused on fire suppression only.   Over the years we have began to see a need to help the community by responding to medical emergencies.  The fire department now responds to medical calls in our area to provide basic life support until Paramedics arrive to further evaluate and transport patients.

In January of 2012, our old Ambulance that we converted into a service/rescue truck lost an engine.  We were forced to sideline that vehicle and prepare to replace it with a new vehicle.  Thanks to community support we were able to purchase a new 2012 Ford F350 chassis.  Later we purchased a Knapheide custom rescue body to go on the chassis.  In July of 2012, the new service/rescue truck was officially put in service.

In May of 2014, we received a new tanker from the County, replacing an outdated 29 year old tanker.  The tanker was purchased for $189,000.00 by Kershaw County Fire Service from Spartan Fire and Emergency Apparatus, a Pierce Fire Apparatus Dealer.    

The tanker is a 2014 Freightliner Commercial Chassis with a 500 gallon per minute pump and a 2,100 gallon water tank.  The tanker is equipped with an electric dump with a swivel dump chute that allows water to be dumped from three sides.  Also, included is a 2,100 gallon portable drop tank.  

In July 2016, we achieved another ISO rating decrease.  The new ISO Rating, effective November 1st, 2016 will be a 5 for all properties located within 5 road miles of our two fire stations. This decrease should further benefit home and business owners within our district by helping to lower insurance premiums.   

Chiefs Of Department

Charlie Wiggins    February 1967- ?
Mendel Gardner     ?
Jackie Vincent     1972 - December 1977
Johnny Stein     December 1977- June 1995
Scott Dabney     1995
Jimmy Phillips     May 1996- January 1997
Mark Dunn           January 1997- May 2000
Charles Jenkins    May 2000-August 2000
Ed Schafer      August 2000- December 2001
Mark Dunn      December 2001- November 2002
Randy Bradley    November 2002- December 2003
Billy Sowell      January 2004- December 2004
Les Denkins     January 2005 - June 2009
Chris Jones     June 2009 -

Past Commissioners of Fire District

Not a complete list, if you have any info on any former commissioners contact us bmpfd@windstream.net 

Edward Baker
Randy Bradley
Butch Catoe
Claude R Griffin
Jerry Horton
Tracy King
JD Newman
TC Ogburn
Wilson Ogburn
Keith Pate
Blake Reynolds
Bobby Roberts
Minor Roberts
David Sullivan
Emmett Sowell
David Vincent
Patrick Vincent





Comments