The first engine in Greenville, called the Neptune Fire Company, circa 1900
The Buncombe Street Team Reel, around 1895
Firefighters showing of their Webb Combination hose-and-chemical car, circa 1910.
Early records show that the Greenville City Fire Department began somewhere around the year 1840 with an all-volunteer roster. These volunteer firefighters operated with one hand pumps commonly referred to as fire engines, and each engine was given a name. When the department's first engine was named “Neptune,” the Neptune Fire Company was born.
The first paid fire department was established on January 1, 1902, and consisted of a fire chief and 11 men. At that time, all of the paid firefighters were assigned to a fire station located on West McBee Avenue, next to City Hall. The paid fire department continued to be supported by two volunteer fire companies.
Today, the Greenville City Fire Department is no longer supported by volunteer firefighters. It is staffed by 132 professional firefighters assigned to seven different fire stations strategically located throughout the city.
While the Greenville City Fire Department has experienced many changes through the years, its core values remain the same and are stated in its mission statement: “To protect and serve the City of Greenville and reduce risk through courage, commitment, compassion, and education.”
Historical information provided by “Firefighting in Greenville 1840-1990” William D. Browning Jr. 1990