1900’s – 1940’s



Great Big Downtown Fire

The last day of April to the first day in May was the Great Big Downtown Fire. This fire destroyed 50 structures and caused 300 people to be homeless. 

August 1903

Municipal Water Supply

West Point finally started building a municipal water supply

March 1904

West Point Volunteer Fire Department gets Chartered

The charter started with 30 volunteers. 


Fire Bell is Added to the Town



Beach Park Hotel Fire

One of the biggest fires in West Point history. This was one of the two hotels on the point. They were a big attraction for West Point. 

January 1915

First Motorized Vehicle

The department got its first motorized vehicle, a White chemical truck. 


Dedicated Phone Line

A dedicated phone line for the chief was installed in his home. 



New Siren

The fire bell was replaced by a siren because people had moved out of town and the bell was hard to hear. 


First Dispatcher

A dedicated female was hired to answer all fire calls. She received an extra 50 cents per month and was the first dispatcher for the West Point VFD. 


Terminal Hotel Fire

The second of the two hotels on the point, Terminal Hotel, burned down. This was the end of an era. The hotel wasn’t as grand since the town went dry in 1914.



Seagrave Pumper Purchased

The purchase of the Seagrave Pumper wass important since the town did so during the Great Depression. 

September 1936

Beginning of the EMS Department

The fire department got to attend life saving-classes from the Red Cross which allowed them to begin an EMS department. 

The motion to pursue Red Cross training for firefighters was made in September 1936; it was not until the fall of 1940 that firefighters who had received the training were designated as “the first aid squad.” The first recorded EMS call occurred on April 17, 1941.

April 7, 1939

First Chaplin

On April 7, 1939, the Rev. Samuel Lacy of First Baptist Church of West Point was sworn in as the department’s first chaplain.


Spring 1940

Start of Fire School

Start of Fire School with board and bed, 30 residents.

April 1941

Shed Burns Down

The shed behind the town hall got flames from another fire and burned down. The shed was the current Fire House. Three pieces of apparatus burned too.

April 17, 1941

The First Aid Squad

Back in September 1936, the Red Cross came to train members in life-saving classes. The ones who took the class had their first recorded EMS call this day. 


Elected Chief Charles Carlton

Charles Carlton was elected Chief and served for 40 years. He had the most impact on the department and is the reason the department is how it is today.

Content provided by William Palmer

William A. Palmer, Jr. was the eleventh sworn chaplain of the West Point Volunteer Fire Department., having served in that role from 2012 to 2022. An ordained clergyman in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he was endorsed for chaplaincy by that denomination and is a member of the Federation of Fire Chaplains.

Source: Palmer, W. (2014). Forged in Fire.