History of Fairfield Fire Services
In 1971, a group of individuals from the Winnsboro Mills area of the County decided that fire service was needed in their area. As a result, the first active fire station in Fairfield County was born-Community Fire Department. The Mitford Station, which had been the first rural fire station, had been inactive for a brief time. As other citizens throughout the County saw what was happening in the Mill area, they too undertook to establish fire stations in their own community. Greenbrier-Bethel, Mitford (reactivated), Lebanon, Blair, Southeastern, and Jenkinsville-Horeb-Monticello followed their lead. As these departments were being organized, the County Council provided only $15,000 per department to build each fire station. After much discussion, however, the County Council approved a fire tax for all citizens living outside of the Winnsboro and Ridgeway Town Limits and then established the Rural Fire Protection Board in July 1976.
The job of coordinating the fire departments and the revenues fell to the new Fire Board. The eighth department to join the ranks of the Fire Board was the Town of Ridgeway, which contracted, with the Board in order to provide a critical link between their own active fire department and the dead area between Community and Southeastern. Dutchman Creek became the ninth and Feasterville the tenth department to join the Fire Board. Again, the time to other areas was lowered. The number was increased to eleven in 1992, when Blackstock/Woodard was accepted into the Fire Board.
The Board worked through the years to reduce the insurance premiums of homeowners and businesses in the County. It participated in the ratings assigned by the Insurance Services Office and hired a Fire Inspector as mandated by State law and attempted to upgrade its fleet and equipment each year.
In March of 2011, the Rural Fire Board requested that Fairfield County take over administrative and operational control of the Fire Service. The County passed Ordinance 587 which eliminated the Rural Fire Board and established a new department under the County Administrator to operate a special tax district. That special tax district was eliminated in 2016, and the department now operates under the general operating fund.
In 2018, a planning committee was created to help chart our path for the future. After much discussion and dialog, the group agreed we needed to restructure the eleven fire departments into one, consolidated fire department. This change took effect on November 1, 2019. The Fire Service Director became the County Fire Chief, and each of the previous eleven Fire Chiefs became District Chiefs over their respective station. One thing has not changed, and that is our desire to serve our citizens by placing “Service before self.”