History of the Department


The Fire Department was formed in 1911 as the Central Hose Company with Sulon B. Stedman as Chief, using only hand-drawn carts; due to the water system only installed in a small section of the City. The original fire station stood just a few feet north of the current City Hall.

Original Officers and Members:

  • W.J. Armfield, President
  • Sulon B. Stedman, Fire Chief
  • J.H. Kivette, WA. Coffin, C.M. Hayworth, Duke Smith, L.B. Lambert, F.F. Brittain, W.A. Hinshaw, Cary Lovett, W.H. Dickens, D.K. Lockhart, Fred McPherson, John Grey, A.J. C,raven, D.M. Sharpe, O.V. Woosley


In 1920, a Republic hose wagon was purchased, and Clarence Rush became Fire Chief.

In 1923, a 750-gallon per minute American La France pumper was purchased for $12,000. This historic pumper was restored and is maintained by the City.

Asheboro Firefighters with 1923 Pumper1923 American La France Pumper

In 1939, the current city hall was built, including space for the fire department. Chief Rush and two firefighters became the first paid personnel. In 1955, the paid force increased to a Chief and six firefighters, and in 1956 an upstairs addition was added for dormitory, living, and kitchen space.

Chief Rush Chief Clarence RushAsheboro Fire Engine

In October 1961, Chief Rush died while driving the Chief's car on Sunset Avenue, having served 41 years as Chief. Many still remember and mention his distinguished appearance, the smell of his cigar, and his white hair.

John A. McGlohon was appointed to succeed Chief Rush and served as Chief until retiring on December 31, 1985. Chief McGlohon's tenure saw much growth and improvement in stations, equipment, personnel, and the services of the department.

  • 1966 - First aerial apparatus
  • 1968 - First fire prevention code
  • 1970 - Bond election for a station and pumper
  • 1970 - Merger with North Asheboro - Central Falls Sanitary District and Fire Department
  • 1971 - Occupied two new fire stations with a force of 26 paid members, 25 volunteers and 4 dispatchers
  • 1981 - Obtained  Class 4 insurance rating for the City

On January 8, 1986, James W. (Jim) Smith became Chief.

  • 1991 - The department joined a county-wide dispatch system, which became a 9-1-1 dispatch center on March 17, 1993.
  • Chief Smith added staff to increase operations size to 42.   (14 personnel per shift)
  • Fire Inspections moved to City Hall
  • On November 1st, 2012 Chief James W. Smith Retired

On March 16th, 2013 Roy C. Wright became Fire Chief

  • Chief Wright added staff to increase operations size to 48.   (16 personnel per shift)
  • 2017 - Obtained the current Class 3 insurance rating for the City
  • April 3rd, 2018 Chief Roy C. Wright Retired

On October 4th, 2018 Willie Summers was sworn in as the new  Fire Chief.