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Huntington Fire Department

The Huntington Fire Department works safely and diligently to protect the lives and property of the people of Huntington from fire and other hazards. It utilizes available resources to deliver the highest possible quality of service through fire suppression, fire prevention, public education, rescue services and mitigation of the effects of natural and manmade disasters.

Message from Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader

On behalf of the Huntington Fire Department, thank you for expressing a desire to learn more about our operations.

We are an essential part of our city and honor the important mission of the Huntington Fire Department, which is to limit the loss of life and property resulting from fire, manmade/environmental disasters and other hazards. 

The Huntington Fire Department also responds to calls that are considered non-emergency calls – customer assistance, interdepartmental assistance, water line breaks, among others, to assist in life safety and/or property loss. 

We strive to effectively and efficiently utilize all of the resources at our disposal to provide an excellent service to our citizens, businesses and visitors. Our members believe in conducting ourselves in a disciplined manner with sincerity, honesty, dedication and pride.

The pursuit of excellence and commitment to public service is of paramount importance, as the lives and property of the people of our City are dependent upon our performance.

From horse-drawn carriages to state-of-the-art emergency response

The City of Huntington’s first fire company was birthed in 1874 when A.C. Young and a group of associates, concerned about the lack of protection against fire, organized a hook and ladder company. City Council authorized spending $450 for a hand-drawn hook and ladder truck that was built locally.

A year later, the city purchased a hand-operated engine and hand-drawn hose reel for its volunteer personnel. Large, 500-gallon cisterns were also placed throughout the city to provide water.

By 1883, the Fire Department was reorganized on a part-paid basis, but continued to be largely volunteer until 1897 when it was again reorganized with a paid chief, four paid drivers and a force of firefighters who were paid by each alarm they answered. Each firefighter held down regular jobs the rest of the time. This was the beginning of Huntington's full-time paid Fire Department.

The department began to move away from horse-drawn equipment between the years 1913-1915 when five pieces of motorized equipment were purchased, including a pumping engine and 85-foot ladder truck. The old St. Cloud Fire Station on 14th Street West is a reminder of the horse-drawn era. The horse-bitten window sills still remain today.

In 1929, Huntington's firefighters were issued a charter establishing a local union. Under the International Association of Firefighters, Huntington's firefighters were given the 289th local in the U.S. and Canada.

The Fire Prevention Bureau was established in the early 1950s, because of the increasing number of fires in homes and businesses. The Bureau started Fire Prevention Week, which included the Fire Prevention Parade and a contest to select Miss Flame, a beauty queen to reign over the week’s activities.

All contestants in the competition were required to have red hair in the earlier years. The Fire Prevention Parade was held the first Monday in October, and a tradition that continues today. Fire departments from West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky participate annually in the parade.

Other events in the 1950s included the establishment of the Tri-State Fire School. Located on W.Va. 2, the school has evolved into a regional training hub for firefighter and emergency response training.

Today, the Huntington Fire Department has a staff of 88 firefighters at six stations. The stations include six engine companies, two ladder trucks, a rescue truck, rescue boat, reserve engines, reserve utility trucks and staff vehicles.