Kannapolis Fire Department celebrates 100th birthday - | WBTV Charlotte

Kannapolis Fire Department celebrates 100th birthday

Historic Fire Reel from 1930s. (Source: City of Kannapolis) Historic Fire Reel from 1930s. (Source: City of Kannapolis)
Phil Fisher with his grandfather Chief Taylor’s helmet and one of the fire trucks his grandfather drove. (City of Kannapolis) Phil Fisher with his grandfather Chief Taylor’s helmet and one of the fire trucks his grandfather drove. (City of Kannapolis)
(Source: City of Kannapolis) (Source: City of Kannapolis)
KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) -

The Kannapolis Fire Department celebrated its 100th Birthday with a fire truck parade, bagpipes, drums, birthday cake and other festivities Saturday. Dozens of fire trucks, vintage and new, from departments around the state participated in the parade.

After the parade a ceremony honoring former and current fire chiefs and firefighters (both volunteer and paid) was held.

The community of Kannapolis was first provided with fire protection services by volunteers who were typically employees of Cannon Mills beginning in 1916. Sam Nash was the first fire chief for the City. He served as an unpaid volunteer.

On Saturday, the family of Fire Chief J.C. Taylor, presented the City with Chief Taylor’s helmet. Taylor served as the second fire chief for Kannapolis from 1928 to 1962 which was an unpaid volunteer position. Motorized fire apparatus was still not readily available when Taylor became chief. Instead the department was equipped with two large hose reels. Five men used the tow bar to pull the reel to the scene of a fire.

The City had four fire hydrants, which were pressurized in the event of a fire and powered by Cannon Mill’s waterworks. After arriving at the fire, Kannapolis firefighters would quickly unroll the hose from the reel, connect to one of the hydrants, and begin fighting the fire.  If a hydrant was not available, bucket brigades and hand pumps were used. Because there were so many hose reel teams across the state, reel team competitions became a popular event at the annual North Carolina Firemen’s Convention.

In 1933 the department set a world record for hose reel competition that still stands today.

Another special moment during the ceremony was the dedication of a new fire safety house. The new fire safety house was dedicated to Christopher Kerly. Christopher died in a fire in 1994. Since then his family has been dedicated to helping provide fire education equipment to the department and community.

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