Notable Dates in BVFD's history

  • March 6, 1894 - City Council approved a resolution to establish a fire department and appoint a fire chief.
  • October 22, 1894 - Seventeen citizens of the city gathered to organize the Bristol Virginia Fire Company.
  • November 12, 1894 - City Council gave the company $650 for a building, a team of horses, 12 coats, boots, helmets, two axes, two 16-foot ladders, and two pike poles.
  • November 12, 1895 - A team of horses were purchased. Tip and Top were named after the Tip Top Hotel and restaurant, a favorite gathering spot for firemen. Also on that date, Crum Harold was hired as a driver and was paid $20 a month.
  • March 17, 1898 - Fire company changed its name to Virginia Hose No.2
  • End of 1899 - Drivers were given a pay raise of $5.
  • 1901 - The name of the fire company changed to Eagle Volunteer Hose Company. Also in 1901, Top died.
  • 1910 - Drivers' pay was increased to $600 a year. First officer, Captain LeSueur, was hired and was paid $720 a year.
  • 1911-1912 - Drivers' pay was increased to $720 a year.
  • February 10, 1913 - City Council approved the purchase of the first motorized fire truck American LaFrance for $9000.
  • June 3, 1918 - Drivers were put on 24 hour shifts and were given a pay raise to $912 a year
  • May 4, 1926 - A second firetruck was ordered from American LaFrance at a cost of $12,825. Today, this firetruck is housed at Fire Station 2.
  • July 3, 1931 - Bristol Virginia and Bristol Tennessee sent members to become first aid certified.
  • September 12, 1936 - Two new trucks were ordered. One of these was the department's first ladder truck.
  • October 1, 1937 - O.L. Cross became the first paid fire chief in the department. 
  • September 12, 1945 - First full time fire chief was hired at $200 per month.
  • October 1, 1945 - Three full time firefighters were hired
  • 1947 - A pay scale was introduced for police and fire departments. Pay was $165 per month for police officers and firefighters, with top out being $190 a month.
  • May 20, 1962 - Fire Station 1 was dedicated to the fire department at a cost of $148,000. It was the first building in the city to be all electrically heated. Fire Station 1 is still in use today.
  • 1963 - The department became fully paid and volunteer membership ended.
  • 1974 - The city annexed several square miles of land to prepare for economic growth. This grew the city total to 11.53 square miles and led to the addition of two more fire stations. Fire Stations 2 and 3 are still in use today.
  • 1988-  The Fire Department signed a contract with the State to provide regional Haz-Mat responses.
  • 1994 - The Fire Department celebrated its 100th anniversary.
  • 2004 - The Fire Department established its first technical rescue team (HTR).
  • August 13, 2018 - Fire Department starts transporting patients with 1st ALS department ambulance.
  • 2019 - The Fire Department celebrated its 125th anniversary.

The Bristol Virginia Fire Department has a rich history of Pride and Dedication to our job. The Department today operates with a total strength of 46 personnel. All of the personnel are cross-trained as firefighters and at least the rank of EMT-B with several ALS certified. In addition, several personnel are trained in specialized rescues such as HAZ-MAT or HTR. Please enjoy the slide show below of some photos of the Fire Department's history.