Milton VFD celebrates 70 years of service to area
MILTON — The Milton Volunteer Fire Department celebrated 70 years of service to the community Saturday with a parade of fire trucks through town, an open house at the fire station to show off its recent facelift and an evening of fireworks to end the day.
At the open house, the public was entertained with free hot dogs and refreshments, and when the kids weren’t getting excited looking at all the fire engines and posing with Sparky, the department mascot, there were inflatables for them to play on. A free child safety seat check was also offered.
Fire Chief Timmy Chastain said part of the reason for the open house was to show the public the recent renovations the station has undergone, including a museum room that houses the department’s first two vehicles and commemorates the department’s history.
A mural with a timeline of photographs from 1949 to 2019 decorates the wall of the museum room.
Memorabilia from throughout the years is on display, like old firefighter equipment and the uniform of the department’s only on-duty death. Steve Chapman was killed in 1986 in a motor vehicle crash while responding to a fire.
According to Chastain, Milton’s first VFD was officially in operation on May 16, 1949, with Fire Chief Dick Bias and about 10 firefighters.
The very first fire truck, a 1931 model Ford, was purchased with $1,500 raised by the community directly from the Henry Ford plantation. The truck was driven through the parade by Deputy Chief and City Council member Bob Legg, and is on display at the department, along with the original fire chief vehicle, a red (of course) 1929 Ford Model A.
The first fire department was a single-bay garage on Main Street that housed the fire truck. Bias purchased property from
his father where the second department was built. In 1983, the current department was built on Main Street.
The fire department has expanded drastically from its days with one fire engine — the station now has four fire engines, two utility vehicles and a brush truck.
“They went from starting out with eight to 10 guys to now we have 62 men and women at the department,” Chastain said.
On Sunday morning, members of the department will visit past members’ graves and decorate them with a fire department marker. The fire station chaplain will read off the names of previous members who have passed away at a roll call at 2 p.m. at the station.
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For more photos from this event, go to www.heralddispatch.com.