City of Knoxville Fire Department

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City of Knoxville Fire Department
Knoxville fire dept patch.jpg
Operational area
Country  United States
State  Tennessee
City Knoxville
Agency overview[1][2]
Established 1854 (1854)
Annual calls 20,722 (2013)
Employees 337 (2015)
Annual budget $45,647,860 (2015)
Staffing Career
Fire chief Stan Sharp
Facilities and equipment
Battalions 4
Stations 19
Engines 15
Trucks 5
Quints 3
Squads 2
Rescues 2
Tenders 5
Wildland 1
Fireboats 1
Official website

The City of Knoxville Fire Department is an ISO Class 2 department that provides fire protection and emergency medical services for the city of Knoxville, Tennessee. The department is responsible for 104 square miles (270 km2) with over 180,000 residents.[2]


The Knoxville Fire Department can trace its beginnings all the way back to 1854 when Town Marshal J.D. Stacks saw the need for an organized volunteer fire department.[3] But it was in March 1885 when the city of Knoxville formed a full-time, paid fire department. By the turn of the century, the number of firefighters in the department had grown to 30.[3] With the increase in personnel came the need for more fire stations and better equipment. In the last 100 years, the Knoxville Fire Department has grown from the Headquarters station in an old livery stable building with two horse drawn engine companies and one aerial truck company to 19 fire stations, out of which 42 engine, ladder, rescue, and hazmat companies, as well as tankers, rescue boats and other specialty equipment operate.

Historic Station[edit]

The departments Fire Station Number 5 is the oldest active fire station in Knoxville and is on the National Register of Historic Places.[4] Opened on May 23, 1909, it has served the Mechanicsville community of Knoxville almost continuously since. The fire station was the last in Knoxville to be built specifically for horse-drawn fire apparatus. Located at 419 Arthur Street in Mechanicsville, just northwest of the downtown area the station was added on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[4]

Stations and apparatus[edit]

KFD's Engine 1 in July 2010.
Neighborhood Engine/Squad Company Truck/Quint Company Specialized Unit Battalion Chief Vehicle Battalion
1 Downtown Engine 1
Engine 2
Ladder 1 Rescue 1, Brush Truck
Tanker 1, Fire Boat 1
Battalion 81 81
3 Baxter Ave Engine 3 Ladder 3 82
4 Parkridge Quint 4 82
5 Mechanicsville Engine 5 84
6 Burlington Engine 6 82
7 Lonsdale Quint 7 84
9 Fort Sanders Engine 9 Ladder 9 81
10 Island Home Quint 10 81
11 Whittle Springs Engine 11 Battalion 82 82
12 Sequoyah Hills Engine 12 83
13 South Knoxville Engine 13 81
14 Inskip-Norwood Squad 14 Tanker 14 Battalion 84 84
15 Fountain City Engine 15 Ladder 15 84
16 Chilhowee Park Squad 16 Tanker 16 82
17 Cumberland Heights Engine 17 Tanker 17 84
18 Bearden Engine 18 Hazmat 18 Battalion 83 83
19 Colonial Village Engine 19 81
20 West Hills Engine 20 Ladder 20 83
21 Pellissippi-Turkey Creek Engine 21 Tanker 21 83

Notable Incidents[edit]

Million Dollar Fire[edit]

The aftermath of the Great Fire on Gay Street, April 1897.

Early on the morning of April 8, 1897, a fire engulfed two blocks of Gay Street from Commerce Avenue to Union Avenue in downtown Knoxville. The massive blaze required all the resources of KFD (listed at the time as two steam engines), as well as firefighters and equipment from as far away as Chattanooga to extinguish.[5]

By the end of the blaze, five people had perished and losses were estimated at more than a million dollars (approximately $29.4 adjusted for inflation).[5] The fire department resorted to using dynamite to stop the spread of the fire to other nearby buildings.

McClung Warehouse Fires[edit]

On February 7, 2007 the former McClung Warehouses in the 500 block of Jackson Avenue burned. Heavy damage was sustained to several buildings in the area. During the three alarm fire, several building collapses occurred, one of which heavily damaged Ladder 3.[6] Additionally, four firefighters were injured when they were trapped upstairs in the burning building and has to make a hasty escape through a window using a fire hose as a makeshift rope ladder. The warehouses, some of which dated back to 1893, were mostly vacant at the time of the fire.

Another portion of the McClung Warehouse building was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of February 1, 2014. This occurred less than a year after the City of Knoxville purchased the remaining warehouses with plans of encouraging developers to utilize them in urban renewal projects. Shortly after the two alarm blaze, city officials demolished another portion of the derelict structure.[7]


  1. ^ "2015 Budget" (PDF). City of Knoxville. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "About Us". Knoxville Fire Department. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "History". Knoxville Fire Department. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  5. ^ a b Larkin, Matt (23 December 2011). "Historic fire devastated Gay Street, became part of local family's lore". Knox News. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Hickman, Hayes (12 December 2010). "Knox Know-it-all: 2-alarm blaze not uncommon, KFD says". Knox News. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Firefighters battle to subdue another fire at McClung Warehouses". Knoxville News Sentinel. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.