Bell Buckle Volunteer Fire Department History
1950 Chevrolet delivered by Central of St. Louis. People were waiting in the cafÈ run by Frank Hill for the truck to arrive. When it arrived, it was not to specifications so had to return it to St. Louis for modifications. The last of February it was delivered with the correct specs. Put in service the next day by doing pump test at creek off Liberty Pike. Had to pump 400 gallons a minute for 4 hours. Passed the test.
Captain Doc Rogers out of Nashville came to advise on equipment needed and also what needed to be done to put into service. Had to have 15 firefighters and a chief to become a department. In two weeks, everything was ready. Doc returned and approved truck and department. Information was sent to ISO & rating of 5 was obtained.
James Elkins was named Chief by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen with two of the aldermen-Jack Hinkle and Burt Norris-also joining the department.
One or two years later the rating went back to 9 when ISO required 2 firefighters to stay at the hall 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The town was unable to pay for that and it stayed an all volunteer department.
The truck was originally stationed at Elkins Garage for 3 years. The Fire Hall was built on Webb Road East in 1953. In 1986, the Fire Department was moved to what was the old Carnation Milk Plant on Main Street. The building had been renovated by members of the Fire Department. At present, we are in the process of building an addition to connect with the old Fire Hall. The new building will be able to house six trucks.
In 1982, James Elkins retired as Chief and William Samuel Bingham replaced him. In 1998, Mary Lokey became Chief of the department. The Fire Department continues to be all volunteer with mutual aid outside of the city limits with VFSI. We continue with our commitment to serve the community to protect and save lives.