Gaffney Fire Department History 1926-1950
Information on our History comes from old newspaper clippings, Fire Insurance Maps from the early 1900's and City Records
1928-1937 CA Whitesides
1938-1941 JR Robinson
1942-1950 Jack Cook
Gaffney Ledger April 5, 1928
Gaffney Ledger April 7, 1928
Purchase of an additional motor unit for the Gaffney Fire Department was considered by the city council at its regular monthly meeting last night. The departments equipment at present consists principally of one American LaFrance truck with pumper, with a capacity of 750 gallons per minute, and the necessary hose and other accessories for this unit.
Mayor V. H. Lipscomb yesterday said city authorities had in mind buying an auxiliary truck of a less expensive type but one that will be capable of rendering satisfactory service in emergencies. Another truck would be needed in case of two fires breaking out at the same time at different points, or in the event that the main truck became disabled for any reason, he pointed out. Dr. Lipscomb, speaking for himself, said he believes the city is in a position to handle a deal requiring an investment of no more than $4000 to $5000, and he thought a machine to meet the requirement can be secured at a price in that neighborhood.
Representatives of several fire truck manufactures were expected to meet with the council last night to discuss the proposition. The fire department has become one of considerable importance to Gaffney and the territory immediately adjacent, since the city authorities have placed a ban on the department fighting blazes outside of the incorporate limits. The authorities said this position was considered necessary in affording the city proper protection for which is pays. It was pointed out that with only one truck here, if the machines should be outside of the incorporation at any time when a fire develops inside, the city property owner might have a good suit against the town for recovery of any losses sustained under the circumstances. The authorities made it plain that there is no other objection to combating fires near, but outside city limits.
In the event a second truck is purchased, it is considered probable that some arrangements will likely be made for protecting certain thickly settled areas adjacent to the city with provision being made for payment by the property owners for this service. This is a matter that has been given serious thought for some time past, but as yet no satisfactory methods of handling the situation has been advanced.
Realizing that trained firemen are needed in fighting large fires, the city probably will send two members of the department to a firemen's school in Columbia this summer conducted by the Columbia Fire Department. There will be no cost for the training, other than the actual expenses of the firemen while at school and the cost of hiring two men to work here during the absence of the regulars.
Gaffney Ledger May 3, 1928
C. A. Whitesides, Chief of the Gaffney Fire Department, has called attention to a change noted in the local telephone directory issued last week by the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company is the manner of calling the fire department to turn in alarms. Formerly the practice was to merely call "Fire Department" at which the central operator would plug in the alarm phone at headquarters. Now, however, the number "251" should be called, as stated on the cover of the directory. Of course, if "Fire Department" is called, the operator will turn in the alarm, but time can be saved if the regular number is called.
Gaffney Ledger May 12, 1928
The Gaffney City Council Thursday night placed an order for a 500 gallons per minute capacity fire truck and pumper, made by the Maxim Motor Company of Middleboro, Mass. For $7000. The machine is to be delivered in 90 days, and will provide the local fire department with two motorized units.
The order for the new truck was given to D.R. Hunter, of Charlotte, representative of the Maxim Company in competition with three other makes that were given consideration by the council.
The machine selected by the company is a type B-50 fully equipped exactly like the one that has been here for department demonstration purposes for the last several days.
The additional equipment for the fire department is expected to reduce the fire hazard here considerably , especially in the event that two fires break out in different sections of the city at the same time. This is a possibility that has been causing city authorities more or less worry for some time past. Members of the council realized that Gaffney has grown beyond "on truck size". The aldermen said increased equipment for protection from fires here seemed to be not only advisable but imperative.
The fire department now has one 750 gallons per minute American LaFrance fire engine, which was purchased a few years ago.
Gaffney Ledger May 13, 1928
Mr. Whitesides, who has served the department for several years, was made Chief at an increase in pay of $5 per month. Formerly, the position of Chief has been held by a member of the police force.
Gaffney Ledger September 27, 1928
Performing in the presence of C. W. Maxim, president of the company that manufactured it, and under the direction of M. A. Shaw, the company's chief engineer. Gaffney's new Maxim fire truck, tested here Tuesday morning, more than "delivered the goods" according to local officials.
Running continuously for three hours with two hose lines attached and dropped into the lake in Irene Park, the machine, which was guaranteed to deliver 500 gallons of water per minute produced a volume of 600 gallons every 60 seconds, it was stated. If the water had not been turned back into the lake, the pond soon would have been pumped dry.
City council will hold a special meeting Friday night to formally accept the truck, it was stated yesterday by Mayor V. H. Lipscomb. Mayor Lipscomb and several members of the council were among the number witnessing the tests made Tuesday. G.Y.C. Buice, representative of the Southeastern Underwriters Bureau, of Atlanta, was one of the officials present.
The new machine gives the fire department two pumpers with a combined capacity of more than 1200 gallons per minute. A considerable amount of extra equipment was received with the Maxim, including clothing for the firemen, a safety net, two long ladders, and other articles.
Mr. Maxim and Mr. Shaw, who came to Gaffney from Middleboro, Mass., to witness the testing of their machine had never visited the south before. Both declared themselves greatly impressed and pleased by Gaffney's attractive appearance and the unusually delightful weather encountered here.