Icard Township Fire / Rescue Inc. - Hildebran N.C.
Copyright © 2010 All Rights Reserved
The excerpt below is from an Open House Statement on July 24,1977
During the Winter of 1953, several Hildebran Lions Club members stood by and helplessly
watched two houses burn at the same time. The Lions Club immediately started making
plans for a Fire Department. The Fire Department began operations in October of 1954. The
department started operations with a truck that held 500 gallons of water, and had a pump
capacity of 250 gallons per minute. 25 members held positions on the roster at this time. The
first Fire Department Officers were Harold Perry
( Fire Chief ),J.D. Samples as ( Asst. Chief ) and Olen Childers as Secretary and Treasurer.
Icard Township Fire Department was the first Fire Department to be recognized by the
Insurance Rating Bureau in western N.C. The land for the first station was donated by Gladys
Stine in 1955, the building was completed in 1955 also. In 1956, the second truck was
purchased. This truck carried 1,000 gallons of water and also had a 250 gallon per minute
pump, this American La France Pumper replaced the first truck the Department bought when
The American La France Pumper carried 500 gallons of water and had a bigger 750 GPM
pump, also carried on the apparatus was 1,600' of hose. In 1964, the second truck
purchased by the Department was replaced by a truck on a Ford chassis. In 1969 the
Department bought their third truck which was a GMC Brush Truck with a 275 gallon water
tank and a 250 GPM pump. In 1974 the department purchased their fourth truck. This
modern truck had a Diesel engine, had a 1,000 GPM pump and carried 750 gallons of water,
this engine also carried a total of 2,400' of hose.
This modern and well equipped engine compared with any city or rural department's
equipment and costing in excess of $45,000. In 1976 a modern 5 bay building was
constructed at a cost of $55,000. The station, trucks and the officers had two-way radios. All
firemen had receivers and were equipped with turn-out clothing. Thirty men and officers
made up the roster at this time. An active Ladies Auxiliary and Fire Police have proved a
great asset to the department, being trained in firefighting.
In 1953, the nearby community Long View established a fire department and provided
service to the Hildebran-Icard area. But due to the travel distance, their services often
arrived too late to be of consequence on many incidents. In the fall of 1953, two homes in
the Hildebran area burned to the ground as residents stood by and watched helplessly. It
was then that the Hildebran Lion's Club stepped in and decided to organize a fire
department. The department began serving the area in October 1954 under the leadership
of Chief Harold Perry.
In the beginning, summoning the fire department was not as state of the art as it is today. In
those days, the caller would telephone the fire department directly. If the station was
unmanned at the time, the call would ring to the Chief's house and would likely be answered
by his wife. After getting the necessary information, she would begin the slow process of
telephoning the wives of the other firefighters. Eventually, the information regarding the fire
reached all of the fireman and they responded to the scene. Slowly over time, better
methods of dispatching the fire departments developed. Today, the county enjoys the luxury
of a complete 9-1-1 system and computer aided dispatching. All firefighters now carry small
radio pagers and are dispatched directly by a communications center located in the county
seat of Morganton.
Other changes would come to the department as well. From 1954 until the early 1980's the
department only provided fire suppression services. But a concept that was born in the west
was slowly making it's way across the nation. In the late 1960's, some departments in
California started experimenting
with programs which involved using specially trained firefighters to provide life saving care
and treatment in the field in the event of a medical emergency.
The concept was an instant success and was introduced to the public in the CBS television
series "Emergency" which aired for several years in the early 1970's. In 1981, Icard
Township began providing emergency medical service, initially at the "First-Responder"
level. It will never be known how many lives have been saved in our community but the
program has provided a very valuable service to the community. Today the department has
approximately 20 Emergency Medical Technicians. Our number of dispatches to emergency
medical incidents has soared in the past two years and it appears that this year will see us
break 1,300 call mark.
The department took another major step toward diversification in 1997 when it began
providing vehicle extrication services to the community. Prior to that time, services were
provided by a county rescue squad that was based some 15 minutes drive from the district.
With the fire department typically arriving on the scene in less than 5 minutes, it just made
good sense in the interest of public safety to provide those services as well.
Surely more challenges lie ahead for the men and women of Icard Township Fire / Rescue.
In an ever-changing and uncertain world, the residents of our fire protection district can rest
assured that we will meet those challenges with a continued commitment to excellence of
service and a high level of professionalism.
Fire Department History