History Of The Fire Department

The Roebuck Fire Dept. was formed by a group of men from the Roebuck Community in 1957. Roebuck was a rural farming community at that time and had no fire protection of its own. If a fire broke out, the City of Spartanburg Fire Department or one of the other volunteer departments would help out if called, but most of the time the local people would come together to handle the fire with whatever means were available to them. The men who formed the department were local businessmen and several farmers. Because of the desire to help each other, and the divine insight of these men, the S.C. General Assembly passed an Act on April 16, 1958 making the Roebuck Fire District a legal Special Purpose District.

The first station was housed in the garage of one of the buildings at the old Roebuck High School. Some of the first pieces of apparatus were a 1949 Mack Pumper, an International Tanker, and several old brush trucks that were acquired from the military. In June 1960, a new station was built in the downtown area of Roebuck. 

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In 1971, we purchased our first new pumper: a 1971 FMC on a Dodge Chassis. The department sold bonds to local businessmen to buy the new pumper and repaid the bonds over the next 10 years. This new pumper was one of the first of its kind in the state of South Carolina. It had a two-stage centrifugal pump; much like the pumps used today, but it also had a high-pressure fog system and a foam eduction system that was used to extinguish flammable liquid fires.

 

The department ran its first structure fire in January 1958. The house was located on Brown Street near the downtown airport. It was reported that all of the furnishings were saved except some bed clothing.

 

Chief M.A. Foster was the first Fire Chief of the Department. Chief W.R. Outz was the second Fire Chief and served in this capacity for over twenty-five years. Chief Outz, along with his Asst. Chief A.S. Bobo, instilled in each of the members a sense of pride, as well as strong Christian and morally upright values. Both of these men were founding members of our department.  Much of our department’s success is to be credited to the attitudes and motivation of our founding members.  The unfailing desire to learn better ways to perform a task is still present today under the leadership of Chief Brian Harvey.  Chief Harvey has been serving our department since April of 1977 and has been our Chief since Jan. 1, 1988.

 

In July of 1993, we hired our first paid firefighters.  We started off with just 2 members working daytime hours and have now grown to 13 paid firefighters, 15 Volunteers and are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  We currently operate out of 2 stations and cover approx. 29 square miles.  At Station 1 (Roebuck) we house two Engines, a Tanker, a Rescue, Brush Unit, and a Command vehicle.  Station 2 (Southport) is a joint manned station with our neighboring, and longtime automatic aid partners, Croft Fire District.  At Southport we house an Engine.  The joint venture at Southport opened up in 2011 as an existing district was consolidated into our current operation.  With this joint station, we became one of the first fire departments in Spartanburg County to cooperate with a neighboring fire district in this manner. We run approximately 950 to 1000 calls per year out of both stations. Along with our joint station partnership, we also have automatic aid agreements with several other adjacent districts including the City of Spartanburg. With the continued growth in the Roebuck Community, we expect to continue to grow as a department to provide the best possible service to our customers.

 

Our department has and will continue to have one goal, and that is to protect the lives and property of our customers through continued training and by maintaining the best possible equipment, but more than that by having compassion for our customers during their time of need. No matter how insignificant the problem may seem to us, it is real to our customers and they should be treated with care and understanding.

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