By Kelly Hargett
2023 will be a big year for the Kernersville Fire Department. In the late fall of 2023 the Fire Department will celebrate 100 years of service to the Town of Kernersville. Plans are already underway for an event filled weekend for the community to come out and participate in this anniversary event.
It was late 1923 when Ned Stuart, under the direction of the Kernersville Board of Alderman, organized the Kernersville Fire Department. Earlier in the year the town had purchased its first fire truck, a 1923 LeFrance, for $6,500. At that time, the population of Kernersville was around 1,201 people. Ned Stuart was named as the first Fire Chief and was tasked with organizing volunteer firemen. At that time, the town had nowhere to keep its new fire truck, so it was housed at Stuart’s garage, Stuart Motor Company, until the first fire station was built in 1928. The town still owns its original 1923 LeFrance Fire Truck. Typically, the truck is housed in the lobby of Fire Station 42 on Highway 66, however, currently it is being restored to working condition for the Fire Department’s 100 Year Anniversary event.
A look back at the Kernersville Fire Department’s history will show you how the fire department changed and adapted to our quickly growing town. By 1940, the population of the town had almost doubled from the 1920’s, with more than 2,103 people living in Kernersville. The Fire Department purchased its second truck this year, this time a used truck. By the 1960’s the town had begun to hire full time firemen and not rely solely on the Fire Chief and a group of volunteers. As of 2020, the population of the Town of Kernersville was 26,481 citizens. The Kernersville Fire Department now has 4 stations to service the entire town. In addition to those 3 stations, the Kernersville Fire Department has 6 pumper trucks among those 4 stations, and 1 ladder truck housed at Station 42. In addition to this, Station 42 houses a Fire Safety Training Facility that is used by other fire departments throughout the state.
According to the Fire Department, at this time the Town of Kernersville is divided into 5 response districts. Fire stations are located strategically throughout the city in order to help them meet their goal of responding to emergencies within 4 minutes of the receipt of the alarm. In 2021, the Fire Department responded to 662 service calls and more than 1,400 medical/rescue calls. 83% of those calls were attended to in 320 seconds.
Celebrating the Kernersville Fire Department’s rich history of service promises to be a weekend of fun and education. Specific dates and times of events will be updated on the Kernersville Fire Department’s social media pages and website www.toknc.gov/fire-rescue.