THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) - Thomasville Fire Rescue will formally recognize 150 years of service to the community on December 30 and the first line of duty death.
Fire Chief Chris Bowman said both occasions will be remembered during this year’s Firefighter Appreciation Dinner.
The death occurred Dec. 30, 1917.
“Over those years, much has changed, including equipment, technology, and the very way fires are fought," Bowman said. "One aspect that hasn’t changed, however, is the unwavering dedication our firefighters have to this community."
The planning stages and formation of a fire department in Thomasville first began in 1866 when a petition was filed by the Neptune Fire Engine and Protection Company to begin providing fire protection for Thomasville.
“During the next few years, two other fire companies were also organized,” Bowman said. "One was known as The Vigilants, which is historically significant as it was an all-black company. The other was the Rescue Hook and Ladder Company."
The first fire station was built in Thomasville 30 years later when the first paid department was organized in 1897.
Not all anniversaries the fire department celebrates in 2017 are happy ones. The department will also remember the first line of duty death in Thomasville.
"Fire Chief Rufus L. Dawkins was killed in a collision at the corner of Crawford and Monroe Streets on his way to respond to a fire call,” Bowman said. "He was driving the 1913 American LaFrance pumper to a fire and collided under the Big Oak with a Ford car driven by Mr. Frank Woodward."
As part of the commemoration, TFR will be represented during the Victorian Christmas event December 14 and 15. Three firefighters will dress in Victorian Era fire uniforms like those worn by the first Neptune Fire Company No. 1.
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