This Web Page is provided as a service to Residents of the Union Mills Fire Protection District. The purpose for this site is to provide information as to the past, current, and future status of the fire department and its purpose within the community. Every effort is made to provide family oriented material. Please check our Educational and Home Safety Links or information provide by agencies such as U.S. Fire Administration, National Fire Protection Association, N.C. State Fire Marshall's Office, American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Free safety literature may be obtained from U.S. Fire Administration. Check these on our Links to Home Safety page.

This site is dedicated to all Men and Women who give freely of their time and effort to provide comfort and aid to others whether it is family, friend, or stranger. We give special thanks to the Family of these Men and Women as they so often take second place to the call of the fire alarm, this is a special class of people.A special thank you is also in order for the Ladies Auxiliary for the dedication to the fund raising efforts through the past years. Without those who gave so much, we would have much less.

This department serves the Union Mills and Gilkey communities including those areas known as Camp Creek, Centenial, Lake Brooks, Nanney Town, and Painter Gap.
Click for Union Mills, NC Forecast
Union Mills 
Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
6791 Hudlow Road<>Union Mills, NC 28167
Ph. (828) 287-7118
Michael Carpenter, Chief <>Dean Conner, President
Neighbor Serving Neighbor Since February, 1971
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We Need You
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Something About Us

Providing  emergency service to the Union Mills and Gilkey Communities, including those areas known as Camp Creek, Centenial,  Lake Brooks, Nanney Town and Painters Gap.
Located in Rutherford County, NC. . .
We maintain one combination firehouse/public meeting area, and a firehouse/headquarters on same site. Maintain five pieces of apparatus consisting of 2018 Pumper-Tanker, 2007 Pumper-Tanker, 1997 Pumper-Tanker, 2006 Brush -Utility Truck 1999 Brush Truck.  Currently have 19 Volunteers. Response area of six miles [driving distance from firehouse] with an Insurance Service Class 9S Rating. Use a mutual aid arrangement with adjoining districts, providing and receiving assistance. Primary function is fire protection. Secondary functions include response to motor vehicle accidents, assist search and rescue, other emergencies as needed. Funded by Rural Fire Protection District Tax Levy.

Actively support Children's Fire Safety Education through the use of the Children's Fire 
Safety House tour of local Elementary Schools. The Mobile Fire Safety House tours 
the Elementary Schools once each year to work with students in grades K thru 5.

State Statute requires each firefighter to attend 36 hours of meeting/training/drills per 
year in addition to answering alarms. Regulations also require a maintenance check 
and road test of each apparatus weekly, this check will include all equipment such as 
breathing apparatus, generators and smoke ejectors.  Volunteers have jobs and family 
life to attend to but give their nights and weekends to serve the needs of the public. In addition to the regular meetings, maintenance duties and alarms, many volunteers attend night or weekend training programs at other locations to improve their skills, and/or to meet the required 36 hours.  

All local departments work jointly with the Red Cross to provide for the immediate need of families during and following an emergency.

We are always looking for volunteers interested in serving the emergency needs of others. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter may contact any department member for details. Drop us an e mail message with name and phone number, leave a message at 287-7118 or stop by the firehouse. Meeting schedule: First and Third Monday night of each month at Seven o'clock.

Recognition For Service to the Residents of Union Mills Fire District

Click for Roster
       20 years +

Dean Conner [51]
Ken Dowdle
 Kay Deyton

10 years +
Patsy Arrowood
Gilbert Forney
Harry Deyton
Antonny Dowdle

Who We Are Today
       Michael Carpenter, Chief            
Dean Conner, Assistant Chief

Dean Conner, President      
Steven Blanton, Vice President 
Michael Carpenter, Director     Kenneth Dowdle, Director
Joshua Hendrix, Director     Joshua Hargett, Director
 Joshua Wilson, Director
Kay Deyton, Director & Secretary/Treasurer

Patsy Arrowood, Tracie Boone, Harry Deyton, Anthony Dowdle, Gilbert Forney, Joey Hinojosa, Hans Radford II, 
Trevor Rhodes, 


Our emergency response district is composed of the Union Mills Community and our neighboring Gilkey Community along our southern border. Both areas share a history of farming and sawmills, with family and church being the center of life for those who make up the past and present.

The Union Mills Community lies along U.S. Highway 221 in the Northern most part of Rutherford County, North Carolina. We compose a growing residential area with little business and industry.  We are located within fifteen minutes drive of shopping, dining, motels, and industrial plants. The Lake Lure, Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Gorge areas are half-hour drive. We are approximately one-hour drive from Asheville, the ski slopes of the Boone area, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Gorge area, and Mount Mitchell as well as Spartenburg and Greenville in South Carolina. Little more than an hour will take one to the Charlotte Area. 

For the mining and gem enthusiast, the area is home to the Thermal City Gold Mine, three other mining and camping sites are only minutes away. Located nearby is the site of the former Betchler Mint and Mining area, famous for its gold coins. Other historical points of interest located nearby are the Over Mountain Trail, Cane Creek, Gilbert Town, and our County Seat of Rutherfordton (formerly Old Tryon); less than an hour takes one to the Revolutionary War Battlegrounds at Kings Mountain and Cowpens.

The community is home to Pinnacle Elementary School, which host approximately five hundred students from the surrounding area. The Rutherfordton-Spindale Central High School is located ten minutes away from the center of the community, another five minutes takes us to the campus of Isothermal Community College. Within ten minutes drive are seventeen churches of varying denominations, and the United World Mission Training Center. The community was home to the former Alexander Schools Incorporated and Round Hill Academy, the home and education facility for thousands of children from across the U.S. as well as the local population.  The former school building is now operated by the Union Mills Progress Association , a non-profit organization. The facility, known as The Learning Center, offers opportunity for adult computer classes, exercise programs and meeting area. Plans are to expand these programs as funds are available. The Mission Training Center occupies the former dormitories and dining hall. The Gilkey Elementary students were also transferred to the new Pinnacle Elementary, with the former school building being converted for community use. 

The majority of present day residents of the community can call back more than a hundred years of family history in the area when farming and saw milling were a means of supporting the family. Close ties to family and neighbor was and is a way of life. 

Many have and will leave the area to seek advancement in life, but most will forever hold firm that deep-seated respect for family and neighbor. Those who remain will long stand proud of their heritage as well as their present. 


Is the Internet not awesome? Union Mills Volunteer Fire Department has gone worldwide. If you are outside the area and just stumbled onto the site, you are surely asking, "where on earth is Union Mills, North Carolina"? If you are a local resident, you are likely to learn some things about your fire department (and possible this area) you did not know. Visit each page and check out the links to other sites for a wealth of information regarding your health and safety.

For 50 years, it has been my pleasure to serve the needs of my neighbor through
the fire department. I am proud of the work we have done and the accomplishment we have 
made. I am proud of the dedicated men and women who serve with me, and pleased with the 
fellowship within our operation. I am thankful also for the mutual aid response from our neighbor
fire departments. Being a firefighter requires sacrifice not only from the individual, but from his 
family as well. I give thanks not only to my own family, but to all those families who take second 
place to the alarm. Many family events are canceled or interrupted by the alarm, many meals to be 
warmed over. Families watch a loved one answer the alarm, not knowing what lies ahead. For that 
dedicated family, there exist a special feeling having offered comfort to others in a time of crisis. 
Special comforts also exist knowing the fire service brothers and sisters will be there during their 
own time of need. 

There is strength in number, and our number is too small. We would be happy if you would consider becoming a part of our fire service family. Our station has no big screen TV, our equipment is neither the latest nor the greatest, but we have come a long way and we are still moving. It is our desire to provide quality service to you, provide the greatest safety to the firefighter, and do this without a financial burden on the residents.

The key element in fire protection is fire prevention. The key to traffic safety is careful driving. Because the accident or fire has happened before we get the call, it is like starting a race in last place. If we run fast, work hard and make no mistakes, we may finish the race, but seldom in first place. The best we can hope for is to provide comfort to those involved and keep the damage to a minimum. We will do our best to give you our best.

In closing, I want to thank the residents of our response district for your support throughout the years, and ask your continued support that we may continue to serve you. 

Updated 11/3,2022                                                      A History of
                                         Union Mills Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.

On February 07, 1971, a group of citizens met at the Union Mills Community Clubhouse to discuss the possibility of organizing a Volunteer Fire Department. The meeting was a result of a similar meeting in the Hudlow-Mt. Vernon area. Since a station located in that area would not help the residents of Union Mills, the plan was to organize here. After a lengthy discussion by some thirty-one local citizens, the plan was in motion. The motion to organize was made by Pete Flack, second by Leroy Young; the vote was thirty in favor, one not voting. As with any organization, a Board of Directors was chosen to seek a Charter and the necessary information needed to continue the operation. The temporary Board of Directors, [who would also serve as our incorporators] elected by majority vote were V.T. Cooper, Chairman, along with John Briscoe and Leroy Young. On February 22, 1971, the Secretary of State granted a Charter to the organization to be known as the Union Mills Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. The organization was to operate as a non-profit, tax exempt Corporation. After meeting with members from several other fire departments, a set of by-laws were composed, an eight member Board of Directors, a Fire Chief and five line officers were elected.

Under the direction of Chairman V. T. Cooper and Chief Leon StClair, a fund raising program, a search for the permanent headquarters, purchase of fire apparatus, and a training program were under way.

During the next few months, ham suppers, auction sales, hot dog sales, music shows and just plain door pounding became a regular routine. A Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary was formed to help with the planning of meals and other fund drives.

A temporary headquarters was established in the old ESSO building at the crossing of Hudlow Road and Old Highway 221 [now Coney Island Rd.] The building was equipped with running water and a kitchen, painted and equipped with a sign designating it as the Union Mills "Voluntary" Fire Department. After land was offered by Guy Thompson and by the R. C. Flack family, the present location was chosen because of its accessibility and location in general. This property would soon see a temporary structure to house the fire truck through the winter, and later the permanent Firehouse and Corporate Headquarters. Under the direction of Building Committee Chairman Arthur E. Briscoe, a yearlong building program was begun.

In May of that year the first fire truck was purchased and served for the next five years. A tanker truck was also purchased to carry the necessary water supply required by the N. C. Department of Insurance. Each of these vehicles was twenty years old when purchased. 

In the summer of 1972, with the determination of local citizens and a loan of 
$12000 dollars, A. E. Briscoe made his building project become a reality.
The moving of equipment began in September of 1972 while work continued 
on the building. The new Firehouse was a three bay garage with attached 
kitchen and meeting hall.The masonry work was done by vocational 
education students under the direction of Max  Robinson,  with  the  
balance  of  construction completed by local citizens.Hot dogs and 
hamburgers were sold on Saturdays to raise funds to support the work 
of the organization.Other fund raising efforts were poor man suppers, 
spaghetti suppers, and the annual Ladies Auxiliary bazaar and bake sale. 

December of that year brought about the election of new officers. With the new headquarters complete and the equipment in place, a new challenge lay ahead. Newly elected Chairman A. E. Briscoe and Chief Dean Conner began the process of getting Union Mills Volunteer Fire Department rated and certified by the N. C. Department of Insurance. In May of 1974, this goal was achieved and the 9/9A rating was awarded. This rating meant that the residents within a 4 mile driving range of the Firehouse would be given and average of 15% reduction on their fire and lightening insurance premium. This rating also meant that the Rating Bureau would require us to maintain serviceable fire apparatus; a 24 hour manned alarm station; and a crew of no less than nineteen firemen participating in at least 36 hours of meetings, training and drills each year. 

In the fall of 1976, a decision was made to replace the used pumper truck with a new unit in order to maintain our rating. The new truck would be a 1976 Ford chassis with an all aluminum pumper body and tank. Purchase price of the new unit was $42000, financed by a Farmers Home Administration Community Service loan. Emergency One Equipment Co. of Ocala, Florida supplied this unit, the first of its kind in western North Carolina. Two other used tanker trucks would be purchased before a new chassis was acquired in 1991. 

In 1978, a surplus Army truck was equipped with an old kerosene tank and a portable pump for use in fighting brush and grass fires. This unit served us until 1993, then replaced with another used vehicle. A used 1974 Chassis equipped with tank and pump was purchased from Valley Hills Fire Department. This vehicle was eighteen years old at the time of purchase, but was in good operating condition. In 1998, the tank and pump were replaced with a lighter, more efficient unit and 
the chassis kept in service. [still in operation 2011] 

As the firefighters and auxiliary became weary from the endless task of raising funds need to operate; a decision was made to apply for a taxing district. Signatures wire gathered to petition the Board of County Commissioners to call for a special vote of the area property holders to tax themselves to provide funds for fire protection. Two attempts were made before this vote was successful in 1989. With the tax revenue as a regular income, a Board of Directors led by President Steve Greene make  plans for future growth. The taxing rate began at eight cents per one hundred dollars of property evaluation. The current rate is set at five cents. 

A fund was started for the future purchase of a tanker truck. In 1991 
mechanical failure of the aging and ailing tanker truck forced an early 
decision about replacement. Money was available to purchase a new 
truck chassis but not a complete operating unit. A chassis was
purchased and the older tanker body mounted on it. This  remount
was done by the firefighters themselves to save labor cost. This move 
could be done without borrowed money. This truck still serves as 
a tanker 2011.

Plans began in 1996 to replace the twenty-year-old pumper truck. The 1976 truck would be used as a reserve unit that would not require all the equipment needed on a primary response pumper. During this same year, a building project began. As the meeting room of the current building was often used for community and family functions, a dedicated meeting and training area was need for the firefighters. In addition, a factor was garage space. A pumper, a tanker, a brush truck, and an equipment van were already cramped in the three bay garage. Initial plans were to add to the existing building, but space to expand and entry to the building were problems with this plan. After securing cost estimates, a new building seemed to be the answer. The former tennis court property, adjoining the fire department property was purchased from the 4-H Club and a building project began. An office area, meeting area, and three additional garage bays were erected on this property adjoining our original location. The entire interior portion of the all-steel outer structure was completed by the labor of four volunteer firefighters. Countless hours were given by Dean Conner, Eugene Conner, Gary Conner and Steve Greene in order to cut overall building cost. The assessed value of this structure at completion was one hundred twenty five thousand dollars; actual construction cost was eighty one thousand dollars, and was completed without borrowed money. 

As the building was nearing completion in 1997, a new pumper truck was purchased. 
This unit was a sales demonstrator, which allowed for cost savings of approximately 
fifteen thousand dollars. A thirty five thousand dollars down payment created a ninety
eight thousand dollars lease purchase arrangement with the dealer. At this point, the 
organizations assessed value was two hundred forty thousand dollars and our debt 
service was only ninety eight thousand dollars. The personnel of this organization feel 
a sense of pride in our accomplishments and our wise use of public funds. 

Throughout the forty plus years of operation, approximately 80 men and women have 
come and gone from the roster of volunteer firefighters, with Chief Dean Conner the 
only founding member still active in 2012.

December 2003, Steve Greene ended more than 10 years service as Chairman 
of the Board of Directors. Much has been accomplished during that service. 
Steve had a serious dedication to this position and his efforts are evidenced 
by the changes during those years. Steve remains active as a Director and Department
Officer, but chose not to accept another term as Chairman. Eugene Conner was chosen
to replace Steve as President of the Board.

January 2004 brought to close 33 years of activity by the Ladies Auxiliary. We as a community owe a great debt to the many women who have served us through the Auxiliary. During the life of the group, dedicated ladies carried out fund raising activities which included meals, craft and bake sales, raffles, making and selling quilts, raking leaves and doing house cleaning. The long line of hard working women will long be remembered. WE THANK YOU!

In 2007 two additional apparatus were added to the fleet. A 2007 Smeal Pumper-Tanker became our first out apparatus for structure fires and auto accidents. A used 1999 Dodge equipped with a skid unit was added for brush fires.
Also during this time period a move began to extend our fire protection district to six miles. This is a process which has been undertaken by all the fire departments within the county. The process will likely take a year to achieve due to action required by the county Board of Commissioners and the NC State Rating Bureau. Another time factor involves a move to map all districts by property boundary rather than the normal cross country lines used by the state rating system. Our district did this mapping change when we formed our tax supported district ten years ago, but our insurance rating district continues to use the cross country system. Converting the insurance district to use property boundaries will require state legislative change. 

Six Mile Extension and Service Districts
In April 2010 mapping of all fire districts by property boundary has been completed and approved by the state insurance rating bureau, and where possible six mile extensions have been completed. The process now is to convert the current fire taxing districts to service districts, this allows for more flexible change in the future. This conversion can be adopted by resolution by the Board of County Commissioners. This change was scheduled for approval during this year, however a problem occurred with one district which will require legislative approval. The process has been delayed until possibly fall of 2012.
Thiis project has been completed effective July 1, 2013.

NC Department of Insurance Inspection
State inspections of fire departments are conducted each five years. The purpose of this inspection is assure the department maintains the proper apparatus, equipment, records, the required number of personnel and training/meeting hours. Our department received a passing score on the inspection conducted October 14, 2010. 

December 2010 we made the final lease payment on the 2007 Pumper/Tanker, at that point we are debt free.

In mid 2012 we installed a backup generator for our newer building. We have purchased a generator for our original building, plans are to install it in December 2013. This action will allow us to operate during power outage, and to act as a relief center
when needed.
We purchased a used 2006 Ford 350 4X4 truck with service bed for conversion to a brush truck. 

We installed a back up generator for our original building in 2013, purchased with a 50/50 matching grant.

In March of 2017, Eugene Conner President of the Board of Directors and Fire Department Captain resigned after 32 years of loyal service. Michael Carpenter was elected to fill both these positions and has continued into 2022. (January 1, 2022, Michael was elected Chief as Dean Conner retired from the position he held for 50 years.) 

In 2018 we took delivery of our new Pumper-Tanker, a 4Guys built Freightliner 4X4 chassis, 1500 gpm, 1200-gallon tank, on board generator, foam system and drop tank compartment, and pullout trays for easy access to equipment. A OSFM 50/50 grant was used to purchase approximately 58,000 dollars in equipment for this apparatus. 

During the time period 2019 into 2021 we have added Large Diameter Hose (5 Inch) to allow us to flow water from hydrants to fires several thousand feet away. We have purchased upgraded Breathing Apparatus for longer working time in fire situations. We have added Portable Radios to the apparatus for better communication on scene. We have also issued new tone activated pagers to all personnel. Our entire county emergency service has switched to an 800 MHz communication system for added work channels and more clear communication. During this time, we have received grants of near $90,000 to supplement the cost of new equipment.
Also, during this time, we have completed a process of extending our protection district boundaries to 6 miles from our station.

In 2020 Michael Carpenter was elected as Assistant Chief following the resignation of Gary Conner. Joshua Hendrix was elected as President of the Board of Directors.

In 2021 we inspected by the NCDOI Rating Division and passed with no exceptions. At the end of this year Dean Conner stepped out of the Chief position which he had held for 49 years, stating he felt it was time for younger members to take the lead. Michael Carpenter was elected by the membership to fill the role. Joshua Hendrix was elected to replace Michael as Assistant Chief. Dean continues with the department to assist in the transition and to respond to alarms.

During 2022 we will add 2 additional self-contained breathing apparatus, 2 additional portable radios, additional extrication equipment, and additional large diameter hose. Cost of this equipment is supplemented by $30,0000 in grant funding. 
Also, in 2022 we received 35,000 dollars grant from the Office of State Fire Marshall to purchase new battery powered extrication equipment for vehicle accidents and forcible entry during structure fires.
In November of this year, we began the process of acquiring a lower ISO Insurance District classification. This process may take more than 6 months of preparation prior to calling for a grading inspection. If successful, this will allow for lower insurance premiums for resident of the district.

Individual Page Format
  Web Page Dedication          Something About Us      Some Financial Facts
     Home Safety TipsLinks to Home Safety InfoChildren's Fire Safety HouseTribute to Firefighters
   About Our CommunityDepartment History     Links for Firefighters     Home Page         
Local Churches & Organizations       Live Burn Photos
Member Photos
Home Safety Tips:
Check your Smoke Detector each month and change the battery when you change your clock.
Have a fire extinguisher in your home and auto. Know where it is, and how to use it.
Have a designated meeting place outside your home if you should have a fire and need to evacuate.
Teach your children how to dial 911 (or your local emergency number). Teach them their phone number, home address, and directions to your home. 
Teach your children to dial 911 when they need emergency help. Fire, EMS, and Police.
Assure that all window and doors open freely for emergency escape. Close doors as you exit a burning building, 
this slows the fire spread.
Never go back into the burning building once you have escaped. 
Have a designated meeting place away from your home in the event of a disaster in your area.
Store your important documents and items in a fire resistant container. You could also make copies of special documents and photos and leave with a relative or friend.
Dial 911 to report your fire before trying to fight it yourself. Never attempt to fight a structure fire unless
you are sure you can do so safely, and only when you have an exit nearby.  If you have time close all doors as you exit, this slows the spread of fire.
When using fuel fired portable heaters, never refill indoors and always wait for the heater to cool. Store fuel only in suitable container and properly label as to its contents. Maintain a safe distance between the heater and combustibles such as furniture and curtains.   
Clean your clothes dryer lint filter often to prevent over heating.

In the event of power failure

Have a flashlight or battery lantern available.. Check it occasionally to assure batteries are good. Know how to find it in the dark.

A small propane camping stove is a plus for something hot to eat or drink  The type with the small screw on cylinder is convenient and easy to use, takes little space.
     What is a Firefighter
He's the guy next door - a man's man with the memory of a little boy. He has never gotten over the excitement of engines and sirens and danger. He's a guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfulfilled dreams. Yet he stands taller than most of us. He's a fireman. He puts it all on the line when the bell rings. A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men. He's a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death. He's a gentle man because he has seen the awesome power of violence out of control. He's responsive to a child's laughter because his arms have held too many small bodies that will never laugh again. He's a man who appreciates the simple pleasures of life - hot coffee held in numb, unbending fingers - a warm bed for bone and muscle compelled beyond feeling - the camaraderie of brave men - the divine peace and selfless service of a job well done in the name of all men. He doesn't wear buttons or wave flags or shout obscenities. When he marches, it is to honor a fallen comrade. He doesn't preach the brotherhood of man. 
He lives it. 
Unknown Author

Just a few financial facts
Cost to equip one firefighter with coat, pants, boots, helmet,  
         gloves and pager.... $3800.00
One self-contained breathing apparatus [one firefighter] 
         for interior work: $10000.00 to $12,000.00
Annual insurance cost: $18000.00
Annual Utilities: $4000.00

A proposed yearly operating budget is presented to the County Board of Commissioners, who have final approval of the district tax rate. This proposed budget is based on the routine operating expenses, such as insurance, utilities, maintenance, loan payments, etc., along with future needs of the department. The tax rate is set based on this budget. A certified audit of all expenses are presented to the Board of Commissioners each year. The financial year runs from July 1 of the current year until June 30 of the next.

 The Corporation provides Workers Compensation Insurance and a supplemental accident and sickness policy to protect the firefighter who may be injured in the line of duty. The Corporation carries replacement value insurance for buildings, apparatus, and portable equipment used for firefighting. The Corporation provides for membership in the NC State Firemen's Association, which offers opportunity for educational scholarships for firefighters and their dependents, as well as educational assistance for dependents of firefighters killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Firefighters are eligible for State and Federal Public Safety Officers line of duty death benefit, when they have met the required hours of meeting, training and/or drills. 

Property owners within a rated fire protection district receive a reduction on their fire and lightening insurance premium. This reduction applies to those within the 6-mile drive from the firehouse. Fire protection is provided to those outside the rated fire districts within the county; funds are provided through a special taxing district and contract with the county government.

The above is only a few costs associated with operation, others include building and equipment maintenance, fuel cost, replacement of obsolete or damaged equipment, miscellaneous department supplies, and funds set aside for future truck replacement. Purchase of quality equipment provides for longer service life with less maintenance cost, thus being the better investment for the long term. Because of careful planning and wise use of funds, the new building constructed in 1997 was paid for when complete [no borrowed money]. Also, during that same year, a $35000.00 down payment made toward the purchase of the 1997 Pumper Truck left a $98,000 balance financed through a lease-purchase agreement with a 5.89 percent interest rate. 

From the 2000-2001 budget year, the department purchased six new self-contained breathing apparatus at an investment of slightly over $18,000. We were at that time using equipment more than twenty years old.

From the 2001–2002-year budget we purchased new Turn Out Gear, [the protective coat and pants used for interior structure firefighting]. Many of the crew had gear passed along from previous users, and most gear exceeded 10 years of use. The cost of the upgrade was slightly over $18,000. 
Also, during this period, we purchased each crew member a set of Wild Land Fire Protective Clothing. A matching state grant left the department paying $1100.

From the 2003–2004-year budget we purchased three additional Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for use on our reserve pumper truck. This purchase cost 9900 dollars.
We also replaced all radio communication equipment, including alert pagers. Changes in FCC regulations require us to replace all two way equipment. Pagers are being replaced due to age and condition. These changes cost slightly over 11,000 dollars. We received a grant to cover half of the radio equipment purchase.

The 2006–2007-year budget provide for the payoff of our debt service.  We secured a grant to cover cost of new Wildland Fire Gear for 9 members.
December 2006, we acquired a new Pumper-Tanker Truck. This was a sales demo for Metrolina Fire Equipment Sales, consisting of a Smeal Fire Body mounted on a 2006 International Chassis. Cost of the Truck was $178,600.00, approximately $10,000.00 of additional equipment will be added to the truck to put it in full service. $75,000.00 of this cost was done through a lease to own arrangement, the balance was taken from funds held in reserve for this purpose. The finance of the lease is 4.9 percent for a period of 4 years. This truck will serve as our first out structure pumper but is also capable of serving as a tanker for any mutual aid alarms. The current 1997 pumper-tanker will remain fully equipped for use as a structure attack unit when needed and is also capable of serving as a tanker. Plans are to remove from service and sell the 1976 Pumper and the 1985 Chevy equipment truck. The 1991 Ford Tanker will be refitted with a new tank and added equipment boxes to serve as support for structure and wildland fires as well as mutual aid. Also, this year we purchased a 1999 Dodge Ram Truck, formerly used by NC Forest Resource. The truck has been equipped with a skid unit for use as a brush truck.

During 2008-2009 we did an upgrade of our Breathing Apparatus with the purchase of four additional SCBA with voice amp and spare cylinders. This allows six units on each pumper. These SCBA were Scott AP-50 2.2. Also added this year is a combination deck gun/ground monitor for our first out pumper.

The 2009-2010 year brought no major purchase. Funds have been reserved for future use and the possible purchase of an all-wheel drive pumper-tanker. As development continues in the higher elevation areas, we need to be secure in reaching those areas. Much of the roadway throughout those areas are steep, narrow and winding. Bad weather presents a major problem in accessing these structures. This vehicle would also be an asset during winter storms. At the current time we are considering a pre-owned truck as opposed to a new unit. Many large departments upgrade their fleet thereby making available some good apparatus for smaller departments.

December 2010, we made the final lease payment on the 2007 Pumper/Tanker. This move left us debt free.

In 2011 we disposed of our 1976 Pumper Truck as we make plans to purchase a new unit. In December of 2011, we placed an order for a standby power generator for our primary building. Total cost of this project is 11,389 dollars. The generator was placed in service on February 22, 2012.

In May 2012 received approval of a grant to cover half the cost to secure a generator for our original building. This and the current gas operated cooking equipment will make it available as a relief center when needed.
Also purchased with this grant was eight SCBA cylinders to replace older ones.
Purchased in September 2012 was a used 2006 Ford 350 with service body which has been converted to a brush truck. The pump/tank skid unit will be transferred from the 1999 Dodge truck. The Dodge has refitted with the smaller skid unit off the 1974 truck; The 1974 truck has been sold.

In May of 2013 we received a grant to cover half the cost of 8 new pagers, 5 new radios, and 4 portable generator mounted flood 

In May of 2014 we received approval of a grant in the amount of 21,000.00 for half the cost of an air compressor and fill station for our self-contained breathing equipment (Air Packs). This will allow for more Air Pack training as well as filling our equipment after alarms.
In May 2015 we received approval of grant funding to purchase 20 pagers to replace older units. We purchased 3 sets of Turn Out Gear for replacement of 10-year-old gear. 

In May 2016 we received grant funding for 2 sets of Turn Out Gear, a Deck Gun and a portable Deluge Gun for our first out engine. 

In March of 2017, Eugene Conner President of the Board of Directors and Fire Department Captain resigned after 32 years of loyal service. Michael Carpenter was elected to fill both these positions and has continued into 2024 (Jan 1, 2022 Michael was elected Chief). We began the process of ordering a new pumper-tanker truck this year. This would be the first department designed truck, as all previous unit had been used or demos.

​In 2018 we took delivery of our new Pumper-Tanker, a 4Guys built Freightliner 4X4 chassis, 1500 gpm, 1200-gallon tank, on board generator, foam system and drop tank compartment, and pullout trays for easy access to equipment. 
This truck had a cost of 384,000 dollars of which we paid 264,330 from our reserve fund, the balance was financed as a lease purchase loan. An OSFM 50/50 grant was used to purchase approximately 58,000 dollars in equipment for this apparatus.  

2019, Received the OSFM Grant for $29000 to replace 4 sets of Structure Turn Out Gear, purchase 8 sets of Wildland - Extrication Turn Out Gear, purchase 500 additional feet of 5-inch LDH, and 2 new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus with Spare Cylinders.

2020, Received the OSFM Grant for $30000 to add 500 additional feet of 5-inch LDH, replaced 2 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus with Spare Cylinders with 45-minute units, and 4 Portable Radios.

2021 Received the OSFM Grant for $30000 to purchase 500 additional feet of 5-inch hose, 4 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus, 16 Structure Fire Helmets to replace non-compliant helmets, and 5 Alert Pagers.

During 2022 we are adding 2 additional 45-minute self-contained breathing apparatus, purchased 5 additional portable radios, additional extrication equipment, and additional large diameter hose. Cost of this equipment is supplemented by $30,0000 in grant funding.  
​Also, this year we received a grant from the OSFM in the amount of 35,000 dollars which was used to purchase battery operated extrication equipment. 

The 2023 year we received a 50-50 matching grant from NCOSFM to purchase 5 sets of Turn Out Gear to begin replacing older gear to comply with NFPA standards. also, this year we received a grant from FEMA to purchase an additional 7 sets of Turn Out Gear and 10 cylinders for our self-contained breathing apparatus.
Also, this year we made the move to put a paid person at the station during the day. Chief Michael Carpenter works 7 hours a day, five days a week. This allows Michael to do his administrative work and get a truck in route within a couple minutes and shortening our response time. 
       5 years +
Michael Carpenter
Josh Hendrix
Robert served with pride and dedication for 32 years. He was a founding member, had served as a Director and in all line officer positions. During several of these years Robert also served with the Rutherford County Traffic Control. He was a leader in the Mount Pleasant CME Church. The Church Membership dedicated its bell tower in memory of Robert. Robert will long be remembered by those whose life he touched.
Robert Lee Owens
April 4, 1943---July 28, 2003
Local Area Churches and Organizations

Camp Creek Baptist
Centenial United Methodist
Gilboa United Methodist Church
Gilkey Baptist Church
Gilkey Church of God
Gilkey United Methodist Church
Little White Country Church
Mt. Pleasant CME Church [celebrating 130 of worship in our community]
Mountain Creek Baptist Church
Owens Chapel Church 
Piney Knob Baptist Church
Piney Ridge CME Church
Round Hill Baptist Church
Thermal City United Methodist Church
Union Hill AME Zion Church
Union Mills Presbyterian Church
Welcome Home Baptist Church

Local Community Organizations

Gilkey Community Club
Union Mills Community Club (Union Mills Progress Association)
Union Mills 4-H Club
Union Mills Learning Center:  Computer Lab, Gym, and more.
Pinnacle Elementary School [At-Promise Learning Center, Free Tutoring and Classes]
Rutherford County Library

Tribute to the Ladies Auxiliary

From 1971 until 2004, there existed a long list of ladies committed to the fund raising that supported the fire department operation. These ladies prepared and served meals such as ham suppers, poor man suppers, bake sales and the annual Ladies Auxiliary Bazaar. Many of these women assisted with the early hotdog and hamburger sales each weekend at the firehouse. Also some of this group did house cleaning, raked leaves, and washed windows to raise funds. Others worked to make quilts for sale or raffle. In January of 2004, the few remaining ladies of the auxiliary brought this piece of history to a close. We as a community owe a great debt of thanks to these ladies. Though I am sure I will miss naming a few because no record of all the names exists, here are those I can remember. In addition to these, countless others donated baked goods and other supplies necessary for preparation of the fund drives.

Pearl Barnette      Voncil Cooper  Martha Lovelace       Peggy StClair
Rita Blankenship  Rachel Dowdle Estele Craig     Betty Flack
Alla Briscoe         Violet Dowdle   Anna Motenen  Hattie Thompson
Kay Briscoe         Betty Flack      Colleen NanneyLonnie Twitty
Elaine Conner       Mary Flack      Betty Owens    Amy Wilson
Jeannie Conner     Mattie Flack    Minnie Radford Alla Briscoe
Tinsy Conner        Violet Hodge    Bonnie Roane  Inez Morgan
Gertie Baynard     Lucille Lloyd     Freda Greene  Thalia Shook

The last official function of the auxiliary was the presentation of a new flagpole and 
flags placed in front of the new firehouse. Pearl Barnette hoist the flags into position
surrounded by Amy Wilson, Minnie Radford, Violet Dowdle, Anna Motenen, Stephany
Green, Steve Green, Gary Conner.
Click Photo for large veiw.
This page was last updated: March 22, 2024
Alvin Nanney
Alvin died September 4, 2011
December 2010 ended Alvin's service. He had served faithfully since 1977. He served as Treasurer and a Board Member. He also served the Community Watch and the Sheriff's Traffic Control. Alvin, will long be remembered. 
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CHIEF RETIRES: December 31, 2021 Dean Conner stepped down after serving 49 years of his 51 years of service in the position. Michael Carpenter was elected by the members to serve as Chief. Dean will remain with the department to assist Michael in the transition, and will continue assisting in all department activities and alarms.