The French 500 that settled on the banks of the Ohio River in 1790 were without an organized fire department until 1834. Gallipolis first organized firefighters were the Cerces Fire Company. This fire brigade was made up of businessmen, farmers, and any other person willing to help in the settlement. They would use buckets to fight the fires and protect any surrounding property from damage. The Cerces Fire Company continued until 1845, when they were disbanded. The Cerces were never revived and there followed a period of menace for the City. Without fire protection, Gallipolis suffered several disastrous fires.
During the years following the disbanding of the Cerces, the famous Gallipolis Bucket Brigade was formed in 1847, remaining the only firefighting body in the City until 1861.
In 1861, the Gallipolis Volunteer Fire Department was organized with an all-volunteer department providing fire protection. Its purpose was to provide fire protection for the city and the surrounding areas.
Today, the Gallipolis Fire Department is comprised of a part-time Fire Chief, two part-time Assistant Fire Chiefs, one full-time Station Firefighter and twenty-seven members of the Volunteer Fire Department.
The Gallipolis Fire Department provides fire protection and rescue for the City and four surrounding townships: Gallipolis Township, Green Township, Clay Township and Addison Township. All total, our “first due” area covers 93 square miles. We also have mutual-aid contracts with all Gallia County fire departments and Point Pleasant, WV Fire Department.
All EMS calls are provided by the Gallia County Emergency Medical Services, with the fire department supporting with rescue and search operations.
The fire department makes an average of 333 emergency calls a year with an average of 49% of the firefighters responding to each call. Today, with a membership of 30 men and women, we operate four pumper/tankers, a 95’ platform ladder, two wildland brush trucks, one rescue truck and one 16’ rescue boat.
We currently operate two stations, with Station 1 housing our primary apparatus and business offices. Each station is strategically placed at the north and south ends of the City.
The fire department is governed by the City Manager, which is supported by a City Commission. The departments funding is provided by the City’s general fund and a 3 mil fire levy that was passed by the citizens of Gallipolis in 1999. These funds allow the department purchase trucks and state of the art equipment to provide quality fire protection to the citizens of Gallipolis and the townships that we serve.