The History of Pine Ridge Fire Rescue

Pine Ridge Fire Rescue was organized in the summer of 1967 as Pine Ridge Fire Department with the purchase of a 1939 LaFrance pumper from Cooawatchie Fire Department. Mr. Chalmus Smith was appointed Chief, and in 1968 Pine Ridge would establish a business charter in 1968. The Fire department was dispatched off a 24-hour system by the owners of the L&M Grocery (Loraine&Tommy Thompson).

In the summer of 1969, Chief Smith would resign and Mr. Al Bailey would be appointed the new chief. Under Chief Bailey’s leadership, the fire department replaced the 1939 LaFrance Pumper with a 1940 LaFrance Pumper from Goose Creek City. In addition, he would also add and old 1953 chevy fuel truck from Jenkins Oil company as a tanker truck. In 1970, a 50′ X 150′ plot of land off of highway 17A was donated for the use of the fire department by Mr. Gay. With this land, a 30′ X 50′, 2 bay station was erected and the fire department soon moved into their first fire station. Growth would continue under Chief Bailey’s leadership and in 1971, a “new” reconditioned 1963 American LaFrance 500 GPM Pumper was acquired. In 1975 Chief bailey would Resign from Pine Ridge, Chief Bailey served with Pine Ridge from 1969-1975

In 1975 Mr. Thomas Atwell was appointed Chief. The year 1976 brought the addition of a 1954 Dodge (military vehicle) which was equipped with a slide-in unit, employed as a brush truck. Also, a 1953 GMC (military “deuce and a half”) which was modified to hold 2000 gallons of water and be used as a tanker truck was added. In 1977, Chief Atwell would resign from Pine Ridge, Chief Atwell served with Pine Ridge from 1975-1977.

In 1977 Mr. Jim Mixson was appointed Chief. Under Chief Mixson’s leadership, Pine Ridge Would experience major growth. 1979 saw the addition of a 2000 gallon military refueler be transformed into a tanker and a 1968 Kaiser jeep fitted as a brush truck. In 1980, Pine Ridge made its first major equipment purchase with the addition of a 1980 FMC 750 GPM Pumper as well as much needed firefighting equipment. During this time Pine Ridge received an insurance rating upgrade from a class 9AA to a class 7. An Addition on the rear of the fire station was started in 1982. The two story 44’x44′ was dedicated to Loraine and Tommy Thompson as well as Mr. Al Bailey for their services to and dedication to the growth of Pine Ridge. Pine Ridge, we outfitted with a kitchen, 3-bunk-rooms, 3 restrooms/with 2 showers, a day room with a TV and pool table, a training room, and the chief finally got his own office.

 In 1983, an era came to the end as the dispatch center was moved out of L&M Grocery and into a central dispatch center for lower Berkeley County. This dispatch center would include Caromi VFD, Goose Creek Rural VFD, and South Berkeley EMS.  The dispatch center is now known as the Emergency Operations Center. In 1984, we purchased the original plot of land plus an additional 29’X150′. In 1985, the original building, which housed 6 trucks was taken down to make room for our new additions. In the Fall of 1985 our apparatuses were back into the new building. The Equipment added was Rescue 28