LCFD hires first full-time firefighters

Published 2:08 pm Friday, October 29, 2021

Lafayette County Fire Department is ushering in the first ever cohort of full-time, paid firefighters since the department was founded in 1977.

On Oct. 18, the Board of Supervisors approved employment of two captains, promotion of one part-time firefighter to captain, promotion of three part-time firefighters to lieutenant, promotion of three part-time firefighters to full-time firefighters and employment of three part-time firefighters in the LCFD. Before this decision, the county only had the services of volunteers and part-timers.

According to county Fire Chief Wes Anderson, these new additions and promotions have been in the works for years and will bring some much needed relief to the citizens of Lafayette County.

The department, which provides fire and medical response and technical rescues to all areas outside Oxford city limits, ran 1,156 calls in 2020 and is projected to run 1,464 in 2021.

“At times, especially during those nighttime hours, we have a hard time getting people to respond so it will dramatically increase our responses there,” said LCFD Chief Wes Anderson. “Also, [the firefighters] are here to support the volunteers in any way they can.”

The county fire department has dealt with an influx of calls in the past year causing the LCFD to request additional help from the county.

Captains Casey Henderson, Jamie Phillips and Mark Story; Lieutenants Howard Mitchell, Jamie Roy and Ethan Pettigrew; and Firefighters John Michael Hill, Carter Hillmer and Tyler Hill are eager to relieve the needs of the county and serve the citizens they love and care for.

Hill was a volunteer firefighter for the county before he was promoted to full-time this year. His uncle and grandfather served as firefighters and he wanted to serve the community by following in their footsteps.

“I lived in Lafayette County my entire life and I would like to help serve the county as much as possible,” said Hill. “I feel like I’m constantly trying to do the best I possibly can at all times to represent a very good department and I want to keep that standard high.”

Phillips served as Training Officer for the Oxford Fire Department before transitioning to work at the LCFD as captain. The choice to transfer was made because of LCFD’s service and his personal connection to the community.

“I applied to help grow a department that I see is on the right track,” said Phillips. “I’m a county guy. I grew up in the county and it’s just like me coming back home.”

The full-time firefighters will be stationed at Station 10 (Central) on County Road 1032 and work three 24-hour shifts with three firefighters stationed during each shift. Along with the hired firefighters, a new pumper truck was purchased for the fire department.

Part-time staff will be relocated from Station 10 and Station (9) to other stations in the county to provide better coverage.

Anderson said the fire department will continue to evaluate and improve and the department is always looking for more volunteers who would be willing to serve their community.

For more information on the Lafayette County Fire Department or on how to join, visit fire.lafayettems.com.