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Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department

P. O. Box 602

Cleveland, MS  38732

(662) 843-3159

Our History

Cleveland, Mississippi fire protection unofficially began in 1917 as a bucket brigade.  The population of Cleveland at that time was approximately 1700 people and the only equipment used at that time was two carts that carried 250 feet of hose each.  The carts were either pushed by hand or pulled by wagon to a fire.  Mr. J. D. McCaleb furnished the wagon usually used for pulling the carts.  There are no other known names associated with this group on record.  






























In August of 1920, the present fire department was formed under the leadership of Fire Chief C. C. Thweatt.  The department was officially named the Cleveland Volunteer Fire Company with the following other members:






































Shortly after its inception, plans to add better equipment began to be realized.  The department purchased their first truck, a 1921 Model-T Ford with stem winder starter.  Due to the difficulty in starting the truck, it was housed in a station with a slanted floor for much easier push starting capabilities.  This first truck was equipped with a chemical tank and would also carry a small amount of water, but was not equipped with a pump.





























In the early days, firemen were alerted to a call by means of a "Wildcat Steam Whistle" located at the old ice house on North Sharpe Avenue.  Different blasts of the whistle indicated which section of town the fire was in.  After hearing the whistle, it was up to the firefighters to spot smoke or fire to pinpoint the location.  Later, the fire department got a siren to alert them.  After hearing the siren they would go by the Police Station where policemen would tell them the location of the fire.  As an improvement on this, different colored lights were added to the wall of the Police Station signifying the different sections of town.  As time progressed, radios were added with a full-time dispatcher located at the Police Station.  The firemen were given radio receivers that they kept at home for night fires and weekends.  During the day they still had to go by the Police Station for directions.  Today all of the firefighters carry pagers connected to the enhanced 911 emergency system that is controlled from the main dispatch at the Police Department.





























In February of 1967, the department attained a Class 6 fire rating with the State Rating Bureau, making the department the first volunteer unit in the State of Mississippi to hold such rating.  The company again stepped ahead of the pack when it obtained a Class 5 fire rating in 2006. In 2016, the department again made history by becoming the only all volunteer department in the state to hold a Class 4 rating. In 2020, the department continued to raise its own bar when it achieved a Class 3 rating. This makes Cleveland the first ever all-volunteer department to achieve a Class 3 rating in the State of Mississippi. The department is currently rated Class 3 and has 3 paid employees and the remaining as volunteers.  


The paid employees include a Fire Inspector, Maintenance Engineer, and Maintenance Assistant.  The department operates from 3 fully-equipped fire stations.  The department also operates a training facility that is home to a rope rescue tower, smoke house, ventilation simulator, drafting pit, confined space prop, search building, and a Class "A" burn facility.

August 2020 marked the department's 100 year anniversary. While the planned celebration was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department continued to provide superior fire service for the City of Cleveland. As part of the department's 100 year celebration, they opened a new Fire Station #1 located on the corner of South Street and Commerce Avenue. This new station will house the first due engine and rescue trucks as well as the department's tower ladder. "It's a privilege to be selected as Chief of this department, and an even bigger honor to be Chief during our 100 year anniversary. These guys are the best in the state at what they do. They take the bar that was set high from each group before them dating back to 1920, and push it even higher every day. We can't thank the City of Cleveland Mayor, Board of Aldermen, and the citizens enough for their overwhelming support to this department" - Bobby Foster, Fire Chief.  





























The fire department is, and always have been very supportive of community projects.  The first little league baseball was started by the department.  This league has grown into what is now the City of Cleveland Park Commission.  The department bought property and filled in the area with many loads of dirt to form the city park know known as Fireman's Park.  During the war years, the firemen collected money for the British Firefighters Relief Fund that went toward the firefighters and their families that had been killed or injured in firefighting operations caused by emergency action.  The CVFD also was the initial sponsor for Boy Scout Troop 23 and furnished a Scoutmaster from its membership.  Each year, the department helps serve the food for the annual Delta Council meeting on the campus of Delta State University. Each year the department raises thousands of dollars to support various charitable organizations, including Burn Foundation of America, Breast Cancer Research, St. Jude's Childrens Hospital, National Fallen Firefighters' Foundation, Mississippi Shop-With-a-Doc, and more! 



























E. W. Watson

Ben M. Pearman

Johnnie Davis

A. H. Doyle

Lauch Magruder

Tommie Stallings

Charles Barber

Dr. E. R. McLean

Joe Graham

R. B. Middleton

C. K. Glassco, Sr.

W. H. Bobb

Bill Smith

H. R. Bates

P. A. Howell

William Berger

John C. Merrill

A. L. Jones

J. P. Minyard

J. L. Jones

Leo Shoenholz

Lawrence Feduccia

A. W. Shands

C. S. Cayton

C. A. Feduccia

L. Q. Lee

George Doughty

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