The Deerfield Volunteer Fire Department
One of the few truly volunteer departments left in the state, the Deerfield Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1932. There are actually two separate, though overlapping, organizations: The Deerfield Firemen's Association and the Deerfield Volunteer Fire Department. The Association handles the business, and the department provides fire protection to the community. Leon Harvey was the first fire chief. They started with a roster of 35 firemen and divided the town into 11 districts, each with a lieutenant and one or two firemen.
Leon Harvey and his wife, Gertrude, lived in the house across from the station, where Gertrude ran the telephone office 24-hours a day. She knew where every firemen's line was on her switch-board. When a fire was reported, she would plug into everyone's line and start ringing a bell. Then she would repeat over and over where the fire was.
Harvey was killed by a falling chimney on December 10, 1947, Willis Rollins, Senior became the second chief. He remained until 1959. During that time, the firehouse was enlarged to its present size in 1954. George Clark, who became chief in 1960, recalls that the new station was built around the old one, and the old one was then dismantled. During his 37 years, several new trucks were purchased. The fire station was enlarged and a new sub-station was built on Birch Road in 1981.
By the time Mark Tibbetts became chief in January of 1997, the roster had grown to 48 firemen, many state certified. The town continues to grow, and the demands made on this dedicated team of public servants continues to grow as well. The present equipment facility is a tight fit, but budget constraints have forced them to make do. And when there is an emergency, Deerfield’s Volunteer Fire Department is ready.