Fire Department


The primary mission of the Valdese Fire Department is to protect the citizens of and visitors to the Town of Valdese from the adverse effects of natural and man-made emergencies. Through fire protection, emergency medical care, fire prevention, and public education, we are committed to serving the public with respect, dedication, and compassion.


  • The first organized firefighting unit in Valdese was formed in 1932 and was totally volunteer. The membership was twenty-strong, with Town Manager Lee Ribet serving as Fire Chief. The first fire truck was a 1917 Model T. Edward Pascal, former town councilman, recalls the fire truck being housed in a one-car garage at the present site of the First United Methodist Church. Shortly after, the department received a brand-new 1932 Mack Pumper. This truck is still used today by the department for parades.
  • In 1947 an American LaFrance Quad was purchased. The Quad functioned as both a pumper and a ladder truck due to having a pump and a large selection of ladders, including a 50’ ground ladder with tormentor poles.
  • In 1949, A.O. Anderson became the first full-time member of the Valdese Fire Department. He served as Assistant Fire Chief under Chief Lee Ribet.
  • In 1962, A.O. Anderson became the first paid fire chief. Shortly after, the department took delivery of a 1963 Ford/American LaFrance pumper. Chief Anderson was instrumental in helping establish the first countywide fire radio system.
  • Upon Chief Anderson’s retirement in 1973, Sherrill Brittain moved from Assistant Fire Chief to become Fire Chief. Chief Brittain oversaw the move into the department’s present-day facility.
  • In 1975, a Mack pumper was purchased; however, it is not in service today. 
  • In 1985, the department established its medical response unit and purchased a Pierce Arrow Quint.
  • 1987 - Sherrill Brittain retired as Fire Chief.
  • 1988 - Ernest Bertalot became Fire Chief after serving as Assistant Fire Chief since 1973.
  • A 1995 Pierce Dash was purchased to take the place of the aging 1963 Ford.
  • On October 1st of 1996, the department initiated the Emergency Medical Technician - Defibrillation Program within its medical response unit.
  • Chief Bertalot retired at the end of 1998.
  • Charles Watts was named Fire Chief on January 1st of 1999.
  • 2001- The department joined Safe Kids Burke County and became a Permanent Checking Station through the NC Office of State Fire Marshal
  • A 2004 Pierce Quantum engine was purchased to replace the 1975 Mack.
  • 2015- Due to the nationwide shortage of volunteer firefighters, the Valdese Fire Department hired five part-time firefighters. One part-time firefighter and four full-time firefighters are on-duty Monday through Friday 0800 to 1700 hrs. One full-time firefighter is on-duty seven days a week, 24 hours a day
  • 2016- Junior Firefighters Program was initiated.
  • 2018 – In January of 2018, the department placed a new 75 ft. Pierce Enforcer Ladder Truck into service. This multi-purpose apparatus responds to all structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, and rescue incidents.
  • Chief Watts retired on June 30, 2019  Greg Stafford was named Fire Chief July 1, 2019.
  • 2020: The department added ATV 1, a 2020 Kawasaki Mule Pro FX.  This unit responds to off-road medical and fire emergencies and is utilized during medical and fire stand-by events.
  • Chief Stafford retired on April 30, 2023.  Truman Walton was named Fire Chief on May 1, 2023



121 Faet Street, SW 
P.O. Box 339
Valdese, NC



Truman Walton

Assistant Chief

Levi Henry

Copyright © 2024 Town of Valdese.