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Fire Department

The Mt. Vernon Fire Department was organized in 1897, with its first members being a "bucket brigade." Shortly thereafter, the department obtained a manual pump cart and ladder wagon that could be pulled either by hand or by horse.

Between the years of 1900 and 1910, Mt. Vernon Firefighters were three-time hook and ladder state champions. The firefighters also formed a town band during that time.

In 1920, the Mt. Vernon Fire Department became a "motorized" department with the purchase of an American LaFrance Fire engine.

Until 1952, the City of Mt. Vernon had only one fire engine. At that time, the Mt. Vernon Rural Fire Association was formed and another used fire engine was purchased. Since that time the City and Rural departments have continued to upgrade equipment. Currently, the city owns three class-one pumpers a 75 foot quint, and a heavy rescue. The Rural department now has two class-one pumpers and one older pumper truck, along with three brush-fire fighting vehicles, one 1200-gallon tanker a 2350 gallon tanker and treee utility vehicles.

The current Mt. Vernon Fire Department is an all-volunteer department. After 55 years of service with the fire department, Chief Melvin Owens retired January 1, 2014. Brad Delay, who was the assistant chief, was appointed by the City to fill the Fire Chef's position. DeLay has been with the fire department since 1991. he has served as the assistant chief over the last serveral years. Currently, there are 25 firefighters with over 300 years of combined firefighting experience. The current ISO rating, which is used to determine the effectiveness of a department, is a class 6. This is a rating that is normally achieved by departments that are full-time and are serving communities with a population of 7,000 to 10,000 people. Mt. Vernon's population is currently just over 4,000 residents.

Duties of the current department include not only fighting fires but also routine inspections and public appearances at schools and community events. Meetings are held at least once a month to update firefighter training and equipment practices.

The City and Rural departments are the same yet different. Each is a separate entity, but both use the same firefighters and can use the same equipment practices.

The Mt. Vernon Fire Department continues to look toward the future and continues to take the steps necessary to provide its firefighters with the equipment and training necessary to protect the community and to save lives and property.

For more information, please contact Fire Chief, Brad Delay or Assistant Fire Chief, Grant Wheeler at 417-461-0837.

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