In 1948, a group of men residing in Vernon Township and in Burghill (located in Vernon Township) recognized the need for fire protection. After meeting to organize, the private fire company known as the Burghill Vernon Volunteer Fire Department Association, Inc., was formed and incorporated that year.

The original fire station was located in Burghill, at the southern end of the township. In the early 1970s, though, Vernon Township was able to receive a grant to have a new fire station built, and in 1976, the fire department itself moved from Burghill to Vernon Center. The fire station sits on the northwest corner of the intersection of State Route 7 and State Route 88. Three of the five bays are dedicated to the fire department. Two of the bays are occupied by the township road department. The original fire department station is no longer in existence.

Over the years, the fire department has developed significantly from the one-truck station of 1948. The Burghill Vernon Fire Department was the first department in the area to have an ambulance and to transition "attendants" to emergency medical technicians. It expanded by obtaining a tanker/water tender, a brush unit, and manpower units. By 1989, the station had a 1976 Ford/Ward La France engine, a 1982 Ford 2000-gallon tanker (nicknamed "Pudgy" as it was short and "fat" with a short wheel-base), a 1985 Ford E-350 MedTec ambulance, a Jeep brush-fighter, a 1984 Ford pick-up that served as both a brush unit and a manpower unit, and a Ford station wagon that was a manpower unit. The department, at that time, had a membership of over 50 volunteers, most of which were firefighters, EMTs, or both. A few of the members were "social" or "auxiliary", whose function was to support the operations of the fire department.

The face of the fire department in 2015 is much different, however. Our engine, a 1995 Freightliner/New Lexington is a Class A pumper that is our primary fire attack unit. "Pudgy" was replaced with a 2003 International tanker, carrying 2000 gallons of water and having a mounted port-a-tank for rural water supply. Our manpower unit is a 2001 Chevy 2500HD crew-cab pick-up, and it is used for multiple response applications. The ambulance is a 1999 Ford E-350, with its box manufactured by Horton, and it was the second replacement ambulance we had since the 1985 Ford of our earlier years. Our newest addition, however, is our 2013 John Deere APV brush unit. This replaces a John Deere ATV that was used as a brush unit since early 2000, and these types of units are commonplace in the area because of their maneuverability in poorly accessible areas.

Unfortunately, volunteerism nationwide is on the downward skid, and our agency was affected just like most others. In 1989, Vernon Township had a population of around 3,000 residents, and the department had approximately 50 members. In 2010, our population was determined to be about 1,500, with the departmental membership hovering around 15. Much of this has to do with the increasing time demands on volunteers combined with the state of the economy. We, like most other departments, are able to maintain, but not without the help of neighboring communities.

The future of our fire department is similar to others of our type and size: unpredictable. With state and federally unfunded mandates on training, equipment, and the like, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain services. While we are publically funded by two separate tax levies, medical reimbursements are down along with volunteerism. We have tightened our belts and continue to fundraise to make sure that we can meet the needs of you: the members of our community.


Our History...


From our history to who we are today...