The community of Ames Turnout was a small spur line stop on the main railroad. But change
would come in the late 1890’s with the opening of a school that would become what is now Wingate
University. With the school came the incorporation of the Town of Wingate around the turn of the
Fire protection was nothing more than buckets and willing hands in the event of an emergency.
Although the equipment has changed, the willing hands have not. 1948 saw the humble beginnings of
what we have today. The Town of Wingate acquired a 1937 Chevrolet truck which was home built.
The housing for the truck was in a local mechanic shop. When an emergency occurred, a group of local
business owners and workers would respond the truck and do the best they could.
This continued the method until regulations were being implemented across the state in the mid
to late 1950’s. By 1960, major changes were in motion that would continue until today. The Town
of Wingate appointed a fire chief and purchased a new 1960 Chevrolet/American LaFrance fire truck.
Department regulations and training standards were brought to state compliance. This was the first time
the department was organized.
Rural fire protection was added in the early 1960’s which, until that time, did not exist. The fleet
of trucks grew with the addition of military surplus vehicles. As the department grew, so did the need for
more training and safety equipment such as SCBA and turnout gear.
Progress continued until the next major change in the early 1980’s with the implementation of
medical care for our community. This came with a cost of a dramatic increase in responses but a well
needed improvement for our community.
Today, our department is a modern department with apx. 35 members who answer some 800
responses a year. That is a far cry from 60 responses in 1970. We continue to grow and evolve . This
can be seen in our equipment, state certified members and most importantly, our dedicated people.
Since the beginning in 1948 and through the major changes in the 1960’s until the modern
department of today, one thing remains unchanged – willing hands.