On March 10, 1893, four months after Virginia was voted village status, nearly all able bodied men in the community met at the rear of Hayes Hall. They formed Virginia's first firefighting company. E. W. Coons was made first fire chief. Firefighters equipped with rubber boots, coats, helmets, and a hose cart with 500 feet of hose.
During the last 123 years Virginia has experienced a multitude of incidents from minor to catastrophic. Two major fires all but leveled the city and prompted the requirement that downtown businesses be constructed of non-combustible materials. In 1911 the Virginia Fire Department answered 61 alarms. In 1920 the last horse was sold due to converting the horse drawn steamers to motor power. In 1928 Virginia Fire responded to 96 alarms, but by 1937 Virginia Fire was responding to 162 alarms a year.
In 1947 Virginia Fire assumed the ambulance service and in 1989 Virginia fire began utilizing paramedics as an Advanced Life Support ambulance service in addition to supplying tactical paramedics to the St. Louis County Emergency Response Team.
The Virginia Fire Department has undergone a number of changes throughout the years as we have remodeled our fire hall many times, integrated women into the fire service and increased our level of medical care and frequency of service.
Over the years some of our members have paid the ultimate price by giving their lives in the line of duty. On August 10, 1933, Firefighter John Grym, died of asphyxiation while trying to rescue victims from a well. Firefighter Harry Hawkinson died while fighting a garage fire January 3, 1940. Chauncey Pettinelli died June 16, 1958, after falling from the back of a fire engine responding to a fire. In 1990, Tom Stellmach died in a tragic accident at the Fire Station.