The City of Newton Fire Department is rich in history. A group called the Newton Fire Company was started by Newton citizens in 1886, but the Newton Fire Department was not officially organized until about 1907.
During the 1908 - 1910 era firefighters had to hand pull Newton's Hook and Ladder wagon to the cities fires. Two veterans of the department were quoted saying "It takes a pretty good crowd of people to pull and push the wagon and for about the first 100 yards you could make pretty good time, but then the going slowed down". They also recalled the old Bucket Brigade system of getting water on the fire.
In 1920, Newton purchased its first motorized truck, a 1919 American LaFrance pumper, and a second truck in 1937. Both of these trucks are still partially operational and maintained by the department.
Many changes occurred during the next few decades, including the addition of a paid chief position and paid drivers' positions. Additional equipment was purchased and Newton hired a full time fire prevention officer in 1974. During this time, the 1937 American La France pumper was converted to "Newton, The Talking Fire Truck," teaching children about fire safety.
In the past Newton hosted the Annual Fall Fire School, taught by the NC Department of Insurance Instructors. For over 20 years, hundreds of firefighters from across the county attended this event.
Today, the City of Newton Fire Department, which in July 2001 merged with the Startown Fire Department, operates three Fire Stations covering 38.3 miles of municipal and rural area and is staffed by full-time personnel, part-time personnel as well as reserve firefighters. The department consists of the Fire Chief, a Deputy Fire Chief, an Administrative Assistant, a Fire Marshal, a Fire Inspector, a Fire Educator, Fire Captains, a Safety Officer, Apparatus Engineers, and Firefighters. Some of Newton's distinguished firefighting staff hold certifications as Emergency Medical Technicians and Confined Space and Trench Rescue Personnel. The department responds to approximately 800 emergency incidents a year and maintains a budget of approximately $2,000,000.
The department offers one of the best response times in the entire County and provides a high level of service to the citizens of Newton.