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Cumby VFD Honored; Town’s History Of Fire Protection Dates Back To 1870s

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Hopkins County Commissioners Court and Fire Chief Andy Endsley recognize Cumby Volunteer Fire Department for their dedicated service to the community.

The commissioners court and county fire chief also recognized Cumby VFD and expressed appreciation to them for their continued dedication to the community, with volunteers responding with apparatus housed both at the main station in Cumby and the substation in Brashear.

The county is recognizing one volunteer department each month this year as part of Hopkins County Fire Department’s 20th anniversary celebration, noting the vital role each plays in providing fire and rescue protection in each community and throughout the county.

“We wanted to include everybody, because without each individual volunteer fire department Hopkins County Station 20 would not be where it’s at today,” Hopkins County Fire Chief Andy Endsley said. “Because of all of yall helping the guys. We all work so well together. Cumby’s one of those if you call them, they’re coming, it doesn’t matter where it’s at in the county.”

“This is a special occasion. Cumby is one of the most effective volunteer fire departments in Hopkins County. We’ve watched over the years as as they have responded really all over the county at times, but especially on the western side of the county. They’ve been a lifesaver for many,” Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom said.

Cumby has had various levels of fire protection dating back more than 100 years, according to information read during the Aug. 12 Commissioners Court session.

According to the Cumby Rustler publication, Cumby had a fire brigade that put out fires at local cotton gins, other businesses and homes, the railways as well as grass fires from the 1870s to early 1900s. The Cumby fire brigade was reported to have put out a locomotive steam engine fire. It was reported that a large portion of downtown would have burned if not for the quick efforts of firemen, Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom read from a proclamation given to the department at Monday’s meeting.

The City of Cumby’s first official fire department was formed in 1924, however, information about the members was destroyed in a when the roof of the old city hall collapsed in the 1980s. The first known fire apparatus was a 1932 Howe pumper truck, Newsom said.

The current fire department, the modern era department, was formed in 1968 by James Strickland, Leroy Conville, Junior Millsap, Leon Higginbotham, Luke Smith, Williams Cross and Bill Spencer.

“The department’s motto ‘Pride of the Westside’ still holds true as its members continue to proudly claim a longstanding sense of success in providing fire protection for the City of Cumby and Western Hopkins County,” Newsom said.

“They are the pride of the west side. They take care of the west end so well for us, the Interstate. We know each other very well from the Interstate. That history right there if phenomenal. It goes all the way back to the 1800s. So far y’all have go the record on how far back you go. That’s amazing right there. That’s a testament to Cumby, the people of Cumby and the department. We appreciate that,” Endsley said.

Cumby VFD member Jimmy Evans noted that he’d been a member of the department since 1976, and could remember a time “the budget of the county was $38,000 for all of the departments.”

Evans commended the county for “doing an excellent job for us, helping all the fire departments” over the years. He noted at one time, the county purchased a cab and chassis for all VFDs, and said he wished the county was able to still do so, but expressed appreciation to the commissioners court for what they are able to do for the VFD.

Evans said just as the county has grown and changed over the years, and that has impacted VFDs.

“As far as the departments, I think everybody is suffering for manpower. I know we are. We used to always have a minimum of 18 members. We are down to about 12 now. You have to keep up the good work supporting fire departments as you have done,” the VFD members said.

“We need young firemen. The future future of Hopkins County and depends on young people to step up. This is volunteers. They don’t get paid, and are volunteers we appreciate that so much,” Newsom said.

The commissioners court urged citizens to join them in applauding the outstanding efforts of Cumby VFD, including their dedication and perseverance in providing fire protection to the citizens of Hopkins County, and offer heartfelt appreciation to the servant hood of each CVFD member.

An old photo of Cumby VFD members

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Author: Faith Huffman

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