The Sale Creek Volunteer Fire Department was an offshoot of the Sale Creek Lions Club. In 1971, the leaders of the community recognized a great need. It was a need that a Lion’s Club could not fulfill.
These men, with great vision, started down a path that is still evident today. “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” A fire engine was purchased. It was a 1951 Chevrolet bought from the Fairyland Fire Department on Lookout Mountain. The men sought training. Personal protective equipment was purchased. A fire department was formed.
The first business meeting of the newly formed Sale Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. was held in June 1971. Board members were elected from the community. Department officers were also elected. The first fire chief was Charles Westgate, a local Presbyterian Minister.
(Pictured left to right: Glenn Aslinger, Jim Reavley, & Charles Westgate)
In just a few months time, a tanker and a medical response van were also purchased and placed in service. No fire station existed. The apparatus was stored in a barn with only room for one at a time. The firefighters would rotate the apparatus.
Fire Chief Westgate did not serve a whole year before notification of transfer from his ministry. A new chief was elected. Jim Reavley would serve as the Chief until 1989.
These original SCVFD personnel set the standard for our department. With limited funds available, the members would often build and work on the apparatus themselves. This is still the normal in Sale Creek.
A new fire station was completed in 1972. As with the apparatus, the firefighters also built their own building. The original building is part of our Station One that is still in use today.
As word spread of the growing department, surrounding communities were taken into the response district. It grew to include the non-incorporated areas of Graysville in Rhea County, everything north of Soddy Daisy, east to the river and west to areas on top of the mountains, including the areas in Bledsoe County. (Our current district does not include any of Rhea or Bledsoe counties as they now have fully capable emergency response of their own.)
As the years went by, the department became more and more capable of mitigating all emergencies as more stations were added and apparatus and equipment were acquired. The personnel took specialized training in many things, including emergency medical care, rope rescue, and water rescue. Vehicle extrication equipment was purchased in 1977. The department would respond to car crashes from the Chattanooga city limits north to Roane County. A second station was opened in 1980. This station provided capabilities on the west side of the railroad tracks. A third station was constructed in 1988, adding resources closer to the Possum Creek area of our district.
In 1989 Glenn Aslinger was elected Chief of the department. He led the department in that capacity until 2010.
A fourth station was built in 1997. This station increased the operational readiness of the department, dispersing apparatus and equipment in the northeast Sale Creek area. Progress was evident in our department with the ever expanding knowledge and capabilities.
In 2010 Jacky Reavley took the reins as chief when the three chief officers of the department retired. Jacky remained chief for one and a half years when he resigned to pursue a new career as Emergency Management Director of a neighboring county.
In late December 2011, Jim Aslinger, was appointed to lead the department.
The department is on the same path that was set forth in the early days. “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” Our department is known for doing things the “Sale Creek way.” It has never been the goal of our department to be like anyone else. It is our goal to do what is best for our department and community.
Training and education is the cornerstone of our department. This allows for thinking outside the box to accomplish much with little.
Retired Chief Raymond Glenn Aslinger, 66, passed away suddenly Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. Glenn was a founding member of the Sale Creek Volunteer Fire and Rescue and gave more than 43 years of service to the Sale Creek community and beyond. He proudly served as the chief of the department for 22 years before retiring in 2010. At the time of his unexpected passing, he was serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and worked tirelessly to help research, design, and facilitate the future Sale Creek Volunteer Fire and Rescue Headquarters Station.