The Gatlinburg Volunteer
Fire Department was formed on September 16, 1946. The city's first fire
department was all volunteer and headed up by Ralph "Doc" Shilling,
Gatlinburg's resident doctor. In 1946 the department responded to 8
calls. The department now responds to over 3,000 calls per
Gatlinburg's earliest rescue vehicles included a brush truck, a rescue
truck, a tanker and an engine. The last two trucks on the right were
bought from the Fountain City Fire
In 1969, a paid department was formed.
There were two stations and 8 personnel. The first fire
truck was an army surplus Ford flat bed that had a front mounted
pump. Currently the department has thirty-eight paid personnel, 22
part-time paid personnel and thirteen volunteer personnel.
first ambulance was a Suburban Panel Truck with an army cot. In 1972, a
citizen worked with the mayor to get the fire department it's first top of the
line ambulance which was a Suburban High-top along with the first portable
defibrillator in the state of Tennessee. Today the department has 3 Class
A fire apparatus, 3 rescue apparatus, 2 tankers, 2 reserve fire apparatus, a
104' aerial apparatus, a wildland fire apparatus, a technical rescue response
vehicle, a support truck, a hazardous materials response trailer and an ATV (all
terrain vehicle). Gatlinburg's fire response area is 238 square miles that
covers a great portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.