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C.M. Ferguson and MenIn 1908, the City was experiencing tremendous growth in the manufacturing business. There were thirty-four (34) automobiles in Winder making it the auto center of Northeast Georgia.

Because of growth, the city's volunteer fire department was organized with C.M. Ferguson as the first fire chief. There were four (4) companies with eight (8) firefighters from each ward. Firefighting equipment was listed as four (4) hose wagons and one (1) hook and ladder outfit. There were a total of thirty-six (36) firefighters. A large bell mounted on a high scaffold near the center of town, beside the Gainesville Midland tracks, was rung to call volunteers to duty. In 1923 the first motorized fire truck was purchased by the city.

In 1973 the department consisted of twenty-two (22) volunteer firefighters, three (3) fulltime employees, one (1) fire station, and six (6) pieces of motorized equipment.

Today, the department has twenty-eight (28) fulltime personnel (24 firefighters and 4 staff) and twelve (12) part paid firefighters. Equipment consist of three (3) pumpers, one (1) ladder truck, one (1) rescue truck, six (6) support vehicles, one (1) rescue boat, one (1) Emergency Response Trailer and one (1) Air Trailer. This equipment is housed in the city's two (2) fire stations. The department has a Class 3 ISO Rating.

With a firm commitment by the Mayor and Council, the department continues to grow as the city grows. Today's challenges and current events will become tomorrow's history for the City of Winder.

Fire Chiefs 1908 - Present

C.M. Ferguson 1908 - 1936
L.J. Lanthier* 1936 - 1947
L.W. Lanthier* 1947 - 1976
Monroe Wise 1976 - 1980
John Ethridge 1980 - 1987
Timothy Szymanski 1987 - 1992
Raymond J. Mattison 1992 - 2011
Matthew Whiting 2011 - Present

* Lewis and Ludger Lanthier, father and son, served a total of 39 years in position of fire chief.

Major Fires

  • 1938 Winder City School
  • 1972 Winder Barrow High School
  • 1977 Maxwell's Store
  • 1985 Rick's Home Furnishings
  • 1996 John Rich Pentecost American Legion Post 53
  • 2012 Candler Street Church fire (Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit)
Last updated: 9/2/2014 1:27:07 PM