Castalia Volunteer Fire Department: History and 50th Anniversary

as reported in the Town of Castalia newsletter:

UPTOWN NEWSLETTER, Volume 1, Issue 6 [June-July 2007]

One of the first rural fire departments in Nash County began to serve the Castalia community in 1956. After a few costly tobacco barn fires, several men in the community realized the need for a fire department. These men met at the Castalia School. The first officers elected were President Roy Pullen, Secretary/Treasurer A. J. Lancaster, and Fire Chief Watson Manning. They also elected seven board members.

The first fire truck was purchased from the Army Surplus Store in December 1956 for $35.00. The engine, a 1950 Ford was sent to C. W. Williams to be refurbished for $3,000.00.

Some of the first fire calls the new department answered was a tobacco pack house, feed room, and corn crib on A.J. Lancaster’s farm. The pack house and feed room were lost in the blaze. The firemen saved the corn crib, filled with corn at the time, and kept the fire from spreading to surrounding buildings. It was Castalia mail carrier G.M. Strickland’s opinion that the property saved by the firefighters would equal the cost of the department’s first fire truck. The firemen answered another call to a pack house owned by L. W. Bobbitt. The fire was on a cold Sunday morning in January 1957. It has been told, that Sunday morning worshippers left Castalia Baptist Church to answer the call. One woman, thinking it was her home, left the church and ran all the way to her house.

The first fire station was a two door bay connected to Roy Pullen’s Grocery Store. This served the community until 1972, at which time Mr. Pullen’s family sold the store to the department for $4,500.00. The store was converted to a meeting room and kitchen. Located on the corner of Hwy. 58 and Lancaster Store Road, it housed the fire department until the department moved to its present location in 1998.

In 1986, Drake Freeman donated land to the Castalia Volunteer Fire Department. The land is now the home of the Castalia Sub-Station located on Taylor Gin Road. It was the 1st fire Sub-Station to be built in Nash County and expanded Castalia’s fire district from 5miles to 13miles. It became operational in April 1987.

The first new fire truck purchased was a 1963 Chevrolet, 1000 GPM Darley pump. The next purchase was a 1968 Atlas Tanker. A 1000 GPM EEI Engine was purchased in 1986. In 1991, a 1000 GPM E-One Pumper / Tanker was purchased and put into service at the Sub-Station. Also, the 1963 fire engine was refurbished to use as a tanker at the Sub-Station. A 2700 gallons Semo Tanker was purchased in 2004 and a new 1250 GPM Semo Engine was purchased in 2005.

The fire department was rated by the N. C. Carolina Department of Insurance in April 2003. The department received a Class 5 rating, giving the citizens a reduction in their homeowners insurance.

In 1956 the department had 13 fire calls, and in 2006 the department had 246 fire calls.


On April 21, 2007 the Castalia Fire Department celebrated its 50th anniversary. The program consisted of the posting of the colors, the National Anthem and speakers who offered commendation for and reminiscence of the fifty years of service. Charter members, honorary members and present members were recognized and presented with a gold commemorative coin:” Fifty years and still Fighting.” Following the program a lovely reception was enjoyed by some two hundred guests.