The Hickory Grove Volunteer Fire Department was organized in May 1953 and started operating on April 1, 1953. Most of the fire department meetings were held at the American Legion Hut or the Hickory Grove Community Building.
During the first year, Hickory Grove answered 21 calls. The first fire fatality came in December of 1953 ― a 7 month old baby. The total expenses for the first year of operation were $4,581.41. Total receipts were $5,638.33. The first fire truck cost $5974.51. It was built by Southern Fire Apparatus in Roanoke, Virginia. The first fire station cost $318.38 and was located on Hickory Grove Road.
L.M. Taylor was the first Fire Chief. He served in the position until 1958. W.J. Maye was the first Assistant Chief. He served in that position until 1956. In May, 1955 a lot was purchased across the street from the fire station for a new station. The cost of the station was $5,296.23. This was Hickory Grove's main fire station until 1988. In June of 1954 a second fire truck was purchased. In November of 1955 a shortwave receiver was purchased for the fire station. It was used to communicate with the two-way radio on Engine 1. In 1957 a 1948 Dodge Power Wagon was placed in service for use as a grass unit.
Robinson Fire @ 2011
By 1960, the call volume had increased to 31 calls. The State Department insisted that Hickory Grove get direct telephone service or lose it's County monies.Fire department leaders discussed building a station in Robinson that would operate as Hickory Grove Station #2 in 1966. However, this station would not become a reality for another 18 years.By 1967 a new truck needed to be purchased. A bay had to be added to the building to house the truck. In 1968, the new truck was purchased from Beatty Ford Tank and Body and installed by Mr. Link at a cost of $15,875.00. This truck was in service until 1998, when it was sold to a department in Georgia as their front line truck.In 1969 Engine 2 was painted white for $500.00. The grass truck was painted white by the members for $35.00.
The Seventies saw a huge explosion in growth for the Hickory Grove area. One of the largest signs of growth was when Eastland Mall opened. Growth continued out Robinson Church Road and Harrisburg Road towards Cabarrus County. Hickory Grove responded to several large fires at the Lake Apartments with the Oakhurst Volunteer Fire Department. In 1972 a new Dodge Power Wagon brush truck was purchased. In 1974 a Ford F750 chassis was purchased from Young Ford for $7227.79. Howe Fire Apparatus installed a body on the truck. It was sold by Triad Fire. The first of several annexations by Charlotte came in the 70's. In 1971 calls had more than doubled to 61.
The early 80's saw a marked increase in call volume. In 1984 the Robinson fire station was built at 5304 Mecklenburg Shrine Club Road. This station was known as Hickory Grove Station #2 Robinson. The 4 bay station was occupied by Engine 1, the 1968 Ford.In 1987 Hickory Grove started it's First Responder program to provide much needed EMS services to the community. A Chevrolet truck with a utility body was purchased for EMS calls. It was designated as Rescue 8.
Due to a large annexation, the Hickory Grove fire station at 6115 Hickory Grove Road was closed in 1988. All equipment was moved to the Robinson Station. The name of the department was changed to Robinson Volunteer Fire Department.
A Ford C8000/Grumman pumper was purchased in 1988. The truck was painted solid red. In November 1988 Engine 3 was totaled in an accident. In late 1988 a matching Ford C8000/Grumman pumper was purchased. An addition was need to house the new apparatus, so two bays and an upstairs meeting room were added to the building.The official name of the department was changed in 1989 to Robinson Volunteer Fire Department.
1990'sA new Rescue 8 was purchased in 1991. It had a Ford F450 chassis with a Frontline Emergency Vehicles rescue body. A 1991 Chevrolet 2500 pickup was purchased to replace the 1972 Dodge brush truck.In the mid 1990's, Rescue was added to the legal name of the department. It was now known as Robinson Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. A Pierce Saber engine company was delivered in August 1998. The 1968 front mount Ford was sold to a department in Georgia.
2010 & Beyond
In 2011 Robinson purchased a new brush truck to replace their outdated brush truck. The new truck was capable of hauling more water and was equipped for special rescue incidents. 2011 the City of Charlotte proceeded with the Camp Stewart South Annexation, which took the southern end of Robinson’s fire district. The annexations resulted in a loss of call volume each time. Robinson Fire and Rescue still responds to many neighborhoods that include Bradfield Farms, Larkhaven Village, Northlake, and the Haven Ridge Apartment Complex on Rocky River Church Rd.
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With an increase in medical calls and an upgrade in equipment, a new rescue truck was needed. In May 2001 Robinson took delivery of a Spartan/Marion 17' rescue truck. Another Pierce Saber pumper was purchased in November of 2001. It replaced the 1988 Grumman, which was sold to Dogtown, Alabama. In 2003 Interstate 485 opened, linking the southern part of Mecklenburg County with Interstate 85.
The addition of I-485 through the middle of the fire district, along with an increase overall in population with large housing developments popping up throughout the district increased calls for service greatly in the 2000’s. The first few years the calls increased to right above a 1000 calls for service, by mid-2000’s the calls for service increased to a peak high of 1500 calls in a single year! During the week a day shift crew started working 8am-6pm each day.
Due to the City of Charlotte increased their annexation into the southern part of Robinson’s response district in 2009, but did not have a station built in the area at the time of annexation. Charlotte Fire Department agreed to enter into a contract with Robinson Fire & Rescue to supplement fire protection in the newly annexed area until their station was built. Robinson ran calls in conjunction with Charlotte Fire for a year while construction took place. Robinson now had a three man day crew with one firefighter at night. Once their station was completed Robinson discontinued their contract but remained covering their area with day/night part time coverage.
Robinson Rescue also runs automatic aid with Mint Hill Ambulance service on their northern boundary of Mint Hill from the city limits of Charlotte to the Cabarrus County Line. Robinson also runs automatic aid with the Harrisburg Fire Department and Flowes Store Volunteer Fire Department in Cabarrus County.
Robinson Fire & Rescue is still very active in Mecklenburg County and plans to serve the remaining unincorporated area for many years to come!