In 1966, 18 men left the Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department and formed the Shelby County Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
The first fire station was a barn owned by Gayle Stivers. It was located on the east side of Shelbyville.
The first pump the fire department owned is displayed in the front lobby of Station 1, located at 200 Alpine Drive.
In 1967, the fire department moved from Mr. Stivers’ barn and into a building on Washington Street, near 7th street.
In 1967, the fire department purchased its first new fire apparatus from the Darley Company. It was an International 750 front mount pumper.
In October of 1967, the Shelby County Suburban Fire District was formed through KRS Chapter 75. A tax rate was set at seven cents per $100 of real estate property valuation. The district was a three mile radius by road from the intersection of 7th and Washington Streets in Shelbyville, thus forming the Fire Protection District.
The firefighters collected dues from homeowners outside the fire district. Homeowners had the option to pay dues. If the homeowner had a fire and had not paid their dues, they would be charged $500.
The fire department also collected dues from the firefighters each week during training.
The Shelby County Fire District built a new station in 1971. Approximately 22 firefighters relocated to the new facility at 98 North 7th Street. All of the members of the department signed the bank note that paid for the station. Much of the work was performed by the firefighters, which saved much of the cost of the building.
In 1972, the Fire District purchased its second new fire apparatus, a pumper, from Darley Company. It was refurbished in 2001 and is still in service at Station 3.
In 1980, the Fire District extended its coverage area to a five mile radius by road from the intersection of Seventh and Washington Streets in Shelbyville. The tax rate levy remained at seven cents per $100 of property valuation. This lowered property insurance for those who lived in the service area.
In 1981, the Fire District purchased its first ladder truck, a Grumman 55’ telesqurt. The primary reason for this purchase was to assist with incidents in the Industrial Park.
In 1981, a two bay maintenance building was added onto Station 1. This additional space was created to accommodate vehicle maintenance.
In 1984, the Fire District built Station 2 on Hwy 55 south (1000 Taylorsville Road) near I-64 and the Shelby Industrial Park. The land was donated to the Fire District by the Shelby Industrial Foundation
In 1985, many residents in the Finchville area requested annexation into the Shelby County Suburban Fire District. This was due to extended water service to the area and the construction of Fire Station 2. The Fire District was extended into the Finchville area, again lowering property insurance.
In 1982, the Fire Department responded to 151 incidents. In 1988 the response volume increased to 259.
In 1988, ISO (Insurance Services Office) surveyed the Shelby County Suburban Fire District. They classified the department with a split class 4/9 rating. Class 4 rating applies to property within 5 miles of a fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant. Class 9 rating applies to property within five miles of a fire station with no hydrant within 1,000’.
In 1991, the District Board purchased a heavy rescue truck.
In 1992, two apparatus bays were added onto Station 2 to accommodate additional apparatus.
In 1993, the Fire Department began to demand more time of the Fire Chief and Officer Staff. Increasing amounts of time were spent doing administrative tasks such as reports, as well as fulfilling requests for all types of service. On November 1, 1993, the Board of Trustees hired its first employee. Chief Bobby
Cowherd would oversee the day-to-day operations of the department.
In 1994, the Fire District annexed the remaining area to be served by the Fire Department. The Fire District abolished the policy of collecting dues outside the Fire District. A tax rate was set at seven cents per $100 dollars of real estate property valuation for the annexed area.
In 1995, the District Board continued to add to the apparatus fleet by purchasing a new pumper and tanker. The District Board voted to start providing a nominal fee of $4 per run and per training to the volunteers. This was used to retain volunteers and assist them with out of pocket expenses.
In 1995, the department responded to 457 incidents.
On March 1, 1997, a 100 year magnitude flood caused approximately 5 feet of water to enter Station 1 and we were forced to evacuate the station. The flooding damaged paperwork, equipment and the Department lost a substantial amount of the building contents.
The Fire Department offices operated out of a temporary trailer for nearly two years. During that time, the Board of Directors started planning for a new station to be built out of the flood plain.
In 1997, the Fire Department started making 1st Responder runs with Shelby County EMS. This was a coordinated effort between Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, Shelby County Fiscal Court, and Shelby County EMS
In September of 1997, the Fire District built Station 3, located at 7027 Eminence Pike. This station would provide service to the northern portion of the Fire District and help homeowners with insurance ratings. Much of the work was performed by the members of the Fire Department, again saving taxpayer money.
In April 1999, the Fire District experienced a growth in industrial, commercial, and residential areas. Due to the requirements of ISO, the Fire District started planning for the purchase an aerial truck. The Board of Directors purchased a used 102’ aerial truck from the Middletown Fire District.
In October 2000, the Shelby County Fire District opened a new 17,000 square foot facility designated as Station 1. Approximately 60 firefighters relocated to the new facility located at 200 Alpine Drive. This is where the administrative offices are located today. Members contributed countless hours of labor to the building of the station.
In 2000, the department responded to 690 incidents.
In July 2001, the district hired its second employee, an Administrative Assistant, on a part time basis. A year later, July 1, 2002 this was made into a full time position, making Jennifer Stenger the second full time employee for the Fire District.
In 2002, ISO surveyed the Shelby County Suburban Fire District. The results classified the Department as a class 4/9 rating.
In September 2005, the district board voted to raise the tax rate levied to the maximum allowed by KRS 75. The tax rate went to 10 cents per $100 dollars of real estate property valuation. This was the first time in the history of the Shelby County Suburban Fire District that a tax increase had taken place.
In 2008, the Fire District had budgeted to build a station in the southern portion of the Fire District. This would again help homeowners with insurance ratings. The plans were to build around the Finchville area. The Fire District acquired 2 acres of land and plans were put together to build the station.
Unexpectedly, the Fire District received a grant which allowed for the construction of a 5th station to be located in the northwestern portion of the district. This would benefit those homeowners living just outside the station three area by lowering their insurance ratings.
Between 2008 and 2009, the Fire District built Stations 4 and 5, both of which are 6,000 square feet. Station 4 is located at 980 Finchville Road and Station 5 is at 7370 Lagrange Road. Once again, much of the work was performed by firefighters of the department saving the taxpayers money. Firefighters saved approximately $200,000.00 per station by performing so much of the work.
In 2008, the fire district purchased two new engines and three new tankers.
In 2011, the firefighters of the department completed a much needed renovation of the interior of Station 2, again saving taxpayer dollars.
In 2012, ISO surveyed the Shelby County Suburban Fire District and the results classified the Department as a split class 4/8b rating. A Class 8b rating applies to those properties located within 5 miles of a fire station and with no fire hydrant within 1,000 feet.
One recommendation generated by the 2012 ISO survey was for an additional aerial truck to be placed at Station 2. The District Board began planning for an additional aerial truck.
In 2013, the Board of Trustees purchased a used 102’ aerial truck from Camp Taylor Fire District and placed it in service at station 2.
In 2014, the Fire District took delivery of a new heavy duty rescue truck to replace the rescue truck purchased in 1991.
In 2015, the department responded to 835 incidents.
The Fire District 2014-2015 budget was $950,200 with assets of over $6,000,000. The department covers 180 square miles of Shelby County with five Fire Stations, a fleet of 23 firefighting apparatus, and ten command/service vehicles. Our staff includes a full-time Fire Chief, a full-time Administrative Assistant, 54 volunteer suppression firefighters, seven volunteer support members, and five volunteer Junior Firefighters.