Welcome to the West Buncombe Fire Department.
A need for an organized fire department within the Erwin Hills Community was recognized by a small group of Lions Club members just a half mile from our current station. It was through their commitment and tenacity that in March 1959, the West Buncombe Volunteer Fire Department was established.
Interestingly, the men of the Lions Club wished to name the newly created fire department the Erwin Hills Volunteer Fire Department but alas, another North Carolina Fire Department had already claimed that name. Garfield Treadway, a Lions Club member, was named Chief. Since 1959, West Buncombe has only had eight Fire Chiefs. Chief Dennis Fagnant currently serves as our Fire Chief and is only the second paid, full-time Chief we’ve had.
Since our humble beginnings in 1959 as an all-volunteer fire department, we now staff two stations strategically located within our 25.8 square miles and employ 20 full-time & 15 part-time paid firefighters, 35 volunteer firefighters and 1 administrative secretary. All stations are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a minimum staffing of 6 paid personnel. The department is proud to hold an ISO rating of 3.
Meet the chief officers of the West Buncombe Fire Department.
Fire Chief Dennis Fagnant serves as only our second paid chief following the retirement of Chief Randy Ratcliff. Dennis began his fire service career as a Junior Firefighter and ultimately Volunteer Firefighter in 1992 with the North Cumberland Fire Department in Rhode Island. He enlisted into active duty service with the United States Air Force in July, 1995 serving in both the satellite communications field and fire protection. After honorably serving his country for 11 years and multiple overseas assignments, Dennis left active duty service in 2006, joining the Town of Weaverville Fire Department and quickly promoting to Battalion Chief.
In 2007, Dennis joined the West Buncombe Fire Department as a part-time Firefighter to enjoy his passion of being a “tailboard firefighter”. In 2017, Dennis was hired as the first paid full-time Division Chief leading Safety and Training for West Buncombe and was promoted to Fire Chief on January 14, 2020. Dennis is nationally credentialed as a Chief Fire Officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence, holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University.
Dennis is a proud husband and father to his two daughters and enjoys spending time with family, camping, and woodworking.
Call Chief Fagnant:
(828) 254-7387 ext. 11
For vendors and sales calls who wish to meet with the Fire Chief, please contact Robin Edwards to schedule an appointment. The Chief is unable to accommodate cold calls.
Two stations, one department
Headquarters, Station 1
Address: 549 Old County Home Road
Captain: Mark Parker
Station 1 houses Engine Co. 5, Rescue Co. 5, and Buncombe County EMS 6. A tanker is assigned as a second piece to the engine and a brush unit is also assigned to this station. Station 1 also houses all administrative offices of the chief.
Address: 724 Riverview Church Road
Captain: Jared Gudger
Station 2 houses Engine Co. 5-2, and Reserve Engine 5-3. A brush unit is also assigned to this station. This station primarily serves the Emma Community with its district extending into the Olivette Community.
Join our team.
We are always looking for volunteers interested in serving their community. No prior experience is required, just a willingness to serve your community and volunteer your time to training and responding to calls.
Please download and complete the Application form below. You may submit the form at the Main Station on 549 Old County Home Road, Monday - Friday, 8AM-5PM.
Equal Opportunity Statement
At the West Buncombe Fire Department we don’t just accept difference – we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our service delivery, and our diverse community in which we serve. West Buncombe Fire is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace. Background checks and drug testing is required for all employees.
Mission, Vision, Values and Risk Statements
The mission of the West Buncombe Volunteer Fire Department is to protect the lives, property and environment of the residence of the community and of Buncombe County by providing exceptional public safety services. We accomplish this mission through professionalism by being prepared, compassionate, focused on customer service, and evolving our profession through continuous self and organizational improvement.
To Lead– Be accountable. Be prepared. Be a teammate. Hold yourself to the highest levels of integrity. Be an example in both professional and personal dealings. You are a role model!
To Protect- Lives, Property, and Environment.
To Serve– Our public and each other before ourselves and any personal gain.
To continue our steadfast commitment to serving our community by delivering an unparalleled level of customer service.
We will do so by investing in our staff by being a transparent, collaborative, and compassionate employer while leading our staff to greater heights of personal and professional achievement through training, goal setting, and increasing responsibility. It is our shared vision to work towards greater health and wellness initiatives to achieve a better and longer quality of life while in active service and into retirement.
We will continue to rise to the level of department our community holds us to. We understand when our community calls on us to respond to emergencies that we will do so quickly, safely, and most importantly, professionally. We recognize the stressful situations our community is placed in when confronted with their emergencies and we will respond with understanding and compassion. Emergency response is only one tenet of responsibility to our community and thus, we endeavor to increase our visibility and engagement within the community and to increase our education related to the reduction of injuries and fires.
To meet the needs of our staff and community it will take both financial and personnel commitment. Department leadership and its stakeholders commit to these needs while conscientiously being the best stewards of the resources provided to us. Our actions and business practices shall be in-line with best practices and will continue to be transparent and accountable.
The West Buncombe Fire Department prioritizes human life, firefighter safety, the conservation of property, and the environment. Risk is determined by the constant evaluation of every situation and/or operation and measured acceptable or not based upon expertise, training, experience, and the resources provided to the department.
West Buncombe firefighters may place themselves in positions of extreme personal risk, which may result in injury or death, in order to attempt the rescue of those who may be saved. The recovery of those who have perished or the conservation of property will only take place with primary consideration for the lives and health of our workforce.
Here to serve our community.
During COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to host or conduct station tours. We enjoy welcoming the community into our house and look forward to once again reinstating station tours as soon as it is safely possible.
In the mean time, we are happy to provide a fire truck “drive-by” for birthday’s or other celebrations for our community members. Simply contact station 1 to schedule.
Burning permits are available from the NC Forest Service via this
549 Old County Home Road | Asheville, NC | (828) 254-7387