Since the humble beginnings of ladder company #1 in 1882 when even the most devastating blazes were kept at bay with a hand drawn cart, buckets of water, and a 35 foot ladder, the Asheville Fire Department has stood as a shield against the devastating force of fire. Today the department's certified EMTs and Emergency Rescue Technicians utilize the latest in fire suppression technology to ensure the safety of the over 6,862 establishments and more than 31,000 households of this vibrant mountain town. Their service to the community is undeniably vital, a fact made evident by the over 15,000 times they responded to emergencies in 2006 alone. In addition to fire calls, Fire and Rescue also responds to medical, special rescue, and hazardous materials emergencies.
Charged with stopping fires before they happen, The Buncombe County Fire Marshal's office bears their daunting task with admirable profesialism and efficiency. Ensuring that all structures meet fire and housing codes is their chief tool towards fire prevention. They are responsible for all housing and business inspections, fire investigations and public outreach in the form of fire prevention programs.