The City of Roswell Fire Department was founded in 1889 beginning with 40 leather buckets and one 16-foot ladder. Local businessman Nathan Jaffa was elected as the first fire chief, and he commanded an eight-man volunteer unit.
Their first duty was digging wells at the street corners. At that time the water table was four to five feet below the surface and water could be bailed from the well and handed up to form a bucket brigade.
The department has changed considerably since those early days, with 91 employees working out of six fire stations, one administration building and a fire training center.
In 2021, the department responded to 1,027 fire-related calls for service, along with 8,239 EMS calls.
The RFD responds on a vast array of incidents including structure fires, grass fires, hazardous materials incidents, motor vehicle accidents, high- and low-angle rope rescue, swift water rescue, public assist calls, as well as medical emergencies.
Our primary response obligation is to the City of Roswell, but the department also has a mutual aid agreement with Chaves County. The department will respond to medical calls in the county, fires at county schools and churches, or any time one of the county fire departments requests help. The county volunteer departments reciprocate by assisting the Roswell Fire Department when requested. The department has also responded to neighboring counties when assistance has been requested. The department is very proud to be one of few departments in the state to maintain an ISO classification rating of 2.