Serving Columbus And The Polk County Area Since 1949
Covering over 50 square miles, the Columbus Fire Department runs an average of 1300 calls a year between first response and fire emergencies. In addition, we provide mutual aid to all other departments in Polk county.
The Department was founded in 1949 and has grown to what it is today, rated a split class 5/9 department by the Office of the State Fire Marshall and Department of Insurance. We have 9 apparatus and 2 support vehicles, allowing us to provide a wide variety of emergency response services.
Currently, we have 4 paid employees and 40 volunteers. Our members receive training several times yearly and are required to hold the necessary certifications. Recently, we added a ladies auxiliary to provide additional support to our members.
We are located at 100 South Peak Street in downtown Columbus, North Carolina. The Columbus Fire department stands ready to respond to fire and other emergencies 24/7.
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Chief Tony Priester joined the fire department in 2007. He has held various positions in the fire department, including Leiutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief and Deputy Chief. Tony is firefighter 1 & 2 certified, EMR, Hazmat operation certified, VMR, and rescue suba diver. He lives in Polk County with wife and 2 children. Tony's nickname is Preacherman.
Deputy Chief Ronnie Russell joined in 1997 and became Deputy Chief in 2014. He held various positions in the fire department, including Leiutenant, Captain and Assistant Chief. Ronnie is firefighter 1 & 2 certified, Hazmat opertation certified and a EMR. He lives in Columbus with his wife and 2 children. Ronnie is also a Sargent with the Polk County Sheiffs Department. Ronnie's nickname is Rail Road.
Assistant Chief Tom Avolese joined in 2007 and became a Assisant Chief in 2014. Tom is firefighter 1 & 2 certified, Airport search and rescue certified and Hazmat opertation certified. He also served as a Lieutenant and Captain. Tom lives in Polk County with his wife. Tom is also a Airport firefighter at the Asheville Regional Airport. Tom's nickname is Goat Man.
Captain Tommy Stott joined in 2006 and became a Captain in 2011. He also was a Lieutenant. Tommy is firefighter 1 & 2 certified, VMR and Hazmat opertation certified. Tommy lives in Polk County. Tommy is also one of the departments Board of Directors. Tommy's nickname is Doc.
Captain Bobby Arledge joined in 1996. Bobby holds numerous
certifications. Some are firefighter 1&2, rescue diver, EMT, VMR, Hazmat operations and a level 2 instructor. In October of 2013 he became the Polk County Emergeny Mangement Director and Fire Marshall. Bobby lives in Columbus with his wife and 4 children.
Lieutenant Eric Champion joined in 2005 and became a Lieutenant in 2011. Eric is firefighter 1 & 2 certified, rescue diver, large vehicle extication and Hazmat opertation certified. Eric lives in Polk County with his wife. Eric's nickname is Gas Man.
Lieutenant Jason "JJ" Smith started as a Junior Firefighter and work hard at getting his Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications. Jason is also Haz-Mat operations certified. Jason lives in Polk County with his Wife. Jasons nickname is
Safety Officer Dylan Priester joined in 2011 and became a Safety Officer in 2014. Dylan graduated from the Cleveland County Fire Academy in 2013. He hold certifications in firefighter 1 & 2, EMT, RIT, Vehicle extrication and Hazmat operations. Dylan is also a part time firefighter for Landrum Fire Department and Polk County EMS.
Jim Dorsett, Safety Officer
John Stratman, Training Offiicer
Geoffey Tennant Retired Chief served as Chief for 25 years. Geoff has been in the fire service for over 45 years.
Engine 1 is a 2001 Spartan pumper capable of carrying 1000 gallons of water and has a 1500gpm pump.
Engine 5 is a 2005, four-wheel drive Pierce pumper, capable of carrying 500 gallons of water with a 1250gpm pump and CAFS system.
Engine 3 is a 1992 GMC pumper capable of carrying 1000 gallons of water and has a 1000gmp pump.
Tanker 2 is a 2011 pumper/Tanker capable of carrying 2500 gallons of water and has a 1500gpm pump.
Tanker 1 is a 1992 GMC Tanker capable of carrying 1250 gallons of water and has a 400gpm pump.
Service 1 is a service vehicle which carries our extrication equipment and extra equipment to support the fire engines. It also has a 250 gallon tank with a 18hp motor for small fires.
Brush 1 is a 4x4 Ford with a 250 gallon tank and a 18 hp pump used for brush and grass fires.
Truck 1 is a 2006 pick up truck which carries our message board for traffic control.
Battallion 1 is a 2004 Chief's Vehicle.
Ranger 1 is a 4x4 ATV which has a 55 gallon tank and a 12hp motor.
Air 1 is a mobile air trailer that is used to fill SCBA bottles in the field or at the station.