Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department

SCVFD Turns 40

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Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department turns 40

Clifford Peters battles a brush fire in 1981. Peters served as Stoney Creek's first fire chief for more than three decades. He continues to serve the fire department, which is celebrating 40 years in operation this year. Jason Shaw is the current chief.
Photo Contributed

By Robert Sorrell - Elizabethton Star Staff - 2/7/2011 - rsorrell@starhq.com

 

For nearly 40 years, Clifford Peters has served the Stoney Creek community as an active firefighter, with a majority of that time as chief. This year, the Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department is celebrating 40 years in operation and Peters says the department is "sound."

The department originally developed to fill a need, one created as a the result of a devastating church fire.

Carter County's second oldest church, Stoney Creek Baptist Church, was destroyed by fire on Thanksgiving Eve of 1970. Due to the property's distance from the nearest fire hall, in Elizabethton, the frame building was devastated. At the time, Stoney Creek did not have a fire department, only Elizabethton and Hampton had active departments.

 Local residents Estel Hyder and "Uncle" Tom Peters met with local residents at the church site and discussed the possibility of starting up a fire department for the community. "We needed to get a fire department in Stoney Creek," said Clifford Peters, who later became the department's first fire chief. "There was quite a bit involved to get it off the ground."

 Tom Peters donated a 50 by 70 foot property at the head of Peters Hollow in the Carter community. Hyder donated a small piece of property adjacent to Peters' property.

 During the following January, the new organization held a ham supper to raise money. "We would do anything to raise a dollar," Clifford Peters said.

 The group sold 1,200 ham suppers for $1 each. The supper was a success, but Peters and others had to deliver the suppers during a storm that dumped 13 inches of snow. The group also held garage sales and other benefits.

 Once enough money was raised, the department traveled to Murfreesboro to purchase a 1953 Ford for $500. The truck did not have a top and Peters remembers driving back to Stoney Creek in the rain. Clarence Eades of the Johnson City Fire Department provided the new department with training.

 "I'll never forget the first call we went on. The firemen parked the truck in my yard," Peters said. The first call was at the residence of Minnie LaPorte, where lightning struck a transformer that connected to the doorbell.

 "I was going down the road and didn't know a thing," Peters said. "I said, 'Lord what am I going to do?' By the time I got there, they had it out."

 Peters added, "We go wherever we are needed." Over the years, the department has done everything from providing water for local cattle to pulling cats out of trees.

 Stoney Creek also provides mutual aid to other departments. Peters explained that if there is a fire in Hampton, Stoney Creek and Watauga would also respond and if there is a fire in Stoney Creek, Hampton and Watauga would assist. At any given time, there are about 35 people working for the department.

 Peters stepped down as chief in 2001 and Jason Shaw was named chief. Peters continues to assist the department. "I really enjoyed it up until I couldn't do it anymore," Peters said.

Chief Shaw says that the department responded to 189 calls in 2010. The department currently has three engines (pumpers), three tankers, two brush trucks, including one purchased last year, and a first responder truck. Packy Fair is the department's treasurer.

The department's second station was completed in 1982 at the corner of Willow Springs Road and Blue Springs Road in the Hunter community. Both stations have four bays and have been remodeled.

"The people of Stoney Creek really support the fire department," Peters said.

Shaw said the department regularly looks for opportunities to grow and better serve the community. The department has also considered developing a third station in the Buladeen section of Stoney Creek.