The initial organization of Bethany Salem Fire Department began in the spring of 1990. Frank Riddick, TJ Prather, and Ronnie Brownell, all veteran firemen met with Commissioner Bill Quinton to discuss a new station for the Salem and Bethany Church areas.
The initial Board of Directors was Frank Riddick, Jim Smith, Norval Vollrath, Tim Prather, Mable Brown, and Barbara Byrd. Under the direction of these board members, construction began on the Bethany Station on November 2, 1990. We received our compliance with the State of Georgia on November 29, 1990. Frank served as Fire Chief and President of the Board of Directors until his retirement in 1999. Tim Prather was appointed Fire Chief until January 2011. In January 2011, Al Godin was appointed Fire Chief and served until his retirement in June of 2014. Kristy Easterwood who began as a Junior Firefighter with the department is currently serving as Chief.
Often overlooked, but equally important are donations of equipment, real property, materials, and other out-of-pocket contributions. Members, and others, have given countless hours of their time and professional skills in property maintenance, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, mechanical and other services.
Many hours, days, and weeks have been given to fundraising since the opening in 1990. Every year from 1990 – 1998 two or more flea markets were held, beauty pageants were hosted, and currently, we rely on a letter sent to our communities annually.
Land for the original Bethany Station location came from Inland Rome; land for the Salem Station came from Ms. Shirley Chambers and Century 21. Construction on the Salem station began in May of 1995 and was completed and placed in operation on August 15, 1996.
Bethany Salem began with a used 1967 American LaFrance Fire Engine and an old fuel truck, bought for $1 from John Garrett out of Marietta that was converted to a tanker truck, a handful of members, and one station. Today, Bethany Salem operates 4 engines a 1999 International, a 2004 Mack, a 1989 GMC C6500, and a 1977 Hahns; we currently have over 25 members on the roster and 2 stations.
Current Fire Chief, Kristy Easterwood