Belton Fire Department History
The Belton Fire Department was organized in 1913. At the time of its organization, it consisted of all volunteer personnel. The first fire apparatus was a hand-drawn chemical engine, which was purchased for approximately $300.
The first fire chief was appointed in 1920. Chief H.K. Denkler was appointed as the first paid fire chief in 1971 and retired in 1998. John T. Sapp has been fire chief since 2019.
The staff has grown from as few as four volunteers to our current staffing of 42 uniformed personnel and one civilian secretary. Our command staff consists of personnel with more than 140 years of emergency services experience.
The Belton Fire Department staff members are assigned to three shifts. The crews work 24-hour periods beginning at 8:00 am and ending at 8:00 am the following day. The shift rotates between 24 hours on and 24 hours off, until the crew has worked three tours. Then personnel receive four days off. This arrangement allows for maximum staffing and is utilized by most area fire departments.
Each shift is supervised by an Assistant Chief/Shift Commander, who oversees all shift activities and determines performance goals. Each station assigned a Station Captain who directly supervises personnel and assists them in the completion of their assigned duties and reports directly to the Assistant Chief/Shift Commander.
In addition to general shift duties and emergency calls, personnel also participate in:
- Fire Safety Inspections
- Building and grounds maintenance
- Fire hose and hydrant testing
- Pre-fire planning
- Pump testing
- Public Fire Education
- Vehicle / equipment maintenance