Our History

HISTORY

The Squad was organized in 1974, following a series of devastating tornadoes that swept across the southern and central portions of the United States on April 10 of that year.  Portions of Madison County suffered severe damage during this event, which was the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded.  As the storms passed and rescue efforts began, it became obvious that no local agency was specifically trained, equipped, and tasked with providing rescue services.  Fire departments, EMS personnel, peace officers, and numerous ad hoc volunteers from the community responded to the
incident but the lack of dedicated rescue resources was felt.  With a few months, a small cadre of volunteer firefighters and concerned citizens organized the Madison County Rescue Squad.  The squad began operating in late 1974, but it lacked formal legal status as a corporation.

The Squad's official birthday is July 25, 1975 - the date when our corporate charter was received.  Although Squad members had already been responding to emergency calls for at least nine months with the blessing of county officials, the charter gave the new organization legal identity, including the ability to own property.  The Squad's very first purchase was a set of hand tools in a roll-up carrying case.  The first rescue vehicle was a van-style ambulance donated by the Madison County Ambulance Service (now the Madison County Emergency Medical Service).  While the Squad's may have initially operated on a shoestring, things improved quickly.  Within a few years, the Squad was operating one of the first sets of Hurst hydraulic rescue tools in the region.

The Squad did not have a station until the late 1980s.  Instead, business meetings were held in the back room of a local restaurant while the organization's vehicles and equipment were stored at the Independent Service Garage, a business operated by Charles "Charlie" Stiles.  Capt. Stiles was a former volunteer firefighter, a peace officer, and a skilled auto mechanic who became one of the Squad's charter members.  He eventually became the Squad's equipment officer and, later, its longest-serving captain and chief executive officer.  During the first fifteen years of the Squad's history, his garage
served as the de facto rescue station.  This period saw the Squad move from the use of a former ambulance to to two rescue trucks.  Both aluminum and inflatable boats were also added to the fleet during this period.

In the late 1980s, the City of Richmond offered the Squad the use of a building located at ___ West Irvine Street.  That building, with two vehicle bays in front and meeting and storage areas in the rear, served as the Squad station until the Madison County Emergency Operations Center was built in ____.  In ____, the Squad moved to the lower level of the EOC and operated from that location until 2014.  The Squad's original inflatable boats eventually became unservicable; without funding to replace them, the Squad stopped offering swift water rescue services in 1993.

In 2014, changes in the county's plan for the EOC facility led to the Squad being moved to a rented building on South Estill Avenue in Richmond.  We are currently operating from this location while we plan and raise funds for a new station.  In recent years the Squad has added new vehicles - a newly purchased rescue truck (Rescue 1) in ____, a donated van (Rescue 7) in ____, and a second, previously owned rescue truck (Rescue 3) in 2018.  These vehicles, along with replacements and upgrades to our rescue tools and equipment, enable the Squad to respond to two simultaneous emergency incidents.