It was sometime in the late 1940’s on a Sunday morning. Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Beck of the Welcome community had started to church when he noticed a home on fire on Highway 52. Jake retrieved his fire extinguisher and rushed over with others to try to extinguish the fire. Some of the men had placed a ladder up to the attic window and Jake climbed up and extinguished the fire.
Later on, another home and warehouse burned to the ground. Nothing could be done to save them because the fire had too great a start. This put the mind of Jake Beck to work. Why do people have to stand and watch another man’s home burn with out being able to help them? Why couldn’t Welcome have a Fire Department?
Jake Beck ran a machine shop in Welcome, and one day, saw mill operator Mr. Henry Williams, came into the shop and started talking with Jake about a old fire truck for sale from the Cannon Towel Company, in Kannapolis, North Carolina. At this time Mr. Beck wanted to talk to several businessmen in the community to ask what their views were on purchasing the fire truck. He was given the ok to go and look at the truck and the next day it was driven into his shop.
On January 12, 1950, the people of the Welcome community met at Welcome School. Chief Norman Owens of the Lexington City Fire Department was guest speaker. Chief Owens spoke on the realization of having a Fire Department in Welcome, and what an asset it would be to have a department. The community voted to purchase the fire truck from Jake Beck for $400.00, a 1916 chain driven American La France Fire Truck.
The same night an election of officers was held. J.C. Beck was elected Chief of the newly formed Welcome Fire Department; Shaw Essick Assistant Chief; Charlie Nolan Captain; and Groce Hayes, Secretary and Treasure; Dr.V.C. Lanier Chairmen of the Board; and Committeemen; Nobe Walser and Marshall Koonts.
January 12th, 1950 was the beginning of the First Rural Volunteer Fire Department in Davidson County. During the summer of 1950, a lot on North Leonard road, one block off Highway 52 North was bought for $800.00. The community was canvassed for money, materials, and labor to build the Fire Station. The new station was completed on December 4th 1950 and the first meeting was held there.
During the year of 1950, Welcome Fire Department answered eleven (11) fire calls located from Welcome to Reeds to Thomasville to Midway.
On May 8th, 1952, the Board of Directors, Trustees, and Officers of the Fire Department met and decided to charge Membership Fees and Annual Dues to those desiring fire protection from the Welcome Fire Department.
- Each home – $5.00 membership fee and $1.50 Annual Dues.
- Each Business – $10.00 membership fee and $3.00 Annual Dues.
- A charge of $25.00 for each call made to non-members.
At the September 23, 1952 meeting, Chief J.C. Beck was given permission to change all equipment from the old fire truck to a 1947 Ford purchased from Gordon Motor Company.
At the Annual Meeting held January 14, 1955, a motion was made to adopt the Charter given to the Welcome Fire department, Inc. by the North Carolina Secretary of State. This charter entitled all persons who were presently paying dues, as members of the Welcome Fire Department and extended to them the privilege of exercising their voting right in the forth-coming annual meeting.
On January 31, 1956 a new 1956 F-600 Ford custom cab truck was delivered to the shop of J.C.Beck for the purpose of a new Triple Combination Pumper –Tanker truck for Welcome Fire Department.
In 1963, a 1963 Ford F-700 custom Cab chassis, was purchased and the job of building the truck came to Chief J.C. Beck. The J.C. Beck Machine shop turned out a 1,000-gallon capacity tanker equipped with a 350-gallon minute Berkley pump. The truck was also equipped with a 24-foot extension ladder, 14-foot roof ladder, axes, booster line, as well as a pre-connect hose compartment at the rear of the truck.
Then in February of 1965, a petition was presented to the Board of County Commissioners for approval. The petition requested the levying and collecting a special tax on taxable property in the Welcome Fire District. The tax could not exceed 10 cent on the one hundred dollars ($100) valuation of property. The tax collected was to be used for the purpose of providing fire protection for the Welcome Fire District.
In may 1967, a special election was held and the tax rate was set at 8 cent on the one hundred dollars ($100) valuation. Boundaries were laid of for the Welcome Fire District on the Davidson County Maps. In December of 1967 the first check of revenue was received from the Welcome Fire Tax.
In the mean time: in 1966 a used four-wheel drive Ford F-100 was purchased. The truck was equipped with gear a driven pump and a water tank capacity of 250 gallons. The truck was equipped with two fog nozzles mounted on the front bumper of the truck. The driver of the truck controlled from these nozzles inside the cab. This was one of the first pieces of firefighting equipment of this type in Davidson County.
In June 1970, J.C. Beck and son Clifton, completed a 1969 C-800 Tilt cab Ford with a Darley champion 750 gallon a minute pump. It included a Leece Neville 105, 1200 watt alternator-generator combination to provide 110 volt power for the operation of power tools, a smoke ejector, a 35 foot extension ladder, 14 foot roof ladder, 10 foot attic ladder, 14 and 6 foot pike pole 3 fire extinguishers, and two 1” Booster lines reels with electric rewinds, 600 feet 2 ½ canvass hose in a hose bed, and 200 feet of 1 ½” hose pre-connected in the hose bed on top of the truck. It was also equipped with red lights and a Federal Siren.
In 1971, The North Davidson water System was run and hydrants were installed in the heaviest populated areas.
Chief J.C. Beck retired in 1974. He served as Chief for 24 years.
In 1976 several fireman took the Emergency Medical Technician program and developed the Welcome Fire Department Life Support Squad. Three wrecked vans were modified into the first squad truck. The first captain of the squad was Regg Lyle.
From 1979-1981 a new fire station was built on the existing lot, which consist of seven bays.
In July 1997, the hiring of our first part time firefighters that work various shifts in a week was introduced. This has benefited the department and especially the community. It has cut our response times in half.
Welcome Fire Department celebrated it’s 50th anniversary in September of 2000 with a community day and open house.