By Leah Schmalz
Decades ago, firefighters were primarily volunteers responsible for responding to fires and putting them out if they could. Now there is a much greater chance of seeing a fire truck at a motor vehicle accident or EMS call.
Mint Hill’s Fire Department has had to change in other significant ways as well. The station used to be fully staffed by volunteers, but now there are 30 paid employees to cover a steady influx of calls and support the 60 to 65 volunteers that comprise the department.
“As the town grows, we’ll grow with it,” said Deputy Chief and Training Officer John Phillips.
Phillips joined as a junior firefighter in 1974 at the age of 16. On July 7, he celebrated 41 years with the department. Just a few days prior, he began his new position as Deputy Chief. With over four decades at the station, Phillips has seen the department evolve drastically. “We’re really not the sleepy little bedroom town that we were in the 60s and 70s,” he said. […]