Division History

Founded in 1610, Hampton is the oldest continuously settled English speaking community in the United States. In 1861, during the Civil War, the city was burned by its own troops rather than surrender to Federalist troops. Prior to the fire, Hampton had 30 businesses and more than 100 homes. Fewer than six buildings remained intact after the fire.

In 1884, fire again besieged Hampton and almost completely destroyed the downtown business district. That devastating fire resulted in the formation of the Hampton Volunteer Fire Company.

Today, Hampton is a thriving community of more than 135,000 people protected by 11 fire stations covering more than 50 square miles. Major industries are seafood processing, the military, NASA, and tourism.

This list shows the birth of each of the department’s fire companies and stations:

Downtown Hampton Station: 1884 Vol. Fire Company

Phoebus Station: 1893 Volunteer Fire Company & Rescue Squad*

Wythe Station: 1909 Volunteer Fire Company & Rescue Squad*

Fox Hill Station: 1922 Volunteer Fire Company

Buckroe Station: 1951 Volunteer Fire Company & Rescue Squad*

Northampton Station: 1954 Volunteer Fire Company & Rescue Squad*

Willow Oaks Station: 1968

NASA Langley Research Center Station: Mid-1960s

Briarfield Station: 1975

Coliseum Central Station: 1986

Big Bethel Station: 2012

The first ambulance service was established in 1939 by Wythe Rescue Squad, an all-volunteer operation in what was then Elizabeth City County. In 1971 the Commonwealth of Virginia held its first EMT-B training program in Hampton at the old Hampton General Hospital. Three hundred students from 35 different agencies from across the Commonwealth participated in the training. A Pilot Paramedic Program for the City of Hampton was approved by City Council in 1977.

Today, Hampton Fire & Rescue is a thriving combination department with more than 270 full-time personnel supplemented by a contingent of volunteers. Each of the Division’s 11 fire stations are staffed 24 hours a day and have Advanced Life Support equipment.

Six of the 11 stations have volunteer fire companies and 4 have volunteer rescue squads.

On February 6, 2013, the Division received EMT-Intermediate Accreditation from the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Service. This certification is significant because it allows the Division to train its own members and save on tuition costs and travel time associated with training at other locations. Hampton is one of only seven fire and rescue agencies in Virginia to be accredited. The Division is also pursuing accreditation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

In an effort to improve customer service and reduce costs, Hampton Fire & Rescue is exploring shared services with the Newport News Fire Department. The chiefs have identified three areas for significant shared services:
  • Consolidated purchasing and logistics
  • Automatic mutual aid (providing more rapid response across city boundaries)
  • Conducting a single hiring process that will provide both cities with a single list of candidates seeking fire department employment. Our first consolidated hiring process began in August of 2012 with approximately 600 applicants.
The Division is committed to meeting the service needs of Hampton's citizens, and we are working to make Hampton the most livable city in Virginia.

*date denotes only the start of the fire company