KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Your fire first responders are ringing in 75 years of safety and service.

This year marks over seven decades of fire protection and service affordability all over the country. Rural Metro has been a vital emergent service if and when tragedy strikes. The operate as a private fire protection aid and aim to protect you and your wallet in case of an emergency.

In 1948, the fire department was founded by a reporter in Arizona. At the age of 22, Lou Witzeman had been working as a journalist for the Arizona Times. After witnessing a fire that burnt his neighbors home down, Rural Metro was born.

The fire department never showed up due to insurance purposes and city jurisdictions. Witzeman knew it did not have to be like this and created a private membership fire service, in case of anything similar to ever happen again.

In 2023, Rural Metro encompasses fire safety services in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

They look forward to the next 75 years with eager, anticipation, determination, and promise.

Rural/Metro Fire provides emergency medical and fire-protection services for approximately 80% of Knox County. Because they are not supported by taxes, home and business owners can establish a membership. If and when a fire emergency strikes, you can ensure you are financially covered, without having to deal with payment hassles.

For more information on memberships and the history of Rural Metro Fire Department, visit their website.