Kannapolis honors fire chief, assistant

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Mark Wineka

Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — The city of Kannapolis will hold a retirement reception Monday for Fire Chief Larry Phillips and Assistant Fire Chief Danny Scott.

Phillips and Scott are the only people to serve in their respective roles in the city’s history, and Phillips was the city’s first full-time employee.

The reception will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Village Park Building, 700 W. C St.

Each of the men will be presented his fire helmet.

The career paths of Phillips and Scott have been intertwined through the years.

They first worked together at The Daily Independent, the former daily newspaper in Kannapolis. At age 17, Phillips was the manager of 12-year-old paper boy Scott.

In 1969, Phillips became a volunteer firefighter with the Kannapolis Sanitary District — a quasi-governmental body that oversaw water, sewer and fire-fighting before the incorporation of Kannapolis.

Scott became a volunteer with the same district in 1972.

Phillips joined the Concord Fire Department in 1973.

Scott joined the Concord Fire Department in 1975.

The City of Kannapolis incorporated in 1984, and residents voted in 1987 to consolidate two sanitary districts to form the Kannapolis Fire Department.

The three fire departments involved were the Kannapolis Sanitary District, Kannapolis Village and Royal Oaks.

The Kannapolis Village District served Cannon Mills, and the Royal Oaks Sanitary District covered an area of about a square mile inside the current city limits. The Kannapolis Sanitary District covered roughly two-thirds of the city.

The city of Kannapolis hired Phillips as the first fire chief in 1987.

Scott became the second full-time employee with the department in 1989.

In 1991, the department hired its third full-time employee, a fire inspector.

The Fire Department relied mostly on volunteers until 1997, when it hired its first career fire staff by adding 12 engineers.

Now the department has 57 full-time staff, 40 volunteers and 16 part-time personnel.

Phillips said he was proud that his department had a low per-capita expense rate of $87, when compared to cities such as Burlington, $119; Concord, $188; and Hickory, $189.

Scott said he was proud of “where we’ve come from as a department and what we’ve been able to accomplish with the help of all of our personnel with limited resources.”