Chiefs of the Department

Since its “official” organization in 1922, the Tryon Fire Department has been directed by 29 different fire chiefs.  From 1922 until 1988 the department held elections, typically every 2 years to determine a new chief.  Until 1979 the department had a tradition of promoting the assistant fire chief and other officers (captain, lieutenant) up one step.  This practice changed in 1979 when Clarence Scoggins was selected to serve as the Chief of the Department for the second time. Chief Scoggins would lead the department until his retirement in 1988.  His eleven years as Chief are the most of any person – paid or volunteer.  Chief Scoggins would also serve as the first Fire Marshal for Polk County. The Tryon Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year is now known as the Clarence Scoggins Fire Fighter of the Year Award. Both Scoggins and his wife would pay for the prestigious award themselves each year until both passed away.

The department has also had family combinations as chief.  A father/son combination,  Robert Carroll Scoggins, Sr. was elected Chief in 1971 and served until 1973.  His son, Robert C. Scoggins, Jr. (Bob) would take the reigns some 30 years later and lead the department from 2003 until 2005.  James “Jim” Cowan was elected chief in 1969 and was followed fifty years later by his grandson, James “Tank” Waters who was hired in 2019.

In 1972 Jimmy Lankford joined the Tryon Fire Department as a volunteer and worked his way up to Assistant Chief.  In 1988 the Town of Tryon opted to move the Chief position to a paid position and named Lankford as the first paid chief.  Lankford would serve until his retirement in 2003.  At that time the Town and department opted to return to a volunteer position and Bob Scoggins, who had served as Assistant Fire Chief was elected to the position his father had taken in 1971.

In 2005 the Town of Tryon decided to make the position of Fire Chief a paid position because of population growth, a significant increase in the number of emergency calls of all types and the need to prepare additional reports that were mandated by the state.

Dates of Service                                                                       
1922-1928     Mr. Hill
1928-1932     W.A. Wilson
1933                   B.B. Bishop
1933-1935     W.W. Creasman
1935-1940     Jim Fisher
1940-1942     J.S. Arledge
1943-1947     Homer Arledge
1947-1952     Eb Bishop
1952-1954     Birch Arledge
1954-1956     W.M. Ballew
1956-1958     Wofford Foster
1958-1961     Jack Ford
1961-1963     Sam McClure
1963-1965     Robert Dedmont
1965-1967      Clarence Scoggins
1967-1969      Melvin Phillips
1969-1971      James Cowan
1971-1973      Robert C. Scoggins, Sr. (Carroll)
1973-1975      Robert Earl Arledge
1975-1977      Willie “Roy” Williams
1977-1979      Frank Flynn
1979-1988      Clarence Scoggins

1988-2003                                          Jimmy Lankford
2003-2005                                         Robert C. Scoggins, Jr. (Bob)
Sept. 27,2005-2006                      Michael Coggins
October 2006-April 27,2007                Chris Burleson
April 27,2007 – January 27,2017        Joey Davis
January 27, 2017 – July 19,2019       Geoffrey M. Tennant
July 26, 2019 – April 7, 2020               James R. “Tank” Waters
July 1, 2020 – Present                             Joshua Walton