Gregory R. Sharpe, Fire Chief of Waxhaw, has been a firefighter for 21 years and was promoted to Chief on April 1, 2016. He was inspired to become a firefighter after a Kindergarten class field trip to a fire station. After being a Battalion Chief in Charlotte for 7 years supervising 6 stations and 8 companies, he transferred to Waxhaw to take over their two stations. It has been a rewarding and exciting change as Chief Sharpe has had to build new relationships within the community. He loves meeting everyone and moving the fire service forward in Union County, and as challenging as it is, it has renewed his passion for the fire service community. He looks forward to the future by helping to support all the current and coming residents.
Waxhaw currently has about 60 paid and volunteer fire fighters and staff members across two stations. Station 18, the main station in Waxhaw has two engine companies, a 3000 gallon tanker, a medium rescue vehicle, a brush truck, an ATV, and an EMS quick response vehicle. Station 27 is located by Jaars and consists of an engine company and a smaller tanker. The majority of calls include fires, motor vehicle collisions, emergency medical calls, hazardous materials releases, and technical rescues. Chief Sharpe reminds us, “We are human and have seen the worst of society. We are always looking to help people and we get upset when we see people putting themselves at a greater risk of harm, which may cause us to come clean up or rescue them.”
Looking to the future, Chief Sharpe says he envisions the Waxhaw area needing a total of five stations within the next 10 years. This will include the current downtown station, replacing the station by Jaars with two stations south of the tracks, and additional stations to the North and West of town. Chief Sharpe has been working on securing federal and other grants since these improvements are too big to be done by fundraising. He is looking for other sources of capital and planning properly so that they don’t impact the local tax rate.
The Waxhaw Fire Department also works directly with the community quite often. They are involved with Officer Vic Montalvo, of the Waxhaw Police Community Service department, and visit the local schools for fire prevention talks. The Fire Department is also currently working to purchase a Sparky outfit, a Dalmatian costume used for schools and community events. They also have a community wide smoke detector canvas event coming up in mid-September, where they will travel into the community to check smoke detectors and CO2 alarms and install them if the residence doesn’t have any. On Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 at 1900 hours, the department will be holding an awards ceremony to recognize Firefighter and EMT of the Year, Lifesaver Awards, and recognize members who have gone beyond the call of duty.