75 Years of Service, Rural Metro Fire Celebrates Major Milestone


The fire service was founded in 1948 by Lou Witzeman, after he watched a neighbor’s home in Scottsdale, Arizona burn down with no response from the local fire department.
Rural Metro Fire, an industry-leader in fire protection services including specialized fire protection for airports and refineries, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Rural Metro Fire is honored to celebrate this milestone alongside its dedicated teams of first responders and the communities it serves.

“The spirit of service and protection that fueled Rural Metro’s founding remains an integral part of our organization today,” said Mike Ragone, chief of fire & federal services for Rural Metro Fire parent company Global Medical Response. “We are proud of the impact Rural Metro Fire has had on communities around the nation in the past 75-years and we look forward to continuing that legacy of service.”

In 1948, Lou Witzeman founded Rural Metro Fire in Scottsdale, Arizona. Working as a journalist for the Arizona Times, Witzeman created the privatized fire service after watching a neighbor’s home burn down with no response from the local fire department due to jurisdiction and insurance coverage. Rural Metro Fire later revolutionized the fire service industry by being the first service to operate in multiple communities and pioneering contracted work with municipalities.

Today, the Rural Metro Fire community division provides services throughout communities in Arizona, Oregon and Tennessee. Our industrial fire division provides service in nine states and our aircraft rescue division operates in six states. Our wildland fire protection division operates in seven western states. Rural Metro Fire employs more than 1,400 people and answers 80,000 calls for fire prevention and suppression, medical emergencies, rescue and medical aid and home safety checks each year.

In addition to hosting local anniversary celebrations throughout the year in each community it serves, Rural Metro Fire recently unveiled its commemorative 75th anniversary logo. The fire service leader also wants to highlight positive community stories throughout 2023. If you or someone you know have a positive story to share about Rural Metro Fire, please email RuralMetroFire@gmr.net.
75 Years of Service, Rural Metro Fire Celebrates Major Milestone