Recruits in Training, New Station Under Construction in Matthews, NC

July 10, 2024
Half of the class has no fire service background, Matthews Fire Chief Rob Kinniburgh said.

Excitement and anticipation were evident in Matthews fire station as new recruits walked in to check things out. 

“The second you walked in the door, everyone’s super excited to be here,” said Kyle Kovach.

Camryn Hutchinson was quick to add: “Yesterday I was staring at this room like, Am I really [here]? I couldn’t believe it. I was like, I’m really like, in here. This is it.”

The two are part of a dozen who beat out 150 candidates from around the country to become Matthews firefighters. Training has started and gear has been handed out.  

“Half of our class has no fire service background. They come from other walks of life, educators, high school students, college students. We’re growing our own firefighters here in Matthews," Fire Chief Rob Kinniburgh told Queen City News. 

He said the department has been struggling for years to keep up with the demands of the growing community as the cadre of volunteers in the combination operation is dwindling.

“We were running about 2,800 calls ten years ago. We are about 4,000 now, still out of two fire stations.”

After years of planning, construction for another fire station is officially underway. The $9 million price tag for the 12,000-square-foot building will be covered mostly by COVID funds.

It is slated to be completed in early 2025, about the same time the recruits will be finishing EMT and firefighting training.

Kovach said he's looking forward to his new career. 

“We have a lot of committed individuals. Everyone you’re talking to here really wants to spend a career in Matthews. That’s kind of why we all chose here.”


About the Author

Susan Nicol | News Editor

Susan Nicol is the news editor for She is a life member and active with the Brunswick Volunteer Ambulance & Rescue Company, Oxford Fire Company and Brunswick Vol. Fire Co. Susie has been an EMT in Maryland since 1976. Susie is vice-president of the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum. She is on the executive committee of Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. She also is part of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) Region II EMS Council. Susie is a board member of the American Trauma Society, Maryland Division. Prior to joining the Firehouse team, she was a staff writer for The Frederick News-Post, covering fire, law enforcement, court and legislative issues.