South Carolina State Association of Fire Chiefs

SC FIRE SERVICE Leadership Spotlight: Justin McLellan (City of Lancaster Fire Department)


Fire Chief

Fire Department

City of Lancaster Fire Department



Department Type


Fire Service Experience

I’ve been in the fire service for just over twenty years. Starting as a volunteer firefighter in Darlington County serving with the Palmetto Rural Fire Dept. and Darlington County Fire District. In 2004 I was hired by Palmetto Rural as a career firefighter and worked with them for just under a year before being hired with the City of Lancaster Fire Dept. in 2005. I continue to serve not only with the City of Lancaster Fire Department, but also volunteer with Shiloh Zion Volunteer Fire Department.

What originally drew you to the fire service?

As a teenager I had to pleasure to attend a Fire Cadet camp held in Aiken each year summer at a local 4H Camp which introduced me to the Fire Service. I also attended a weekend camp put on by the Newberry Fire Dept. that expanded my desire to serve. At the age of eighteen I began serving as a volunteer in order to give back to the community that I grew up in, and have been involved ever since then.

What drives you to continue in the fire/emergency services?

I enjoy what I do. Being in the fire service allows me to serve the city and county that I live in. Knowing that each day I go to work, or respond on a call that it will different in some way than the last one is exciting.

As you progressed through the ranks, what hurdles/challenges have you faced?

The good lord has blessed me in many ways throughout my career, one which was by becoming the Chief of our department at a younger age. By being a younger Chief I felt like I needed to work harder to prove to my department that I was capable of doing the job and to earn their respect.

If you could give any advice to young/new officers, what would you tell them?

Work hard each day and take all of the training that you can. The fire service is forever changing and we have to stay up to-date on the trends of the job. Ensure that you are always a student of your craft!

What are some personal highlights of your career?

Marrying my wife Kylie and being the father to my children Riley, Haley, Addaley and Easton is number one for sure. Graduating from Winthrop University, being named Chief of the City of Lancaster Fire Dept in June of 2016 and selected by the members of our department as the Officer of the Year in 2017. I’m also extremely proud to currently be going through the chairs of the SC State Association of Fire Chiefs executive committee and serving as the 2nd Vice President this year.

Are there any department spotlights you would like to share? 

Our department is a progressive department that prides itself in staying up to-date in training and in the service that it provides the citizens of the City of Lancaster. We are extremely proud of our Class 1 ISO rating.

Fire Department Spotlight: Darlington City Fire Rescue


Department Name 

Darlington City Fire Rescue


Department County 



Year Established



Department Type 



Demographics and Population Served 



What type of services are offered by the department? 

Fire Response

BLS Response


Water Rescue/Swift Water/Dive

Confined Space


Fire Chief 

Pat Cavanaugh


Number of Officers 



Number of Firefighters 



Number of Stations 



Average Annual Call Volume 



Is there anything unique about the department?