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Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company has long history of serving community

The Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company, which was founded nearly 125 years ago, now have seven pieces of apparatus, including a new ambulance, Medic Unit 395, which was dedicated in May.
The Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company, which was founded nearly 125 years ago, now have seven pieces of apparatus, including a new ambulance, Medic Unit 395, which was dedicated in May. (Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company)

The Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company (CVFC) has been the heart of the community, protecting folks in Cockeysville, Hunt Valley and Sparks for almost 125 years.

With a primary response area from Warren Road as a southern border to Belfast Road in the north and ranging from Phoenix Road to Falls Road from east to west, the CVFC covers 42.5 square miles and responds to more that 3,000 calls per year for fire, car accidents and medical emergencies.

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They are also so visible in our community — especially this year, as they led numerous graduation parades, special birthday celebrations and not only brought Santa Claus on his rounds but also brought the Easter Bunny to visit and has a special Christmas in July tour featuring both Santa and the Statue of Liberty!

The CVFC can trace its roots back to the Marble Hill Fire Department, which was formed in October 1896 by George Jessop Sr. and nine others. Back then, the particular area where the fire company began was at the crossroads of York and the Western Run turnpikes (now Shawan Road) and was known as Marble Hill.

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The village first appeared on maps in 1877 and by 1891 had almost 800 residents, thanks to the commerce of the local quarries, whiskey distilleries and local agriculture. The next closest fire station was over 7 miles away in Towson, so the new community had a need for a department of its own.

First housed in a carriage house at the corner of present-day York and Shawan roads, the fire company boasted 12 members and a 20-gallon tank mounted on wheels that was pulled by hand. As soon as 1898, they were able to upgrade to a horse-drawn carriage, which was much more suitable to the topography of Cockeysville.

In 1914, the company got its first auto engine, which was a 400 HP motor-driven firetruck, and in 1929 became the first in the state of Maryland to offer free ambulance service with the purchase of a Nash ambulance.

In 1917, it became incorporated as the Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company, and over the years, it moved up and down York Road, between Ashland and Shawan roads, as it outgrew spaces or as in 1927 when the station itself caught fire!

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It has been in its current location at York and Schilling roads since the mid-1990s and now has seven pieces of apparatus, including a new ambulance, Medic Unit 395, which was dedicated in May 2020.

The tradition and service of the CVFC remains strong today thanks to many dedicated volunteers. They recently elected their 2021 officers: Chief Kevin Roberts, Fire Capt. Brian Ball, 1st Fire Lt. Billy Walker, 2nd Fire Lt. Jim Kelly, 3rd Fire Lt. Frank Tiralla, 1st EMS Lt. Greg Primrose, engineer Kevin Banister and assistant engineer Craig Oxyer. Also elected to the board were Larry Gribble, president; Linda Scheide, vice president; Colleen Ball, secretary, and John Dixon, treasurer. The board of directors includes Kate Andersen, Chris Minick, Ivane Khmaladze and Gary Ball.

Several of the members recently have been recognized outside of their own company, with Chief Roberts being elected vice president of the Baltimore County Volunteer Firefighters Association (BCVFA) as well as receiving the BVFCA President’s Award and the Lee N. Sachs Executive Officer of the Year award.

Chris Minick and Billy Walker were both inducted into the BCVFA Hall of Fame, and Rosemary Crumrine was awarded the Kenneth B. Campbell Rookie of the Year Award and was nominated for the Past President C. Oscar Baker Rookie of the Year Award from the Maryland State Firemen’s Association. Thanks to all of the volunteers at the CVFC for keeping our community safe for almost 150 years!

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