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The history of volunteer fire companies in Carroll County

Carroll County's 14 volunteer fire companies serve as hubs of the communities in which they serve.

Gamber & Community Fire Company history

Like many of Carroll’s fire companies, it was a large fire that occurred in the community that prompted the residents of Gamber to gather and decide to organize a fire company.

Hampstead Volunteer Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1 history

In Hampstead, the tradition of a fire company carnival actually predates the company itself. In April 1899, a meeting of town citizens was called for the purpose of organizing a carnival both to promote the history of the town and to raise funds that could be devoted to some public purpose.

Harney Volunteer Fire Company history

It was March 1951 when 65 members organized the Harney volunteer fire company. The company’s first projects included purchasing and distributing fire extinguishers within the community and building a reservoir with approximately 350,000 gallons of water, according to a history on Harney’s website.

Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department history

Lineboro citizens were called to action in 1915, after a group gathered at a schoolhouse to talk about fire protection. The Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department was one of the five departments in Carroll that formed the Carroll County Volunteer Firemen’s Association in 1923.

Manchester Volunteer Fire Company history

A group of private citizens and businessmen organized in 1885 to form the Manchester Fire Engine and Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, and in March 1893, the company was officially incorporated by the state of Maryland.

Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company history

Three devastating fires at the start of the 20th century prompted the Mount Airy community to form its own fire company. In late 1925, after a third fire in the course of 22 years destroyed the town, a meeting was called to discuss fire protection for Mount Airy.

New Windsor Fire and Hose Company No. 1 history

There is no known record of the exact fire that prompted a group of New Windsor residents to come together in 1908 and organize a volunteer fire company.

Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company history

The Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company began when a small group of citizens met in 1931. The group believed existing fire companies such as Westminster’s were too far away to properly protect their community, taking as much as 20 minutes to respond to a fire call.

Reese and Community Volunteer Fire Company history

In 1947, nine men gathered at Caple’s garage in Reese to discuss starting a fire company. Holloday Blizzard, a charter member, told the Carroll County Times in 2003 that a local boy wanted to build a fire engine, which motivated some older men to get the ball rolling.

Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department history

A fire at the Hugg Mansion, a 100-year-old landmark on the Howard County side of the Patapsco River a short distance from the Town of Sykesville, was destroyed by a fire in July 1933. By the time the closest fire company from Ellicott City reached the scene, the home was beyond saving.

Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company No. 1

An ordinance was enacted in 1835 in the city of Taneytown to organize citizens into fire companies. It commanded that “all white male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 shall be organized into one or more fire companies."

Union Bridge Volunteer Fire Company history

A fire in 1868 that destroyed the Western Maryland Railroad shops remains one of the worst in the history of Union Bridge, and the one that sparked the creation of the town’s fire department.

Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1  history

The Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1 began roughly 195 years ago in 1823, when members erected a plain board firehouse with two large doors, no windows and a shingle roof on Church Street. The engine house moved in 1834 to Main Street, where it doubled as a jail.

Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department history

Residents of the Winfield community in 1964 had tired of relying on fire companies more than 10 miles away in Sykesville, Mount Airy, New Windsor and Libertytown, so several residents — most of whom were farmers — called a meeting at Winfield Elementary School on Salem Bottom Road.

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