The Early Days
On October 27, 1954 a public meeting was called by the Lions Club to explore the possibility of starting a fire company in Kingsville. This meeting was held at the Kingsville School and had an attendance of 60 people. Following this meeting, a group of 18 men held another meeting at the home of Raymond Maynard where temporary officers were elected, including Harry Probert as president. Several committees were established such as by-laws, equipment, finance, publicity, training and ways and means.
A door-to-door canvass was conducted in the area to solicit donations and as a result of our first annual fund drive, $3,500 was collected.
In February 1955 the Ladies Auxiliary was organized and has rendered invaluable support to the company ever since.
A location and housing committee began to function in March, 1955. Prior to obtaining our present firehouse, most of the business meetings were held at the Kingsville School or St. John’s Parish Hall, with an occasional meeting held at Raymond Maynard’s home.
On April 21, 1955 we placed an order for our first truck. The contract was awarded to American Fire Apparatus of Battle Creek, Michigan. It was a 1955 Dodge with a 500-GPM front mounted pump and a 500-gallon tank at a cost of $18,000.
August 17, 1955 the basic fire fighting class was started with 35 men enrolled. Also in August 1955, our truck was delivered and when placed in service, became engine 481. For a short while the truck was kept in an open field on Cedar Lane next to Herbert Seidel’s house. It was later kept in Frank Goettner’s garage on Goettner Avenue.
Our First Firehouse
After a search for a suitable site, it was decided to purchase our present plot of land in 1956. It was hoped that the barn on the property could be converted into a firehouse.
In 1956 the company and its equipment was approved by the Fire Underwriters Rating Bureau, and on June 15, 1956 was accepted into the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen’s Association. The company was voted into membership of Maryland State Firemen’s Association February 12, 1957.
After due consideration, it was decided to tear down the existing barn on our land and construct a new building. Construction was started on our first fire station and cost $70,000 in September 1957. The building was completed one year later and the equipment was moved in on October 8, 1958.
On September 7, 1959 the company acquired a used fire engine for $300 from Joppa Magnolia Fire Company. This engine was a 1932 Mack with a 500 GPM pump and 500-gallon water tank and was assigned number 482.
In September 1963, the ’32 Mack was replaced with a new ’63 Dodge as engine 482. This new truck was obtained from American Fire Apparatus at a cost of $22,000. The new Dodge had a 750 GPM pump and a 750-gallon water tank. The ’32 Mack was sold to Vernon Brown in November 1963.
A new Jeep was purchased for $3,000 and placed in service September 1965 as unit 484 to replace the Ford brush truck. The Ford had its 2-way radio replaced with just a receiver and continued in service until it was returned to Vernon Brown in 1969. It was used as a “back-up” piece to the Jeep, but did not respond to fires outside the Kingsville area after the Jeep was acquired
In December 1970 a new Mack was placed in service as engine 481 to replace the ’55 Dodge. This truck cost $40,000, and had a 1000 GPM pump and a 1000-gallon water tank. The ’55 Dodge was sold to a used truck dealer. On August 1, 1971 the company had one of its busiest and saddest days. The county was in the path of a tropical storm, which dumped torrents of rain. As a result of the rain a flash flood occurred on the Big Gunpowder River. Four volunteer firemen (2 each from Cowenton and Bowley’s Quarters) were drowned in the river while trying to rescue people in a trapped automobile. A group from Kingsville went to search the river looking for our missing comrades. Also, within these 24 hours, the company had 11 fire calls and pumped out innumerable cellars.
Expanding to EMS Services
In March 1972 the by-laws were revised to permit the company to operate an ambulance and also to enable the company to have female members who would be in the ambulance unit. On April 3, 1972 the company accepted its first female members.
On June 21, 1972 our ambulance went into service. It is a Chevrolet van type, cost $13,500 and is number 485.
A Tragic Day
At 4:50 a.m. on December 17, 1973 the company responded to a call at St. Stephen Church. This fire went to 3 alarms. Churches are usually a total loss because the wide expanse of the nave is conducive to the rapid speed of heat and flames. Also, since persons are only in church a few hours a week, the fires are generally not discovered until it is too late. However, due to the speed and competence of the first alarm companies, the church was saved. When one consider the problems involved, in fighting a fire of this magnitude without the benefit of fire hydrants, the church structure stands today as testimony to the dedication of volunteer firemen.
Currently, the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company has over 100 members and responds to 1700+ calls each year. We operate a 1000-gallon pumper, a 750 gallon rescue squad, a Tanker, a Brush Truck, an EMS unit and a swiftwater rescue team. We consistently rate among the top responding companies in Baltimore County, usually at or above a 95% response rate.