HISTORY OF THE QUEENSTOWN VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT

As a result of the devastating fire in Queenstown in 1892, there had been an active interest in developing a firefighting program. As early as 1894 an old hand truck had been purchased from the Aberdeen, MD. fire department for $225. An organized group existed from 1894, operating initially under the name of "The Queenstown Company". Two of the leaders were William S. Delahay, Chief of the Engine Dept., and George Lane, Chief of the Ladder Dept. There were also several other "Active Members". The alarm system was simply an iron triangle (with a bar for striking it) hung near the center of town in front of the current bank building. The hand truck was only six feet long from hub to hub and only four feet wide, made of mahogany with brass fittings. It carried twenty five to thirty metal buckets, six fire axes, several feet of ladders, three roof ladders, 300 feet of two inch hose and two ten foot lengths of three inch suction hose. Twelve men, six to a side, manned the pump handles and when going full steam it could produce a stream of 50 to 75 feet at a rate of 150 gallons per minute. The suction hose was placed in a stream, barrel or well.

For some reason, reluctance to increase the tax rate, lack of interest, disagreement, absence of major fires or general decrease in business activity of the town, none of the proposed plans for a water supply and fire fighting equipment were developed to the point where they were very useful. By the first World War, or sooner, the company had apparently disbanded. In March of 1934 there was a meeting at community hall to discuss the possible formation of a fire company. Many fundraisers were held to support this endeavor. Finally on January 28, 1935, the Queenstown Fire Department was incorporated. The company purchased a lot in town for $200 and ground was broken that same year for the building of a new firehouse at the price of $3500. The firehouse still stands on that site today.

In November 1942 an ambulance was placed into service. It was replaced in 1952 with an ambulance donated by the Queenstown Lions Club. A new Cadillac ambulance was purchased in 1956 and replaced in 1963. A New Chevrolet box type ambulance was purchased in 1979. In 1957 the group became a part of the Ambulance Assoc. of Queen Anne's County.

In 1952 the fire dept. purchased an $8000 GMC pumper. During that same year the first addition was built onto the firehouse. In February 1955 a new International pumper was delivered and in 1968 a new GMC truck was ordered costing $19,128. In 1976 a Dodge minipumper was obtained. In 1980 a new Ford Pierce was purchased for $80,000 and had a water tank capacity of 750 gallons. In 1983 a tanker was obtained and carried 2500 gallons of water and could pump 500 gallons per minute.

The front of the firehouse was remodeled in 1960. In 1965 a central alarm system was place into operation, with calls being handled by the Maryland State Police.

Since it's founding, the fire department has served the town and surrounding areas in an excellent and efficient manner. It has fought many difficult fires at any time of night or day, as well as provided quick and efficient Ambulance services for the sick and victims of accidents. The department members have always kept themselves well prepared for the job by participating in courses and training on the most proficient and latest technology. It should be remembered that all of these members are volunteers and give unselfishly of their time.

 

Reprinted with the permission of Dr. Harry C. Rhodes from:

"Queenstown - The Social History of a Small American Town".