When the need of better service for controlling fires appeared, one particular group, namely Gene Steward, Shelben Thompson, Harry Lindsay, Jack Askew and Charlie Dumphy, got together a Community Meeting in Chestnut Grove Church in the early Spring of 1953 and discussed the vital need for a local Volunteer Fire Company. The meeting was well attended. It elected an acting Chairman and established a date for a second meeting. A membership drive for a Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Company was started. Officers were elected and this organization was incorporated in the Spring of 1953.
In the meantime, a committee was appointed to look for a used piece of fire equipment. After a thorough search in the Civil Defense and Baltimore City Fire Department, it was decided to buy the old AMC LaFrance which Cockeysville had standing idle. This engine was bought on October 1, 1953 for $1,000.00 and, after much repair, went into service in November, 1954.
To get some money into the Treasury, a Fund Drive was started. Contributions were solicited from anybody who would stand still long enough to listen to the plea. An Oyster Roast Committee was appointed and, on November 15, 1953, the Fire Company had its first affair in the American Legion Hall in Towson. The Co. had to split the proceeds right down the middle with the Legion.
In a meeting in May, 1953, Shelben Thompson was appointed Chairman of the Land Committee for the purpose of finding land suitable to build a Fire House. He reported in the June meeting that Mr. Murgatroyd would sell to the Fire Company a 6 acre tract. A deposit of $300.00 was made for this property. It has been the home of the Fire Company ever since. The following November, for a total of $5,800.00, the land was paid for and with this, the land transaction was completed. Now the Fire Company was rolling in high gear.
In September, 1953, a Building Chairman and Committee were appointed. They immediately started plans for the fire house and, in March 1954, the President of the Fire Company was authorized to borrow $30,000.00 from the Towson National Bank for the purpose of building a Fire House. In April, 1954, the first blocks were delivered for the building and on October 6, 1954, the first meeting was held within the new Fire House.
This miracle was made possible by two major factors. First, the tremendous participation by the community in erecting the building, and second: On October 12, 1953, the Ladies of Jacksonville and vicinity got together and organized the Ladies Auxiliary.
This wonderful organization made the most outstanding contributions. Because of the excellent food it provided, affair after affair was an outstanding success. The touch it gave to the interior of the Fire House made the whole enterprise worthwhile. This collaboration and cooperation also produced financial results which funded the much needed repairs on the American LaFrance Engine.
In the summer of 1955, one of the advisory Board members, Mr. John Murray donated a Jeep to the Fire Company. It was promptly modified and outfitted for a Brush Truck . In 1956, the Company bought a GMC Fire Engine at a cost of $16,500.00. It was put into service in November 1956 as Engine #471. In the following years, the Fire Company bought the following equipment:
In 1959, a truck from Civil Defense at a cost of $100.00 which was modified and outfitted for a Brush Truck. In 1964, an International Fire Engine at a cost of $22,600.00 which was put into service in November 1964 as Engine #473. In 1969, a Dodge Brush Truck at a cost of $11,400.00 which was put into service in May 1969 as Brush #472.
In the mid-sixties, a new phase in the history of the Fire Company started to take shape. The record is sort of a motion picture film, slowly unrolling. The same characters appear again and again, with different names, and under different circumstances.
However, the reasons for change are almost the same. Again a void appeared and a group of young responsible citizens made their ideas gel, and an ambulance service was born.
In January, 1967, the Board of Directors of the Company agreed to make an Ambulance service a new department within the Fire Company. The above mentioned group started contacting the citizenry of Jacksonville and the new idea was welcomed enthusiastically. Contributions flowed into the Treasury and in October 1967, a new Ambulance was received at a cost of approximately $11,000.00. The installation of proper accessories put the cost up to an approximate $15,000.00.
During the floods of 1971 and 1972, several of our members borrowed boats in order to effect the rescue of persons trapped by the rain swollen rivers. To combat the rising trend of water rescues to which the company had responded, it was decided that a rescue boat be purchased. A committee was formed and a 14 foot flat bottomed boat was purchased, partially through the generous donation of $500.00 from The Western Electric Company, Inc. The boat was powered by a 25 H.P. engine. All the men that responded on the boat were specially trained and had to be qualified swimmers and proficient in boat handling. This boat covered a large area of Baltimore County and parts of Harford County, and responded to special requests wherever it was required. The boat was dedicated to four Volunteer Firemen who lost their lives during the 1971 floods.
Due to the increasing use of the Maryland State Police Helicopter for transporting accident victims to the trauma center at University Hospital, it was decided that a Helicopter pad be installed at the Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Company. The helicopter pad was built by the members of the fire company through funds allocated to them by the Ladies Auxiliary and a $100.00 donation from the Harry T. Campbell Company. On November 25, 1973, it was dedicated to the four Maryland State Policemen who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the Helicopter Service was initiated.
Check back here in the future for more of the history of our organization.