Blue Ridge Fire & Rescue

About Us

Founded as the Blue Ridge Mountain Fire Company Number 1 on August 28, 1906. The original charter for the Blue Ridge Mt Fire Co. Number 1 was signed by the following men who assembled themselves to establish a fire company: C.B. Keferstein, H. B. Thomas, Charles E. Detrow, H. J. Mentzer, D. B . Snively, A. T. Hess and Jere M. Tracey. The five directors named on the charter were: Charles E. Detrow, H. J. Mentzer, D. B. Snively, A. T. Hess and Jere M. Tracey.

The early years of the company’s existence were undoubtedly the roughest, but the ultimate accomplishments appear to have far outnumbered the struggles.

The first gas power driven fire engine was purchased in 1922. This model T Ford was housed in a one-room building located in the rear of the First National Bank at Summit Plaza. In 1927, a Chevrolet Fire Truck equipped with chemical tanks was purchased. A 1935 Chevrolet Fire Truck was purchased in 1935 and was in use until 1956. This was the truck that the Ladies Auxiliary furnished funds to rebuild in 1951. The 1935 truck was purchased by the Leitersburg Ruritan Volunteer Fire Co., Leitersburg MD in 1956.

As the community of the Blue Ridge Mountain area grew and expanded the need of a more central location to house the equipment was apparent. In 1946, C. C. Tracey donated a plot of ground along Monterey Avenue where the present Engine House is located. In 1949, three additional lots were purchased by the fire company directly adjoining the plot donated. The present Engine House was dedicated on February 16, 1947 in the memory of a member, Llewellyn Charles Eyler, who was killed during World War II. The Engine House was constructed to house three pieces of equipment.

During the fall of 1946 a new G.M.C. High Pressure Fog Fire Truck was purchased. At the time of the purchase this piece of equipment was the latest up-to-date fire fighting apparatus for rural fire fighting to be found in the area served by the Blue Ridge Mt. Fire Co. No. 1. Joining forces with the G.M.C. truck in this year was a new pumper which was a custom built John Bean body mounted to 1955 G.M.C. chassis. It was equipped with a 500 gallon-a-minute pump and fog spray. The company also add a 1953 G. M. C. 1800 gallon tank-truck. With these three pieces of equipment the company was confident that they could serve the community with utmost satisfaction. The Blue Ridge Mt. Fire Co. No. 1 serves the Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland and Adams and Franklin Counties of Pennsylvania.

In February 1949 the Ladies’ Auxiliary was organized. The original officers were as follows: Kathryn Kline, President; Mary Arnsparger, Vice-President; Lucille Elliott, Secretary and Nellie Gaver, Treasurer. The Ladies Auxiliary was a big asset to the fire company. The Ladies Auxiliary held many suppers from October to May and their helpfulness at the annual carnival and many other projects will long be remembered.

The Blue Ridge Mt. Fire Co. No.1 organized a Fire Police Squad in September 1949. Such a movement was made necessary as the traffic situation become more and more of a problem at fires. On September 13, 1949, five members were elected to form this squad. These members were: Roy G. Stahley, Francis Staley, Harry Warren, Lawrence McGlaughlin and Ira McGlaughlin. At the present time the Fire Police Squad consists of approximately 8 members who also serve as Special Police for Washington Township.

In the spring of 1950 the Blue Ridge Mt. Fire Co. No. 1 built a 100 x 60 ft hall on the lots purchased in 1949. The hall is located directly behind the Engine House which was constructed in 1946. The hall, besides serving as a place to hold activities of the Fire Company, serves as a great asset to the community as well. In 1954, a stage was erected across the entire end of the Hall building. The stage has been used to present plays, concerts during carnivals and like activities. A new modern equipped kitchen was installed for the the Ladies Auxiliary with the hall.

In June 1952 the fire company took on a new venture by adding an ambulance service to the community. The ambulance service’s first piece of equipment was a 1939 LaSalle Ambulance. A 1941 Buick Ambulance was purchased in 1953 and during 1956 a 1947 Cadillac Ambulance was purchased. The local physicians expressed a definite need for the ambulances in the community. A plan was worked out for free ambulance service to anyone in the community who held a dollar membership in the ambulance service club. This dollar membership entitled an entire family to free service with a twenty-five mile radius of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. This distance took in all local hospitals which include: Waynesboro, Chambersburg, Frederick, Hagerstown and Gettysburg. Over the span of the first four years in service the ambulance service answered 230 calls, traveled 8363 miles and was in service 437 hours. Many trips were made to Washington, Baltimore and even Philadelphia. At one time the Ambulance Membership club consisted of 280 members. The Ambulance service depended on dollar family memberships and donations to maintain its equipment and pay its operating expenses. Any surplus which it had was placed in an account to go toward the purchase of more modern equipment in the years to come. Over the years along with the rising cost of operations the membership has gone from one dollar to its current rate. At present the ambulance service answers over 1000 calls a year.

The Blue Ridge Mt. Fire Company is a “Volunteer” fire company. The men and women who serve do it as a service to the community. An amendment to the corporation was attained January 23, 1953, changing the name of the Fire Company to Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1. The adding of “Volunteer” better designates the heading of the group.

In 1962 the Fire Company again reorganized the need for expansion and added a fourth engine bay and a second story for office and meeting space. With continued expansion of the community and growing modernization of the Fire and Rescue Service the department again expanded in 1981. This expansion added a 40 x 60 feet two story addition which now housed four pieces of fire-fighting equipment.

In 1967 in order to provide the best service for the community the ambulance service separated from the fire department and become known as the Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Ambulance Service, Inc. In 1980 the ambulance service changed its name to the Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Squad.

The department operated five pieces of equipment in 1981 which included: a 1980 FMC pumper equipped with a 1250 g.p.m. volume pump and a 1000 gallon water tank also equipped with foam and large diameter supply hose, a 1966 GMC equipped with a 750 g.p.m. volume pump and 1000 gallon water, a 1955 GMC pumper equipped with a 500 g.p.m. pump and 500 gallon of water which was used as a reserve engine to be used if another piece of equipment is out of service, a 1969 tank truck which carries 1350 gallon of water equipped with special equipment for fighting forest fires, a 1972 Dodge Power Wagon Brush unit.