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Welcome to the Official page for the Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad, Inc. Co. 13 Founded July 1, 1925, the Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Department has served the citizens of this community and Prince Georges County for over 85 years.
6101 Roanoke Ave
East Pines, MD
The community of Riverdale Heights was subdivided in the year 1920 from farm land owned by the Stephen family, prominent in the history of Prince George's County for more than a century. Around 1947 the old Stephen Mansion, located in the center of Riverdale Heights on the spot it had occupied since before the Civil War, was torn down and the large estate was subdivided to make room for more housing. In the years following World War I the community was slow in developing and in July, 1925, after a series of mysterious Saturday night fires threatened to throw the progress of the town into reverse, a committee consisting of Clifton S. Kernan,Tom Flanagan, Marion W. Watts and Joe Zottoli, set about organizing a Volunteer Fire Department. The original petition, preserved in our files, shows the following signers to be the charter members of the Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Department: .. H.W. Baughman, A.C. Boxwell, Sr., H. Bryant, Charles B. Carson, E.O. Closuit, A.H. Colvin, Edward Dorrelle, Wm. H. Feldbush, T.G. Flanagan, Charles B. Ford, Charles Gale, T.C. Gardner, H.W. Gibson, Walter E. Hardster, Mack Henderson, Rex Henderson, Martin P. Hughes, C.S. Kernan, E.A. LeLacheur, W.H. McGinty, James P. Morris, L.W. Nelson, Charles Pugh, John S. Reed, J.F. Sharrets, S.E. Shackleford, K.L. Thompson, D.M. Wagener, M.W. Watts, J.G. Wheeler, William Willour, George C. Wilsher, George Wilson, Charles N. Winters, H.S. Yinger and Joe Zottoli. ..Mettings were held and the first temporary organization was formed with C.S. Kernan as chairman and Lawrence W. Nelson as secretary-treasurer. Following adoption of a constitution and by-laws T.C. Gardner was elected the first Fire Chief and was reelected for 2 additional terms. Our first fire fighting equipment was a hand drawn 50-gallon chemical tank loaned by the Mount Rainier Fire Department. A short time later four such pieces were purchased from a Washington warehouse, and all these engines saw saw valiant service prior to the purchase of our first motor driven apparatus in 1926. This was a model "T" Ford with a 500 foot capacity hose body, mounting two 30 -gallon tanks, all costume built by a Washington body concern. ..The first meetings of the department were held at Willour's Store , then the truck was housed and meetings were held in the chief's basement. The first firehouse was started in the fall of 1927 without a cent in the building fund and completed through the energy, determination and cooperation of the members. The cement blocks were made on site by firemen using Mr. Nelson's hand block machine, from gravel hauled by other members from the Eastern Branch in a converted Model "T" affectionately referred to in the old minutes as "Leaping Lena". Our first pump truck was purchased from the West Annapolis Fire Department in 1932 and its successor of the same make was a brand new truck built by Hahn and delivered in January, 1944. In 1935 there was purchased a new International chassis and on it there was installed a pump and body secured from the Silver Spring Fire Department. This truck was invaluable in forest fire service. The Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Department was one of the first anywhere to carry and use 2 1/2-inch and 1 1/2-inch hose whereby multiple streams could be effectively directed against a blaze from a single source supply. ..Opportunity was presented in 1947 to purchase the renowned trophy winning Buffalo pumper from the Riverdale Fire Department and it proved a valuable addition to our fire fighting equipment. Not only did it see many hours of service as a pumping engine at large fires, and much action in the field as a forest fire truck, but it provided the incentive to many young man to join the fire department and try to win a place in the contest winning teams of this Department. The Buffalo was loaned out to the Chillum fire station and then later sold to Kentland Fire Department in 1953. Feeling a pinch for space, plans started to build a new firehouse in the property that we owned from 60th Pl to 61st Pl, the $100,000 price tag had us "stopped" for while, but through the determination of our members, our present building was built in 1956. To this day, we take pride that we are self-sufficient in providing our own apparatus and equipment through the determination and dedication of our members through fundraisers, and we are proud that we never depend on outside help to supply these items. Through the years, this department has kept up with the evolution of better and more efficient equipment, we have state of the art equipment, we keep up with the latest in training and procedures, etc. With the strong foundation that was laid before us, we are ready to face this new century with optimism that we can meet all the new demands and challenges that will face us. We will carry on the tradition of hard work and determination to secure Riverdale Heights and for the citizens that we serve and protect.
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