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Department History

In 1909 James C. Palmer, Norman W. Carey, Norman Truitt, Leland Hobbs, and several other members of the Fruitland Community decided they wanted additional fire protection. They formed the Fruitland Vol. Fire Company and James C. Palmer was elected as the first Chief. They started by constructing their first piece of equipment, consisting of a double action pump (with a wooden gear and a two man handle), a 50 gallon barrel, several home made ladders, 2 ½ gallon buckets and 3/4” garden hose.

Around the end of 1914 Benjamin & Graham had a large crate and basket factory in Fruitland. Mr. Benjamin approached Chief Palmer and said they must have more fire protection. Chief Palmer knew the Chief of Baltimore and purchased a chemical engine for $300.00 (Donated by Benjamin & Graham). The chemical engine arrived from Baltimore on the steamer “Virginia” in February, 1915. The chemical engine was a horse drawn steamer, however they was no money for horses. Chief Palmer and his fire fighters had to supply the “horse-power”.

The first Fire House was constructed by the firemen on Red Bird Street (now known as Church Street). It was a frame building covered with galvanized tin.

About 1924 it was decided to mount tanks on a Model “T” truck.

In 1926 they decided they needed an alarm system. A siren was purchased for $500.00.

In 1927 an American Fire Engine (second hand) was purchased for $1,500. This was a chain drive truck. They used the hose body to hold a “built” tank holding 300 gallons of water. 1 ½” hose was purchased. This was probably the first booster tank on the shore.

In 1937 the Fire Company was successful in purchasing a parcel of land on Main Street from the Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

On May 28, 1940 a group of women organized the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fruitland Vol. Fire Co.

In 1940 it was decided to build a new Fire House on Main Street. In December 1940, the first earth for the new building was turned and on February 6, 1941 the first brick was laid. The total cost of the building was approximately $8,000.00.

In September of 1941 it was decided to put the old building on Red Bird Street up for auction on September 27, 1941 at 2:00 PM. The building was sold to A. J. Conley for the sum of $327.00.

On December 8,1941 the Fire Company decided to increase their membership to 50 members.

On March 7,1945 a special meeting was held to discuss a Type 45 Mack fire engine with a 400 gallon tank capacity and a 500gpm pump. Price complete was $6,455.00. On September 24, 1945 it was approved for engine to come with a chrome finish at an additional sum of $150.00. Final cost of $6,708.50.

On April 16, 1945 the company voted to chance off the Ford truck. On June 18, 1945 Chief Palmer reported total of the chances sold for the Ford Fire Engine was $294.55.

On February 17, 1946 voted to install wire from fire house to Chief Palmer’s house, so that he can blow sire from home.

On December 15, 1956 voted to purchase a new siren as soon a possible.

On October 20, 1947 the fire company received word that an order for a new fire engine has been placed at a cost of $6,500.00

On December 5, 1949 it was voted to increase dues from $1.00 per year to $5.00 per year.

On November 10, 1952 Fire Company voted to buy a new Chevrolet Engine, to be delivered as soon as possible. On March 2, 1953 approved payment of $2,199.39 to Oliphant Chevrolet Sales Inc. for Chevrolet truck. On June 22, 1953 agreed to pay Glen Culbert & Co. $8,382.00 for new complete fire engine when delivered satisfactorily.

On April 19, 1954 voted to purchase and pay down payment of $1,250.00 for the “Penn Carey” property on E. Main Street. Property was to be used as carnival grounds.

On March 2, 1959 it was approved to purchase a red Ford station wagon for a Chief’s car. On March 20, 1959 the red Ford station wagon was presented to Chief Palmer. This vehicle is now identified as “Car 359” and was recently fully restored.

In May of 1959 the first Scott air packs were received and training with their use was held on the property located at the corner of E. Main St and Division Street.

In 1963 the stage, which was located upstairs in the Fire House, was removed and the kitchen relocated upstairs.

On October 26, 1964 the Company voted to buy a new fire engine. With the price not to exceed $20,000.00. On February 8, 1965 it was reported the new chassis had been delivered to Young Fire Equipment for completion of fire engine.

On September 12, 1965 it was reported that a fire engine had been sold to Northampton County Rescue Squad Inc. for $1,400.00

In 1970 an addition was added to the back of the Fire House at a cost of approximately $25,000.00, with the firemen doing a good bit of the work.

On April 3, 1972 the fire engine committee reported Oren Fire Equipment was low bidder on the body and Chevrolet was low bidder on chassis. On May 1, 1971 committee reported total cost, without hose, would be $30,189.60. On May 8, 1972 the committee reported Chevrolet had been ordered. On January 22, 1973 committee reported engine to be completed by January 31, 1973.

On August 23, 1976 it was reported that a Chevrolet truck chassis was ordered from Oliphant Chevrolet at a price of $13,350.00. On August 30, 1976 reported chassis had been delivered to 4-Guys for the the tank with the cost being $11,878.50. Truck to be ready by Friday October 22, 1976. This was the first stainless steel tank owned by the fire company. This truck was sold in 2009.

On May 11, 1979 voted to buy a new suburban from Oliphant Chevrolet.

On January 4, 1982 voted to buy a new truck from “Pierce”. On January 17, 1983 paid “Pierce” $34,168.00. This truck was numbered “308”. This was a Ford truck with a 5 man cab. This truck carries 750 gallons of water and has 1000 gpm “Waterous” pump.

On March 29, 1982 it was reported the Reo fire engine had been sold to Kopper’s Co.

On August 22, 1986 voted to purchase a 5 bottle cascade system for filling air tanks.

On April 20, 1987 voted to have up to 12 Fire Police (appointed by the Chief) and to be a member of the Wicomico County Fire Police Association.

On October 5, 1987 voted to purchase a utility truck from “Pierce”. Total price for truck was $51,900.00 and was placed in service in May, 1988. This truck was identified as “Squad 3” and was equipped with a “porta power” and some additional rescue tools.

In September, 1988 voted to purchase a tank trunk (Ford L9000) from Cavanaugh Motors for $59,200.00 and body by 4-Guys at a cost of $64.913.00 this truck identified as “305”.

In April, 1989 voted to spend up to $325,000.00 for new addition to building. Gladden Construction was low bidder and construction was started on June 19, 1989. This addition created approximately 7,500 square feet of additional space in fire house.

In September, 1991 received a surplus Dodge pickup (owned by Forest Dept.) and voted to spend up to $2,000 to fix pickup.

In January of 1992 siren was relocated from in front of the firehouse to the rear of the firehouse.

The first custom built engine was purchased from “E-One” in 1993 and is identified as “301”

A “Chevrolet” suburban was purchased in 2001 and is used as a “Command” vehicle and for medical assist. This vehicle is identified as “Car 3”.

A 1987 “Chevrolet” pickup was prepared for fighting brush and woods fires and is identified as “Brush 3”.

A used 17 foot aluminum boat was purchased and was equipped with a 30 horsepower Mercury outboard motor and is identified as “Marine 3”. Ice suits were acquired to be used with this unit.

In 2003 a custom built rescue fire engine was purchased from “E-One”. This truck has a 1500 gpm pump and carries 750 gallons of water. This truck is fully equipped with “Holmatro” rescue tools and other small rescue tools. This truck is identified as “302”.

Thermal imagers were purchased in 2003 and in 2008.

All bunker gear was replaced for the firemen in 2008 and leather boots were furnished.

In 2009 a F-350 Ford pickup was purchased and equipped with a “Trafcon” arrow board and other equipment for traffic control. This truck is identified as “Traffic 3”.

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Fruitland Volunteer Fire Company
104 E. Main Street
P.O. Box 70
Fruitland, MD 21826
(410)749-9421

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