History

There are no records to document the idea that some people have believed, that there was a fire department in Chestertown as early as 1825.The mutual fire insurance company was founded in 1845 and probably was the source of fire fighting equipment. A hand pumper that was built in Philadelphia, PA in 1804 was purchased in 1878 for $1,000 and was operated by volunteers. All of the equipment, including the hand pumper, was turned over to the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company when it became a corporation in 1908. Some of the other equipment included a ladder wagon with one 40 foot single section ladder, a chemical tank on wheels, and a hose reel on wheels. The company still owns the original hand pumper.

A new firehouse was started in 1908 and fire company members built it from blocks they made themselves. It was completed and dedicated on October 11, 1909. A 600-pound bell that was donated to the town by Miss Helen B. Denmead of Baltimore was rung at the celebration.

Chestertown's first motorized piece of equipment, an International with a rotary gear pump, was bought in 1923. A Pierce Arrow touring car was converted into a fire truck in 1926 and an ambulance was purchased in 1929.

In 1938 the town paid to have a new firehouse built on Cross Street. The company remained at this location until 1979 when it moved to its present location on Maple Avenue.

The Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company has had a number of major fires in its history. In 1910 almost the entire block between Cross Street and Spring Avenue was lost. The second was the Vita Food Cannery in 1953. A third was the Kent Manufacturing Company, a fireworks factory, in 1954. Another fire was at McCrory's on August 29 1992.

We have been supported by an active Explores Post that was started in 1967 and an Auxiliary that was started in 1932.
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History Tour of the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company