In the year of 1925, the young men of Townsend and vicinity realized that the community was in urgent need of fire protection and decided to hold carnivals to raise money for some fire fighting equipment.
Before they could officially organize the fire service, there were some serious fires in town. One of the worst was the "Old Hotel". The Pennsylvania Railroad company hauled water in their steam engine from a Middletown standpipe.They made several trips before the fire was brought under control. Wilmington's paid fire company sent down their Ahrens Fox Steam pumper by train early the next day to keep the still burning fire under control.
After the frightening experience, the towns people decided it was important to go ahead and organize a fire department. The new group paid for the water system, which was installed in 1926 consisting of a 50,000 gallon steel water tank with a 185 foot 6 inch well equipped with engine and pump for water supply. The only firefighting equipment they had was a wooden hose cart and some buckets.
The fire calls were taken by the undertaker, G. Lester Daniels. He, or one of his employees, would activate a small fire siren , which was hanging on a nearby utility pole and activated by a push button on the wall next to Daniels bed, the button still exists.
Sometime after the organization, the Commissioners of the Town of Townsend took over the tank and equipment and partly reimbursed the fire department for the money they spent. These funds enabled the firemen to purchase a 1928 American LaFrance type-99 and a 500 gallon booster tank in 1929. The first fire truck was stored in a small garage owned by Mrs. Are Lattomus on Chestnut street, which is no longer standing. The building was so narrow that the truck first had to be pulled out of the garage before the firefighters could get in.
It was kept their until the old schoolhouse was purchased from the state for $1.00 in 1933. The only remodeling that the firefighters did when they moved into the school house was the removal of the school bathrooms. The space was first covered over by concrete and a large door for the truck was installed. The only heat in the building was an iron coal stove in the back of the engine room. The coal stove was kept going in the winter, not for the ocmfort of the firefighters but so that the fire truck would not freeze. In 1945, the firemen started working on a recreation room for the membership in the firehouse and the acquistion of a second fire truck. They opened another bay on the existing building.
On March 24, 1950, the department proudly accepted the organization of it's Ladies Auxiliary. The auxiliary continues its support and assistance to the firemen through many fundraising events. In the past 53 years, the Ladies Auxiliary has given the company $407,844.51 in cash, vehicles and gifts.
In 1952, the department installed a heating system and worked on further interior remodeling. In 1958, they expanded two more bays and remodeled an area on the second floor for office space.
In 1954, they purchased a new GMC fire truck.
In 1973, the firemen purchased about three acres of land on Route 25 (the current location of our firehouse). Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new firehouse were held in February 1976. The new building was completed and dedicated in 1978. Since moving to the new building, all of the original fire equipment has been replaced and/or refurbished by new state-of-the-art fire apparatus.
In September 1997, the fire department began providing our community with basic life support. Currently, there are two ambulances in operation supported by 19 Nationally Registered EMT-B Volunteers and 4 Delaware Certified First Responder Volunteers. In January 1998, the company hired 2 Paid Personnel for weekday coverage.
The Fire department placed in service a Rescue Boat in December 2002 for inland water and small tidal water rescues.
In 1998, the department began plans to renovate the fire hall, as well as build a two-story addition to the front of the firehouse. Construction began in July 2001 and was completed by the spring of 2003.
I 2004 the Townsend Fire Department entered into a partners in sharing program with the Townsend Elementary School, bringing the students to fire prevention activities at the Fire House, and co-existence in use of each others facilities.
Townsend received its first Federal Grant to buy Personal face pieces for the members in 2004.
A Memorial Service was held on January 29, 2006, at which time a Memorial Monument was dedicated to all our members who either reached 10 years of active membership or died during active membership.
In 2005, the Fire department replaced a 1997 Ambulance with a 2005 Ford E-450 XL Horton Ambulance.
In 2006 the fire department is participating in a joint program started with AmeriCorp and the New Castle County Government to supply each fire department in NCC with personnel that would be dedicated to recruitment of new FD members. These personnel were called ESC Members. They visit schools and teach CPR, as well as, recruitment. Our company has hosted 3 of these personnel, 2 have become full members of our department.
The department held its first Spring Fling at Harrington Fair Grounds in May 2006. The net profit was $120,000.00. This money was used to assist in paying for our newly ordered Rescue.
Townsend received its second Federal Grant to outfit portable radios in all the riding positions on all our apparatus.
The second annual TFC/DU Spring Fling was held with great success netting a profit of $95,000.00. This money also assisted in paying for the newly received Rescue.
The Townsend Fire Department has donated the use of its facilities to the Town of Townsend to use for meetings and fund raisers to build the town park and municipal building.
Townsend received its third Federal Grant to replaced 60 sets of outdated fire gear and increase our EMS gear by 20 sets.
The third annual TFC/DU Spring Fling was held with great success netting a profit of $48,000.00. This money assisted in paying on the loan for the Rescue.
In 2007 Clarence Schwatka Grand Marshalled the annual State Fire Conference, the first time a Townsend Fire Department member has done so in the history of the department. What started out as just our department lining up to salute Clarence for his accomplishments, turned into a line of about 150 firefighters at attention for Clarence.
Nature: Extrication / Entrapped (Machinery, Vehicle)
Location: Townsend - Heritage Concrete
Address: 734 Dexter Corner Rd
City: , DE
Nature: Traffic Collision
Address: Dupont Pky and Fieldsboro Rd
City: , DE
Nature: Smoke Investigation (Outside)
Address: Masseys Church Rd and Ponder Lane
City: , DE
Nature: Vehicle Fire
Location: Townsend - Mm 86
Address: Rte 1 North and Middletown Odessa Rd Offramp
City: , DE