History of the Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company

The Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company was founded in 1947 by members of our local community. Over the past seventy-plus years the area has evolved from very rural to suburban density. The community now contains numerous apartments, extended care facilities, mercantile structures, municipal and state services, park facilities, schools, various large & small rock quarries, and a major reservoir that services Baltimore City.

On the night of July 16, 1947, 13 men sat in a small garage in Harrisonville, MD; to discuss the possibility of establishing a volunteer fire company to serve the Harrisonville-Randallstown area of Baltimore County. Among the men was the President of the Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Company, who shared his experience with the men and the problems and hardships of forming a volunteer company. A second meeting was held at the Mt. Paran Lecture Hall in Harrisonville, which was opened to anyone interested in forming a volunteer organization. On this night the company was formed and incorporated under the name of "Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.". It was decided that beginning the first Wednesday in October 1947, that every Wednesday the membership would sponsor a bingo at the Holy Family Church Hall in an effort to raise money for a building and to purchase equipment. Two very public-spirited men, Gerald Glos and Dick Smith, donated property to the fire company on Liberty Road near Deer Park Road. Following the donation, the members became highly concerned with purchasing equipment.

In April of 1948, Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company borrowed $3,500 from the Randallstown Bank to purchase a fully equipped 1942 Ford Ward LaFrance Pumper and a 1940 Buick Ambulance from the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Company. The equipment was kept in the John Deere garage of member Wm. J. Hanley, until the building was completed in September 1948. As the company and the community began to grow, and the need for ambulance services grew with them, and it was decided to expand to two ambulances, 465 and 466.

As of today the company still has the original 1942 pumper, which is commonly referred to as "the antique". The company held its first carnival on September 17th and 18th in 1948 with great assistance from the Ladies Auxiliary, which raised money to help complete the building. On October 24, 1948, the 20' by 50' building was dedicated and the equipment was officially placed in service. The original alerting system consisted of a siren control button at the Randallstown State Police Barrick. To summon the ambulance during the day, calls were taken by Miss. Mary Blair at the John Deere Garage. Men were typically on duty between 7 pm and 11 pm at the firehouse. During that time calls were taken there.

Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company responded to their first fire call on January 2, 1949. In the spring of 1950, the members of the Fire Company converted an old fuel truck into a 1000 gallon front-mounted pump tank truck and designated the unit as Tanker 462. With the financial support from the community, Liberty Road was able to buy a new fully equipped ambulance in 1950. In this same year, Baltimore County installed the first two-way radio and the unit came to be identified as Ambulance 85. In 1951, plans were drawn for a new addition, which would include two engine bays on the first floor and a social hall on the second floor.

 The first building addition was completed in 1952. In that same year, the company also was connected to the new Baltimore County central alarm dispatch center in Towson. In the mid-1950s, each station in Baltimore County was assigned a three-digit station number. Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company was now to be known as Station 460, in accordance with the new radio system. From that point forth all the equipment was numbered according to our station number and the type of equipment. Our first Engine, the 1942 Ford Ward LaFrance was designated as Engine 461. In 1954, we added a second engine to our fleet. It was designated as Engine 464.  It was a new "B" Model Mack Thermodyne.  As times changed and more equipment was needed to be carried on the apparatus it was decided to retire the original engine 461 and purchase a brand new replacement. A 1957 International was purchased as the replacement for the original E461. In 1960, the second new addition was finally dedicated. It included upstairs space for an office and a modern hall kitchen which was fully equipped by our Ladies Auxiliary, and downstairs it included a radio/watch room, and a recreation room. With the original building front covered in brick to match the additions, now the building looked like one continuous building even though it was actually three buildings merged into one. The Ladies Auxiliary consisted of mostly the wives and girlfriend of the members and was established on November 20, 1947, in a Sunday School Room at Wards Chapel Church.

In 1963, it was decided to replace the Original Tanker with a new 1963 International. This Unit was equipped with a 1500 Gallon tank and a front-mounted pump and again designated as Tanker 462. In 1969, the Baltimore County Fire Department placed in service a new fire station (18), and with that placed in service a new Engine and Truck. In 1970, it was decided to replace E464 with a new 1970 CF600 Mack nicknamed "Super Dog". In 1972, in an effort to get the youth of the community involved with the fire department, Explorer Post 847 was organized. The program started with 5 charter member, and two years later was named the Liberty Road Volunteer Cadet Program. In May of 1975, Baltimore County Fire Department placed a new ambulance at Station 18. Because Ambulance 18 was now helping to serve the emergency medical needs of the community it was decided that Liberty Road would take ambulance 466 out of service permanently and only operate one ambulance. In 1976 the company purchased a Mack Engine (E461), which they painted red, white, and blue and named it "The Spirit of 76". In 1977, Baltimore County Fire Department and C&P Telephone Company installed Teletype equipment in each station which provided more efficient communications between dispatch and individual stations. In May 1981 the company voted in its first female member, Rosemary Jordan. In September 1981 the company decided to have the engine (E464) converted to a new Detroit Diesel engine. In May of 1982, the company purchased a new Seagrave (E461) 1,000 GPM Pump and 1000 gallon tank, with a Detroit diesel engine and a five-speed transmission. This Seagrave was placed in service on August 15, 1982, and was in service as E461 until 1992. At that time a new Seagrave 1500 GPM pump and 750 Gallon tank was placed in service as E461. The 1982 Seagrave was re-furbished and re-designated as E464 and served until 2004 when it was retired and sold. The 1970 Mack (former E464), was in reserve status until 1995 when it was sold. In 1985, the Tanker was involved in an accident in which it was totaled. It was never replaced. Over the years we had many CJ jeeps as Brush units and various utility trucks as well as many medic units.  In 1991, Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company was issued a permit to begin construction on a new addition for the expanding equipment and membership. The new addition included a double engine bay, a captain's office, two storage rooms and restrooms on the first floor and separate men's and woman's bunkrooms on the second floor. It was a dream come true for the company. In 1996 the company suffered a disheartening loss when the upstairs social hall caught on fire. Fortunately, the fire was contained in one corner and was quickly extinguished by firefighters from the company as well as surrounding companies. Despite the severe damage, the hall was deemed a total loss and had to be gutted and re-constructed. The reconstruction was completed later that year.

 In 1997, Robert Kemp, who later progressed to become captain, was the first junior to complete the program sponsored by Baltimore County Public Schools and the Baltimore County Volunteer Fireman's Association. In the program, he attained his certifications in Firefighter I, Emergency Medical Technician along with various other rescue courses. In 1998 the station was remodeled, placing a kitchen and a committee room in the existing building, and the entire center area of the building was redesigned to give it a more modern look. In 1999 a 1985 Chevrolet Pick-Up was purchased from the military and was put into service as Brush 462. Also known as "Brutus", it is still in service today. In addition, in 1999 Melody Wayne was elected as the first female president of Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company. As of today, the company remains very active in serving the community. We currently have 1 engine in service, Engine 461; a 1992 Seagrave. Special Unit 468; is currently a 2002 Ford F550 and Utility 463 is a 2004 Ford Excursion. Lastly, Medic 465 is a 2015 Ford  F450 built by lifeline. This unit serves our community with paid staffing from 0700 hours to 2300 hours.

 

     On the night of July 16, 1947, 13 enthusiastic men sat intently listening to the hardships of forming a volunteer fire company, and whoever would have imagined that their dreams would turn into something as wonderful as this.

Respectfully Re-Submitted by Michael Bossman, Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company