On This Day in FFD History

November 18, 2016 Events  No comments

Reprinted from the Frostburg Mining Journal, Saturday, November 18, 1916


Recently Contracted For, Will Be Added To Frostburg’s Fire Fighting Equipment About February First.

Frostburg, not to be outdone by surrounding towns, will shortly have an up-to-date motor fire truck. The Frostburg Fire Department which, by the way, is considered one of the most efficient fire-fighting organizations in the whole State of Maryland, through a committee composed of Col. Thomas G. Dillon, Walter W. Wittig and Bernard Hughes, on October 31st, placed an order with the American LaFrance Fire Engine Company, of Elmira, NY., for one of their combination engine and hose motor cars, which will cost in the neighborhood of $3,700.

Concerning the new truck, the transaction, as well as a brief historical write-up of the Frostburg Fire Department, we reproduce the following from the pen of Rudolph Nickel, local representative of the Cumberland Daily News, and which appeared in that paper on Monday morning:

The machine, which is known as the “Brockway Type D” fire truck, will be shipped February 1. It is equipped with two 35 gallon chemical tanks, 1200 feet of water hose, 10 rubber coats, 2 play pipes, 2 oxygen helmets, 2 electric torches, ladders, axes and otherwise equipped in every detail, covering fire appliances necessary and essential in making up a complete fire car.

The car will have a standard Continental fifty horse power motor which is designed and constructed especially for heavy service and fire department duty. The wheel base will be 148 inches and the car will be capable of making from thirty-five to forty miles per hour. Before the local department purchased the machine they demanded a car with power and strength enough to make all the grades and travel over the roughest sections of the town with ease.

A fire truck must go where fir is, regardless of any obstacles that may be in the way, and it must get there in the shortest possible time. This is what the Frostburg fire department’s new machine will do.

The machine is splendidly equipped for night work, the light equipment being as follows: Two 10 inch gas reflector lamps mounted on brackets in front of the radiator, one 12 inch gas search light mounted on the dash board, two oil side lights, one oil tail light, and two patent electric torches. The car will be equipped with a huge Presto-O-Lite tank and all gas lamps will be lighted and controlled from the driver’s seat.

As stated above the price of the machine is $3,700. The American LaFrance Company allowed the local department $900 for their old chemical engine, leaving a balance of $2,800 to be paid in cash. The treasury of the fire department now contains $1,700, of which $1,400 will be applied to the truck; added to this will be $600 which has been subscribed by local citizens and property owners. When these amounts are paid there will be a balance of $800, which the department and the town council in co-operation expect to raise on short time notes.

The purchase of this machine is a transaction in the highest sense creditable to the fire department, the members of which are all volunteers and receive no pay for their services.

The Frostburg fire department is made up of 100 men and has the following officers: Chief and president, Bernard Huges; vice-president, Olin Gunnett; secretary, John D. Keller; treasurer, Henry Fischer; standing committee, Owen Dando, John O. Evens, Thomas G. Dillon, Walter W. Wittig, John T. Hart and David Kyle.

Thomas G. Dillon, one of the purchasing committee appointed by the Frostburg fire department to buy the new motor fire truck, cut of which appears on this page. The other members of the purchasing committee were Walter W. Wittig and Bernard Hughes, Chief of the department.

Mr. Dillon has been a valued and active member of the department for 30 years. While no one can accuse the colonel of being old, still he is not as young as he was when he joined the department according to his own statement, and he wants to give up active duty to make room for younger men. One reason, according to Mr. Dillon, why the department purchased so fine a truck was to engage the enthusiastic attention of the younger men in the town in the fire department and the laudable work its volunteers do for the safety of the community.

Representing the older men of the department Mr. Dillon made an eloquent plea to the city fathers that they do all they could for the department so as to encourage greater interest in its work and plans by the younger men of the community. Mr. Dillon is not only one of Frostburg’s most venerable fire fighters but he has helped in the town’s administrative affairs and was for 12 years the genial proprietor of the St. Cloud Hotel.

It is to Col. Dillon and the many other men of his age in the fire department to whom belongs the credit for keeping Frostburg’s fire department on its feet in the years gone by. The younger men must put their shoulders to the wheel and maintain this honorable old organization in the coming years.


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