On Wednesday June 29, 2022 at 0725 hours box alarm 10-18 was sounded for the report of the commercial building fire on the property at Camp Airy just off of Route 550 North of Thurmont. First arriving...
On Sunday October 4. 2020 at 0802 hours Box Alarm 10-01 was sounded for the reported house fire in the first block of Meadow Ln on the East side of Thurmont. At 0804 Thurmont Police arrived on scene a...
On Monday March 2, 2020 at approximately 1515 hours box alarm 10-08 was struck for reported smoke coming from a house in the 13200 blk Catoctin Furnace Rd. A citizen driving by noticed the smoke and d...
At 0942hrs on Friday March 22, 2019 Rescue Box 6-20 was sounded for a Bus Accident on Route 15 at Creamery Rd. Rescue Squad 10 responded mutual aide as the second squad on the assignment. A69 (Emmits...
The Guardian Hose Company, Inc is located in Thurmont, MD, in northern Frederick County. The Guardian Hose Company was organized in 1887 has been 100% volunteer for 130 years.The Guardian Hose Company provides fire and rescue services to an approximate 84 square miles, mostly all rural area. In that 84 square miles lies the Catoctin Mountain National Park, and the Cunningham Falls State Park and William Houck Area within which the company provides service to as well.
"The purpose for organizing the Guardian Hose Company, Inc., Thurmont, Frederick County, Maryland, shall be to assist in protecting the lives and property of the people of Thurmont and vicinity, and to assist in rescuing persons and conveying them to a place of safety; to extinguish fire and prevent its spreading to adjacent property; in case of collapsed buildings, to rescue all persons or bodies; to clear debris and to remove all weak or dangerous parts of the building."
The Guardian Hose Company began in 1887 when the fire company was organized to protect the citizens of Thurmont and the surrounding area. During the early years, the Company relied on hand-drawn fire apparatus for firefighting and a bell hung on the top of the town hall to alert the members. During these early years and for years to follow, a drill team was one of the highlights of the Guardian Hose Company.
In 1928 the Guardian Hose Company was in the process of reorganizing itself into its second fire house. The Mayor of Thurmont, William J. Stoner, was installed as the President, a position he had held since 1924, and held that position until he resigned in 1931. Ernest P. Hammaker was elected Vice President, his first office in the fire company, which he retained until he took over the president's duties in 1932. In February 1928 the Company acquired its first piece of motorized fire apparatus: a 1927 Mack chain drive pumper. Carl E. Cassell continued to serve as Secretary and Lester S. Birley remained as Treasurer from the previous organization. John Creeger was the newly-elected Chief and for the next 15 years was at the firehall before the second blast of the siren had started. George Hahn was the Chief Hose Director; Charles Spalding, Chief Pipeman; Roy Creager, Chief Plugman; C.J. Fink, Chief Coupler; Albert Riffle, Chief Ladderman; and Kleason A. Stull, Chief Chemicalman. Drs. Morris A. Birely and James K. Gray were the attending physicians and Col. John R. Rouzer was the Honorary President.
These men, along with many other dedicated men, volunteered their services and were always ready and willing to rush to the aid of anyone and everyone who had the misfortune and the devastating experience of having a fire threaten their lives and property.
Meetings were held once a month at the Town Hall, which was built in 1890 for the purpose of holding town functions, plays, dances, and suppers. A special garage was built on the ground level to house the fire equipment. A fire bell was rung to alert the firefighters to jump into action and the first fireman on the scene sounded the alarm that brought all available firefighters on the run. On May 5, 1929 a siren was installed at the firehall.
In those days the fire siren meant excitement to the residents of the town and, if the siren sounded during the non-working hours, families climbed in the car and hastened after the fleeing fire truck. It was not an uncommon sight to see at least 20 cars rushing behind, some carrying firemen who had missed the truck and others carrying curious spectators.
One of the first business transactions of the newly reorganized company was to adopt a Constitution and By- laws. These were very similar with the documents of the previous organization. Each member was given certain responsibilities and was subject to fines should they fail in their duties without a justifiable excuse. Particular stress was placed upon the use of intoxicants and, should a member become intoxicated, he was subject to dismissal.
Money was needed to keep the fire equipment in good running condition. Suppers were held in the upper part of the Town Hall. Firemen's wives did the cooking with kitchen help provided by the firemen themselves. Daughters and sons acted as waitresses and bus boys. A winter carnival was also held. Plays were sponsored during local talent or traveling shows. One particularly successful play was "The College Flapper" The participants were all local businessmen dressed as ladies except for H. O. Miller, who played the part of the King of the Flappers. The Town Hall was packed for both nights of the play and the firemen's coffers filled rapidly.
All work and no fun can make a dull organization. So, in the summer, the members accepted as many invitations as possible from nearby fire companies to participate in parades. The truck was washed, waxed and polished to a like-new shine. The firemen donned their uniforms and headed to the town hosting the parade. Quite frequently they returned with a trophy for being the best in one of the many categories eligible for prizes. At some of the parades, attractive young Thurmont ladies carried the banner. Ruth and Eva Zentz, twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Estee Zentz, were the first banner carriers.
One of the first parades the firemen entered was May 26, 1928 when ceremonies were held in connection with the opening of the new road from Thurmont to Rocky Ridge.
July 24, 1928 proved to be a sad day for the firemen and for Thurmont. Stanley R. Damuth, Jr., only son of Stanley R. and Jane Anders Damuth, fell to his death from the back of the fire truck as it was answering a call. This was the first fatality of the reorganized Company but the second in the history of the Guardian Hose Company. Harry C. Root was killed when the smoke stack from the boiler toppled and crushed him while fighting a fire at the excelsior mill in 1898.
By February 1932 the active firemen decided to add honorary members to the Guardian Hose Company ranks. This would add more monies to the treasury and, at the same time, create more interest in the fire company and its activities. Harry O. Miller chaired the committee and during the monthly meeting, 103 honorary member were added to the roster.
A 1925 Hudson sedan was acquired from Mayor Stoner in 1932. The firemen used their ingenuity in fixing it up as a second fire truck and equipped it with a 40-gallon chemical tank.
The Guardian Hose Company incorporated on February 6, 1935 and joined the Frederick County Volunteer Firemen's Association.
At the January 6, 1937 meeting the firemen made a motion to build a new fire hall and a committee was appointed to get the project started. An appeal was made to the Town Board on August 7, 1940 for permission to proceed with building a new fire hall. However, before final action could be taken the beginning of World War II halted all proceedings and most of the eligible firemen were either called or enlisted to serve their Country. The new fire hall would have to wait for 10 more years.
During 1942, the old engine room was repaired and new members at the age of 15 joined the fire company. In 1943, $2,000 worth of war bonds were purchased by the fire company. A Dodge panel truck with an Office of Civil Defense trailer was added to the other fire equipment.
With the war over, life was practically back to normal and in 1945 a Diamond T pumper was purchased for $6,500. The following year a 1932 Chevrolet Office of Civil Defense pumper was bought.
At the February 2, 1949 meeting, the motion to erect a new firehall was once again the main order of business. Another building committee was appointed with some of the original committee members also serving. The Town Hall, having been acquired from the town officials, was sold at public auction on November 10, 1949 for $500. By February 1, 1950 the Town Hall was completely razed to make way for the new fire hall. Two months later on April 5, the contract was signed for the construction of a new fire hall. It was designed to have a engine room large enough to hold four pieces of fire apparatus, as well as a meeting room, furnace room an storage area. Approximate cost of the building was $38,000.
The cornerstone for the new fire hall was laid on July 4, 1950 with appropriate ceremonies.Among the items placed j the cornerstone were the names of the charter members, the first officers' names, the Constitution and By-Laws, membership roster and a history of important events and fires. Charter members still living at the time of the ceremonies were: George W. Wireman, Sr., Morris L. Rouzer, Martin E. Foreman, Charles M. Mackley, and William Henshaw.
One of the best money making projects for the firemen was (and still is) the annual carnival held during the month of July. No outside plans were made during that week because most of the firemen were hard at work on the carnival grounds from Monday through Saturday nights. In the early days carnivals were just weekend affairs, but they were one of the big events of the year for Thurmont.
In 1954 the Guardian Hose Company acquired a Ford pumper with an Oren body at a cost of $12,717. Another Ford pumper with a Hahn body was purchased in 1967 for $25,000. Dedication ceremonies for the newly purchased fire truck were held on Sunday, July 23, 1967. Following the dedication, the firemen prepared for five-hour fund raising marathon at radio station WTHU. Members of the fire company manned the phones from 7:00 p.m. until midnight and collected the pledges as they were called in. Over $2,000 was pledged during the marathon, $1,090 of which was collected during that evening.
A special service was held on Sunday, September 22, 1968, to dedicate the Eugene J. McKissick Memorial. The Guardian Hose Company erected the memorial on the southwest comer of the fire hall parking lot in memory of Eugene McKissick who was a dedicated fireman, and in memory of all other deceased members of the Company. Atop the memorial is the old fire bell which was purchased by the fire company in 1890 and placed in the tower of the old Town Hall where, for many years, it tolled the news of a fire which brought the volunteers running from all parts of the town.
The Guardian Hose Company lost its third member in the line of duty on June 21, 1973. Wayne Finneyfrock was killed while enroute to the firehall in response to the siren.
In the spring of 1980, Guardian Hose added a subdivision to its organization with the creation of a Junior fire company. The Junior fire company provided an opportunity for individuals between the ages of 14 and 17 to become a part of the fire company and serve in non-emergency activities while learning the various firefighting skills. A highlight of many parades in recent years has been the junior fire company members pulling an 1888 hose reel which was among the Company's first fire apparatus.
A second subdivision was added in January 1981 with the creation of an auxiliary. The auxiliary began with only 13 members, but this was a lucky 13 for the Guardian Hose Company. In a short period of three years, the auxiliary has boosted its membership to the current level of 44 active people. The group was ably led for the first two years by Georgette Stitely.
The auxiliary has established several annual events which include a two-day rummage sale in conjunction with both the Spring Fest and the fall Colorfest. Auxiliary sponsored activities include dances at the carnival grounds Activities Building which are generally held monthly (September-May) and the operation of several games at the annual carnival. With all the work contributed to the fire company, the auxiliary does enjoy some celebration such as their annual Christmas banquet. The latest one seemed to be the most successful and most talked-about one to date with special entertainment provided by some fire company members.
In their first year of operation the Auxiliary was able to raise money and donate a large ice maker for the Activities Building. At the 1983 fire company banquet, a check for $6,000 was presented by Auxiliary President Linda DubIe to Fire Company President Donald Stitely. An additional check in the amount of $100 was presented to the junior fire company.
In 1981 the Guardian Hose Company replaced the carnival bingo building with a modem Activities Building which could be used for various social and fund-raising affairs. This building is used for events operated by the Company and is available for rent from the general public.
In September 1985 the Company took delivery on a custom Hahn pumper-tanker, featuring a 1000 GPM pump and a 1500 gallon tank, at an approximate cost of $141,000. The engine designated as 104 replaced the 1954 pumper and the tanker and utilizes a top-mount pump panel and a rear jet dump. The new unit appeared in the Ocean City Convention Parade in June 1986.
1987 marked the 100th Anniversary of the Guardian Hose Company. Several celebrations were planned including a parade on July 10 during carnival week plus special recognition and activities during the Thurmont- Emmitsburg Community Show, the weekend of September 11-13, 1987.
Fire danger index
June 30th, 2022
Under these conditions, fires can start from most accidental causes.