The first meeting was held July 24th, 1924 in the Hereford Public School. There were eleven charter members. The first President was Grover C. Naylor and the first Captain was Jacob Armacost. The Company’s constitution was written with the following mission statement "The object of this Fire Company is to respond to all calls in case of fire in our district and to render all possible aid in saving life and property". Hereford had the largest district in Baltimore County, form Sparks up to the state line.
Fund raising began right away. Within a few weeks two hand drawn chemical tanks were purchased and placed inside commercial buildings in town. Captain Armacost soon had the volunteers training with the new apparatus. At that time the Suppression Officers set a standard for training that continues to this day. On January 19th, 1925 Hereford became a member of the Baltimore County Volunteer Fireman’s Association. With County credentials in hand the volunteer’s set about to find a home. A new wooden framed single bay fire station was built by Emory Leight. It was dedicated on February 20th 1926. At the same time the volunteer’s purchased a 1926 Dodge chemical truck. Two years later the first pumper was placed in service, a 1928 American LaFrance Type 92. The engine has a 500gpm rotary pump with an 80 gallon tank. The "LaFrance" was a reliable pumper but was later involved in Hereford’s most tragic accident. On April 6th, 1933 two firefighters were killed when the engine overturned while en route to a call. The members were Elwood Hicks and Clarence Almony. The Company has never forgotten their ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
The American LeFrance was sent back to the factory and rebuilt on a heavier chassis with dual rear wheels. It would stay in service well into the 1950’s. In 1936 new technology was brought to Hereford when the volunteer’s too delivery of a Hoover built Dodge truck. The pumper was outfitted with a front mounted 400gpm pump. The engine proved valuable in accessing water from streams and ponds. The front mounted pump is a tradition that continues today.
During World War II the fire station served as an aircraft spotting station for the Civil Defense Bureau. To modernize the operation, the station was wired with a new telephone line and electric siren. In 1948 Hereford again made news with a crew cab pumper. The International-Howe model KB10 had a 500gpm pump and 500 gallon tank. While enclosed crew cabs are the rule today they were rare in 1948. During the same year the station was remodeled and enlarged. A new engine room was built and the station received a brick front. The year 1948 also saw the chartering of the HVFC Ladies Auxiliary. This fine organization has been a major help to the fire company ever since.
In 1954 more progressive steps were taken with the addition of two new pieces of apparatus. The first was a B model Mack triple combination pumper with a 750gpm Hale pump. It became engine 442. The other piece was a Willy's Jeep that became Brush Unit 443. It was valuable in fighting woods and field fires. It was also dangerous to drive in steep terrain. In 1965 Firefighter Robert Thomas was killed when the Jeep rolled during a woods fire. This tragic event would lead to improvements in Brush Unit safety.
In 1962 a complete new engine room was built on the East side of the station. This large facility is in use today as bays 1 through 3. In 1971 Hereford received it’s first big pumper. The Oren-International had a 1,000gpm Hale pump and a 1,000 gallon tank. A new Brush Unit was placed in service at the same time. The Jeep had a steel enclosed cab and carried 65 gallons of wet water. The 1970’s saw the construction of the first bunkroom. The response time at night was greatly improved with crews staying at the station. In 1977 Hereford entered the Diesel era with a new Mack triple combination pumper. The Mack was on roster until 1992. By 1982 HVFC was again making news with a new type of unit. Originally called a mini pumper, Ýlater Tanker Supportß the new piece was a one ton GMC 4X4 truck with a 750 front mounted pump. The unit, like the 1936 Dodge was a good piece for gaining access to rural water sources. In 1983 a new, longer wheelbase Brush Unit was purchased. It was a Jeep Scrambler and had the same pump and tank as the former #443.
The year 1986 brought the replacement for engine 441. The new Pierce-Dash pumper has a 1,000gpm single stage Waterous pump and carries 1,000 gallons of water. This unit was later rebuilt with an enclosed cab and is still in service. A new engine 442 arrived in 1992. The pumper is a KME built 1,250gpm pump with a 1,200 gallon tank.
Tanker Support 444 was replaced in 1998. It is a 4800 series 4X4 International-New Lexington. The unit has a 1,000gpm front mounted pump and is currently in service. The last unit purchased in the 1990’s is an F350 pick up truck. Special Unit 448 is a 4X4 crew cab unit that provides fire crew support, transportation to official meetings and runs on medical calls.
Much has happened in the last five years. In 2001 a new Brush Unit was placed in service. BU443 is a Ford F250 4X4 with a skid mounted 100gpm pump and 100 gallon tank. Also from the year 2000 into early 2002, HVFC went through the largest building campaign in its 80 year history. The fire station was completely rebuilt and a new hall was constructed. There are now six engine bays, new Suppression and Administrative offices, a new day room, and two new bunk rooms. The new Summit Manor banquet hall and social hall was built on the North side of the fire station. Many community events are held in the new hall.
In 2003 a new Thermal Imager was placed in service. This equipment was purchased by the HVFC Ladies Auxiliary. In 2004 a new Tanker Truck will be placed in service to better protect our community.
In 2005, with the help of a federal grant for $225,000, we were able to add a Tanker to our fleet. Tanker Truck 446 is a 2005 New Lexington elliptical tanker on a Peterbuilt Chassis, which carries 3000 Gallons of water and has a 1500 GPM Hale QMAX pump.
In 2006, we replaced the 1986 Pierce Dash with a 2006 Pierce Dash Rescue Engine with 1000 gallons of water, a 1500 GPM Hale QMAX pump, 30 Gallons of Foam, and a full complement of hydraulic rescue tools, as well as 3 low pressure air bags, and a Vehicle Stabilization Kit. This new
addition to the Hereford Volunteer Fire Company fleet allows us to quickly stabilize and extricate victims injured in most automobile accidents, without waiting for other specialized units to arrive.
Since it’s founding Hereford Volunteer Fire Company has served the community in many ways. For years the summer carnival was a highlight for families in the North County area. Today, events such as crab and shrimp feasts, auctions and the Fall Festival continue the tradition.
by C. Stewart Rhine,