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District 16 Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
District 16 Volunteer Fire Department Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides fire and rescue services to a community of 3,000 in an economically depressed area of Western Maryland. The fire hall is located outside the city limits of Cumberland, MD in Allegany County.
History: The fire department was formed in 1943 and chartered in 1944. Eighteen community residents formed the initial membership. Previous fire protection had been handled by local residents with bucket brigades or, occasionally in response to major fires, from distant volunteer companies. Residents saw the fire department as a better way for neighbor to help neighbor.
The first actual piece of fire equipment purchased were eight Indian pumps and two helmets. In 1944, a 1929 Pierce Arrow pumper was purchased from a local VFD. With the purchase of vehicle, the fire department actively sought land to build a fire station. Community donations, weekly square dances, and monthly suppers paid for the first and present fire station.
Today: The department has approximately 50 members and four pieces of active apparatus. The company has an engine, tanker, rescue truck, and brush truck. These apparatus are all housed in the origional hall built in 1945. The hall is now inadequate in terms of size, condition, and function. The department has made the transition from simple fire protection to fire, rescue, and community services. The hall is inadequate for social services, its size seriously limiting the amount of people we can accomodate, and the number of residents we can serve.
In 1997 emergency calls for service increased 25% over 1996 while our funding remained at the same level. Our records show an increase in calls for service of 300% over 1995 while our funding has remained the same. Our 1997 operating expenses were $47,762 while our income was only $43,866.
The fire department hosts a number of community events, dances, dinners, elections, and community meetings. Our traditional fund raising efforts are not sufficient to meet our current needs. The community center/fire hall is more than 50 years old and in need of major repairs. The department owns land but can not afford to build the new community center/hall on it at the current time. Additionally, two of the apparatus, a brush truck and rescue truck are more than 10 years old and require over $7,000 in repairs each year to keep them functional. We would like to replace these trucks.
Traditional fund raising efforts including fund drives, bingo, dinners, dances, car washes, bake sales, and barbques. As a result of local economic conditions, our traditional fund raising efforts are inadequate to meet our goals. For these reasons, we have reached out via the internet seeking assistance. We accept donations of any size. We do not currently have a web page but will respond to all correspondance, electronic or "snailmail". Donations can be mailed to District 16 Volunteer Fire Department Inc., 12100 North Branch Rd., Cumberland, MD 21502