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Oldest Vol Fire Dept

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  • Oldest Vol Fire Dept

    I'm looking for the oldest continuous service volunteer fire Dept in the US, and I mean one who hasn't changed their charter or name. I know of one chartered in 1789 and still operating under the same charter.
    Pres41 (Pete)

  • #2
    I'm not sure but I remember hearing that New Bern, North Carolina's Fire Dept is actually made up of three seperate Dept's. One Paid and two vollies. They supposedly keep the charters on the vollies due to the fact they are the oldest. Not sure if that's in the Country or the State.
    Hope it helps.
    Dean Urquhart
    I used to only have One President, Charleton Heston, then came George. Now I'm lucky enough to have a third.... Capt Gonzo


    • #3
      Hmmm....Check the Independent Hose Company in Fredrick Maryland, I know they have been around for a long time. Also, the Marlboro VFD here in P.G. County started as a Bucket Brigade back in 1789 I believe, it might be on their Webpage.

      PGFD Keepin' it Safe Yo!- I think not!
      You Waste your time, YOUR LINE IS MINE!


      • #4
        A technicality, maybe?

        I'll bet that the company you're thinking of is the Rainbow Hose Company of Reading, PA, chartered and in service in 1789 and continuously operating since then. It may be a technicality in the sense that the Reading Fire Department is now actually a combination department, with a paid command structure and 24x7 staffing on all apparatus with paid crews (from IAFF Local 1803) of 2 on engines and ladders and 3 on the rescue.

        The Rainbows are one of only a few of the 14 original volunteer companies in Reading to still have a truly active volunteer contingent today, however. They supply the volunteer compliment to Engine 1 (appropriately enough), and you will often find 2-4 volunteers in station taking shifts on any given night or weekend. There may be more of their people out there at any time, however, since the City's rules allow volunteers to "float" between apparatus if they are trained for it (if an Engine 1 volly has a buddy who is a Rescue 1 volly, they can ride one or the other together, if they want), or to show up on fireground and report to the OIC for assignment if they choose and are able (I believe they still do this, anyway).

        So, that's the story here in Berks County. If you're looking for the oldest all-volunteer, I can't help you out. I'd be interested to know, though.


        • #5
          Wethersfield, CT The oldest volunteer fire dept. in New England. Not sure how they rank in the nation.
          IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!


          • #6
            Check out Darby Fire Department #1. They were organized in 1775.



            • #7
              Keith...just went to Wethersfield's website...they were chartered in 1803, so that takes them out of the running...
              IACOJ Agitator
              Fightin' Da Man Since '78!


              • #8
                Bristol Fire Company in Bristol PA was incorporated in 1857 and continues today. and is all volunteer.


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