The Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department, like many volunteer departments, was formed to provide fire protection for the community. The nearest Fire Station was eight to ten miles away.
Members of the committee responsible for setting up a volunteer department were Joe Fusco, Jim Hartman, Harry Sumner, Joe Wilmer, and Lou Wright.
Organizing a fire department was not an easy endeavor but the committee remained to the task.
A 1919 American LaFrance chain driven pumper was given to the department by the Berhesda Chevy Chase Fire Company. It was quickly named “OLD BESS”. It was housed in a garage behind a tavern owned by Joe Fusco. Meetings were held in the homes of the committee members until a building could be built. There were many meetings held to seek Anne Arundel County Approval. The Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department joined the then Anne Arundel Volunteer Fireman’s Association in 1948.
The committee had several new and interesting fund raising projects. With the permission of the owner of the Beverly Beach Club the newly formed volunteers collected 50 cents parking fee for all vehicles on the weekends. Money was collected in a tin fire helmet.
While this was most beneficial to the fledging volunteer department, it was also obvious that some other fund raising methods were necessary. One of the members came up with an excellent idea. It was recommended that the department issue $100 bonds redeemable in ten years. This idea was highly successful and raised enough money to purchase land and materials to erect a fire house. The sites chosen were the lots between Quantico and Old Town Roads.
Local businessmen enthusiastically supported the foundation of a volunteer fire department and contributed their money, time, talents, and services. For instance, block was laid by Jack Riley, floors by Babe Luzi, plumbing by the Stansburys and electrical work was done by Frank Duckett. Thus, the original portion of the building was completed.
Some of the “Firsts” include the following:
- The first chief was Tim Timmerman
- The first fire call was the Golden Slipper Restaurant
- The first engineman or pump operator was Harry Sumner followed by Guy Pearl
- The first ambulance was a 1950 Packard
When the third engineman position was county approved, Tom Southwick was hired.
Fire Prevention was the department motto and goal. Over the years, the Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department initiated and excelled in many varieties of programs designed to promote Fire Prevention. The department won local, national, and international awards in recognition of excellence from Governors, Tawes, Lee, Hughes, Mandel, Agnew and Schaffer.
The Ladies Auxiliary was formed in the early 1950’s and continued to the mid 90’s when most of the ladies joined the Fire Department as associate members. Through their years as the auxiliary, the ladies contributed to the departments success financially. Their dedication to help was truly outstanding. No task was too small or too large.
The department has grown and is proud of its commitment to provide the very best to the communities we serve.
In 1998, the department elected Curtis M. Dye “President Emeritus” and Joeseph (Mac) Connell “Chief Emeritus” in recognition of their efforts to the department.
The Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department currently has three of its members in the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Firefighters Hall Of Fame. They are Joseph (Mac) Connell elected in 1977, Curtis M. Dye and Roy L. Shirkey, elected in 2000. Further, Marion Shirkey, past president of the Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary and the Maryland State Firemen’s Association was inducted in the Ladies Auxiliary of the Maryland State Fireman’s Hall Of Fame.
As the department continued to grow we are thankful for those who have served, those who now serve and to those who will serve. The support of our friends and neighbors will always be remembered and appreciated.