Maryland Town Solves Its Equipment Problem
When the population of Elkridge, Md., increased from 1,200 to 2,200, because of the war and its proximity to Baltimore, its residents felt that it was time the town had its own fire truck. Heretofore they had to depend upon equipment from Baltimore County, Jessup or Savage which, because of the distance, often arrived too late to save the property involved.
The war, however, made it difficult to purchase apparatus, and besides the town couldn’t afford the equipment that was needed.
East summer the question came up at a meeting of the local Council of Civilian Defense, and before the meeting bad adjourned, the men decided to build their own fire truck.
A three-and-a-half-ton second hand truck was purchased and dismantled down to the chassis. On it was mounted an old fire truck body, which had to be cut down.
In a town like Elkridge water plugs are few. It is necessary to carry water, Getting a tank was a task, but a Baltimore company finally got one for the town. A new pump provided another difficult hurdle, but that also was obtained through a Baltimore company.
Four chemical extinguishers were placed on the sides.
Six hand pumps were added. Then came 750 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, 200 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose, 100 feet of chemical hose and three 28-foot ladders, all purchased second hand, or donated.
A fire truck without a siren or a bell is just not a fire truck. This problem was handled by Colonel Randolph Coyle, who had a siren that he used on his estate to announce the serving of meals and by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, who donated a bell from an old locomotive.
After the truck was completed, a fire company was organized with Edward Falter as chief. The force has grown to twenty-eight men. The garage where the truck was built continues to be the fire house.
The men of the town collected money for coats for the firemen, and the ladies’ auxiliary held a number of social events and presented the company with boots, hammocks, a stretcher and other fire fighting equipment.
The new truck has already responded to a number of alarms.