In the year 1900 after having several disastrous fires, the citizens of Midland decided to organize a fire
company. At a meeting of all interested persons, held in the Balto Hall, the following men were selected to make application
for a fire company. William B. Phillips, Edward R. Grant, Harry O. Barncord, Dr. James H. Carpenter, and Charles T.
Clayton. These were all businessmen of the town. Mr. Phillips and Mr. Grant were merchants; Mr. Barncord was an
agent for the Cumberland and Pennsylvania railroad; Dr. Carpenter, a physician, and Mr. Clayton was editor of Midland's only
newspaper, "The Midland Press", a weekly publication. Application was made to Judge J. Hunter Boyd on May 17, 1900,
and from that date the Midland Fire Company No.1 became an active organization. Edward R. Grant was elected first president
and John Caddon, fire chief. Although the charter name is Midland Fire Company No.1 , the name that has appeared on
the organizations property for many years has read Midland Fire Department or Midland Volunteer Fire Department.
The fire company purchased it's first piece of fire fighting equipment from Hagerstown, Maryland, in the
form of a four wheel reel. They also secured a hand pump bearing the name "Eureka". The pump required twenty-four
men, twelve on each side to keep it in action, but when fully manned, was capable of throwing a very good stream of water.
At this time Midland had no water system and water had to be pumped from nearby streams or private wells.
In 1901, a water system was laid in Midland and in 1902 after the town was incorporated, ten fire hydrants were placed in
the town for use by the fire company. After advent of fire hydrants, the hand pump was only used when enough water could
not be obtained from the hydrants.
With the aid of the good people of Midland and surrounding communities, the fire company fought its way
forward with this equipment until the year 1926 when the fire company purchased an American LaFrance six-cylinder fire engine.
This was the first mechanized equipment of the company and was kept in service until retired in 1956. In 1912, our department,
along with seven other departments in Allegany County formed the Allegany County Volunteer Firemens Association. The
first treasurer of the association was Peter B. Cain of our department. The association was combined with Garrett County
Association in 1930 - this group being known as the Allegany/Garrett County Volunteer Firemens Association. Currently,
the name of the association has been changed to the Allegany/Garrett Counties Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.
Since it's inception, our department has supplied ten presidents to this association. From 1900 to 1931, the fire company
kept all its equipment on the first floor of the Town Hall and meetings were held in the Council Chamber on the second floor.
In 1931, the fire company purchased the J.H. Marshall building on Railroad St. and by holding dances and
other public affairs, the company raised sufficient funds to have the building made into a social hall. In 1938, the
building was completely remodeled into a modern recreation hall with a meeting room for the company and a large stage.
In January 1942, a concrete block engine house with a fifty-seven foot hose drying tower was annexed to the rear of the building.
The fire alarm siren and other equipment was then moved from town hall to its present location. In 1944, the company
built a concrete block addition to the north side of the main building for serving lunches and refreshments. This addition
is now known as the Firemen's Tavern.
On June 11, 1945, the company purchased a new "Buffalo" fire engine which cost $8,500.00 and in 1956 purchased
a new Ford F600 chassis which carried a 1650 gallon water tank and was fitted with a 500gpm front mount pump. This piece
of equipment helped save many valuable properties. This was a great assist with providing water for fires around the
area for many years. In 1959, the company purchased a new Ford C850 chassis equipped with a 500gpm Waterous pump and
a 1000 gallon water tank. This, the area's first cab over engine model, brought home many prizes from area parades to
Midland. Again in 1967, the company purchased another Ford C950 cab over chassis equipped with a 750gpm Waterous pump
and carrying 1000 gallons of water. In 1972 the exterior of the Firemen's Hall was remodeled with aluminum siding, stone
facing and a new roof at a cost of $11,000.00 dollars. This gave the fire hall a modern look for modern times.
In April of 1975, the fire company again pushed forward with the purchase of a new "Equipment Rescue Truck" which was a Ford
C750 cab over chassis with a fifteen foot custom built body from the Swab Company. This, along with new and more modern
equipment, came to a cost of $40,000.00 dollars. This truck carries a permantly mounted 5kw generator which provides
power for the unit as well as external purposes. One of the most unusual uses of this power to date was to provide light
for Christmas Eve church service during a power outage. Also carried on this unit is a model 32-A hurst tool, a model
O-150 cutter, a gasoline driven power unit, an oxygen/acetylene cutting unit, a Partner K-12 rescue saw with various blades,
a reciprocating saw, a portapower hydraulic unit, a four bottle air cascade system with 200 feet of high pressure hose, 2
air chisels, and spare bottles for the 4 on board MSA SCBA, a life gun, various sizes of rope, hand tools, backboards, a stokes
basket, and medical equipment.
Also in 1975, the installation of equipment put the company on "Central Alarm". Our calls are now
received on the "911" system and we are dispatched by tone alert and tone activated sirens. This service is provided
by the Allegany County Emergency Operations Center. In 1978, the fire company acquired a four wheel drive army surplus
jeep. This vehicle was completely reconditioned and equipped with a 300 gallon tank, a portable pump, and booster line.
In addition, it also carries backpack tanks, rakes, and various equipment to be used in fighting wildland fires in areas not
easily accessible to conventional equipment. Also in 1978, the garage fund was started in anticipation of building a
new station. A weekly bingo was also started to help this fund grow.
In 1981, the company completed construction of a five bay station with air/work room, communications room,
chief's office, lounge, rest rooms, and training room. This project was completed with funds allocated by the Allegany
County Commissioners with a low interest loan to be paid back over a period of ten years. All work on the station, except
the major block, brick, and concrete work was done by members of the company. The air/work room of the station contains
a three bottle air cascade system with a 240 volt electric driven air compressor obtained through Surplus Properties in Jessup,
Maryland. The motor to drive the air compressor was obtained from Celanese Corporation. This equipment has been
removed and hopefully will be replaced in the future with a new modern system. In 1985, with much appreciated help from
Hess Oil Company of New Jersey, the fire company obtained a 1974 White/GMC chassis with a 3500 gallon tank. This truck
was reconditioned in include a 4 1/2 inch dump valve on each side and a rear 14 inch dump valve with extension. When
the company received this truck, it was a dark green color and was known as the "Green Weenie". Also in 1985, the auxiliary
took on a major renovation project in the fire hall. They had the ceiling lowered, new lighting and a clean air system
installed. At the same time, the stage in the hall was removed and the meeting room was remodeled and carpet was installed.
In October 1985 came another first for the fire company. The first female made application to the department.
Also that same year, the fire company purchased a new Grumman Fire Cat engine which carries 1000 gallons of water and has
a 1000gpm pump. In 1987, the fire company purchased 30 sets of firefighting turnout gear. Each set included one
yellow coat and a pair of black pants as well as a hood that were all 100% Nomex. This gear allowed the company to phase
out the black army duck bunker gear that had been used up until this time. With the relocation of State Route 36 through
the Town of Midland, the existing water mains were upgraded to six inch lines and steamer hydrants were placed along it's
route. In 1989, the fire company purchased a complete set of hydraulic rams, manifold, and a hose reel for our hurst
tools on the squad truck. In 1990, the company obtained an electric power unit as a back up for the hurst gasoline power
unit. The fire company also purchased a high pressure air bag system to supplement the other rescue tools carried on
In 1991, the company replaced the 1956 Ford tanker and the 1974 "Green Weenie" tanker with a Ford L9000
chassis with a 2500 gallon water tank and a 1000gpm front mount pump. This unit has hauled many gallons of water for
numerous emergency situations throughout Allegany, Garrett, and Washington Counties, as well as counties in Pennsylvania and
West Virginia. In 1992, the company received a 1971 Ford Diesel engine pumper from Bethesda Volunteer Fire Department
in Montgomery County, Maryland. The pumper was dismantled and the box was moved from the 1975 squad chassis to the 1971
diesel chassis due to the 1975 squad needing extensive engine repairs. The conversion and some new improvements were
added by 4Guys fire trucks in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. Through the Department of Transportation, the company received
a $4,500.00 dollar grant for medical equipment to be added to the squad to assist with medical calls. The fire company
is alerted along with the ambulance companies in our first due areas. The squad received a new look, extended life,
and new functions with these changes. In 1992, the Auxiliary took on the project of renovating the kitchen in the hall.
It is now more functional and has a new modern look. The company also replaced the ceiling and lights in the hall and
had the floor refinished. In 1993, the Allegany County Emergency Operations Center went to a much needed new radio system
with four channels instead of two. The fire company found it necessary to purchase new radios for the station, the apparatus,
and a few hand held portable radios for the officers to keep up with the changing of times. In 1994, the company purchased
eight new MSA SCBA and twelve new bottles.
Fire Prevention Week each year includes a visit to George's Creek Elementary School for demonstrations with
Goodwill Fire Company of Lonaconing. In 1994, the fire company began an annual voluntary smoke detector inspection during
this week. Members of the company visit homes and businesses to inspect smoke detectors, replace batteries, and install
new detectors where needed. Each year the company selects a different area of the fire district to provide this service.
This is supported by the fire company, the Town of Midland, and by county and state fire and rescue associations.
In 1995, the fire company purchased a 1986 Chevrolet Suburban from the Corriganville Fire Company, and equipped
it purpose of running medical assist and wildland fire calls. Renovation of the old station located at the rear of the
hall was started with a new garage door, updated interior, and new wiring. Technology arrived in Midland with the delivery
of the company's first computer and fax machine, making record keeping for the apparatus, personnel, equipment, supplies,
and finances more efficient as well as sending and receiving communications more expedient. In July, a member of 35
years, Robert Knippenburg announced his candidacy for 2nd Vice President of the Maryland State Firemen's Association.
Elected the 1998-1999 president of the Maryland State Firemen's Association, he was the first member of the fire company to
serve as president. Along with Robert Knippenburg, George Blanco served as chairman of the Executive Committee of the
The hardships of 1996, although widespread throughout the area, will long be remembered in Midland, quoted
by some citizens as being "worse than 1936". January brought in excess of fifty inches of snow within a few days, followed
by a sudden warming in temperature and rain. On January 19, following heavy rains, streams rose and left their banks
leaving citizens stranded, properties damaged, and department resources stressed. Members of the department evacuated
citizens from danger and moved them to the fire hall, where they were fed and cared for by the Auxiliary. Numerous basements
were pumped, roadways cleared, and citizens were assisted in various ways over the next three days. In time of need
the volunteers of the Midland Fire Department are ready to serve. On an upbeat note, in May we took delivery of an Automatic
External Defibrillator as a result of a grant through MIEMSS. This piece of equipment gives first responders the opportunity
for successful, early intervention in cases of cardiac arrest. Also in 1996 at the Maryland State Firemen's Association's
annual convention in June, came another first for the Midland Fire Company. Barbara Knippenburg was named Firefighter
of the Year. At the Convention in 1997, James Dick was named Firefighter of the Year. The Midland Fire Company
achieved another first for the state, this being the first time in the history of the award that members of the same company
received the award in consecutive years.
With the changing of standards, and a concern for the safety of firefighters, the fire company designed
their first enclosed cab engine in 1997, with the help of Jay Grimes of Pierce Manufacturing Company. We placed our
order, and waited impatiently as the months dragged by. One trip to Wisconsin to inspect the progress, was all that
the company could fit into a busy schedule of fundraising to pay for the new engine. In May of 1998, the fire company
took delivery of the new Pierce Dash six person cab. With the new engine, we have achieved one of the goals we set,
one of the dreams we imagined, and one of the visions we had for providing a safer work enviroment for our firefighters.
We were able, due to the diligent efforts of the members of the fire company, auxiliary, and junior fire company to pay for
the new apparatus and equipment to be placed on it, without a loan. The new Pierce Dash was placed in service near the
middle of May, with an engine housing ceremony including mutual aid companies, community members, officers of the state and
county firemen's associations, and county and state officials. The ceremony concluded with the engine being "pushed"
into the station by those attending and refreshments being served by the auxiliary. The new Pierce engine is capable
of carrying a total of six, four firefighters, a driver, and an officer. It carries 1000 gallons of water and is capable
of pumping 1250 gallons per minute. It is equipped with a 6,500 watt generator, a deck gun, telescoping light tower,
hydraulic ladder rack, and a rear dump valve for dumping water into a portable folding tank. The engine also is equipped
with a multi-purpose Hurst Maverick combination tool and a 4-cycle power unit for assistance in vehicle extrications.
The new engine is credited with responding to two structure fires and one vehicle accident before being officially placed
With the approval of a Grant through the Emergency Assistance Trust Fund, the company replaced our turnout
gear with PBI gear by Janesville to better protect our firefighters. With this assistance, we were able to purchase
twenty-five sets of turnout gear. Evermindful of the safety of our firefighters, the officers of the fire company are
always striving to provide the best equipment, gear, and training available to our members.
The fire company purchased the Eagan property between Main St. and Railroad St. in 2000. The two existing
buildings on the property were demolished in preparation for the future construction of a new social hall, replacing the present
building on Railroad Street. Since that time we have been concentrating on the task of raising money for this new construction.
June 2001 was another first for the fire company, our first "Gun Bash". Through the team effort of the member, auxiliary,
and community volunteers, we succeeded in adding to our building fund as well as creating a popular event. The Auxiliary
held their first Jewelry and Cash Bash in November 2001. A big success, they repeated it again in April 2002.
Also a team effort of auxiliary members, fire company members, and community volunteers, the event has become a very popular
and well attended.
In 2001, with a 50-50 Grant through the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS),
we were able to purchase a replacement AED for our present unit which has been discontinued by the manufacturer and will be
phased out of service. Also in 2001, with a 50-50 Grant through the Department of Transportation, we replaced our aging
Hurst O-cutters with a new Hurst Xactor cutter, designed to cut materials in newer vehicles. In 2003, with a 50-50 Grant
through the Department of Natural Resources, we were able to expand our wildland firefighting capabilities with the purchase
of a John Deere gator 6x4, trailer, and nomex jumpsuits, and new leather boots. In 2004, we were able to purchase two
Honda portable generators to assist us on off-road emergencies with a 50-50 Grant through the Department of Transportation.
Our response area is very mountainous and covers some thirty square miles. It is primarily rural-residential
with a population of approximately 2500. There are two State highways running through our area along with the CSX railroad
and George's Creek. This is a coal mining area with strip mining as well as the separation and treatment of coal for
shipment by both train and truck. Twelve miles to the south is a large pulp and paper industry which also involves shipment
of chemicals along this same highway. Our boundary lines adjoin those of five other departments which are: Goodwill
Fire Company (Company 20), Shaft Fire Department (Company 17), Clarysville Fire Department (Company 14), George's Creek Ambulance
Service (Company 55), and Frostburg Area Ambulance Service (Company 53). Mutual Aid agreements and assignments have
been signed and agreed to by all departments and are on file at the Allegany County Emergency Operations Center.
Since it's inception in the year 1900, the Midland Fire Company has continued to grow and expand it's services.
To better the citizens of our fire district and the citizens of Allegany County, we have set a number of goals for the future.
A partial list of these goals include the maintenance and replacement of apparatus and equipment, as needed, to provide the
best service possible to our area, encouragment of our members to train in order to maintain and upgrade their skills, and
to establish a recruitment program to actively seek out those people of our fire district who can be brought into the company
and trained, so that the responsibilities of the department can be carried on their shoulders through the twenty first century.
Midland Volunteer Fire Department