Huntingtown is located about five miles north of Prince Frederick along the Route 2/4 corridor in Calvert County. Fire Protection in the Huntingtown area before the early 1970’s was provided by the North Beach VFD on the North and the Prince Frederick VFD on the south.
In early 1970 the Prince Frederick VFD had planned to open a sub-station in Huntingtown. Some residents of Huntingtown had a different view and felt that Huntingtown should form its own Fire/Rescue Department, and to that end, six residents met at Gordon Bowen’s home to discuss the matter. In a second meeting, at the American Legion Hall, those present voted 34- 9 to proceed in forming its own Volunteer Fire Department.
Donald Bowen and members who attended the original meeting appeared with other citizens before the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and presented their plan to form their own Fire Department & Rescue Squad. Donald Bowen asked that the BOCC give them the OK to proceed as soon as possible, stating it takes a long time for Prince Frederick or North Beach to reach the Huntingtown area in case of fire. At the meeting, Donald, also presented the BOCC with a list of 40 signatures of Huntingtown residents who agreed to volunteer and serve the department. Donald estimated that it would take between $25,000 to $30,000 to start up the new department with a pumper and new fire station.
It took almost 2 years but, on February 24, 1972 the Huntington Volunteer Fire Department was officially formed with between 55-60 Charter members. The 1st Chief was Thomas Brady and Donald Turner served as the first President. The department began operations shortly after they bought a used 1968 Oldsmobile ambulance from the Waldorf VFD. It was purchased with funds raised by the Ladies Auxiliary.
At some point after the department was formed a discussion on what color the apparatus should be because some felt that they should be a different color than North Beach and Prince Frederick. It was decided to paint the apparatus a very distinct yellow and since the 1961 Ford/American, every apparatus purchased by the department has been painted the distinct yellow.
The department purchased the used 1961 Ford/American pumper from the Forestville VFD, in Prince George’s County. The 750 gpm pumper with a 500-gallon booster tank cost $12,000. Both units were housed, at first, by different people in the community until the new station was completed. Shortly after, a piece of property was purchased for $5,000 and the local National Guard Unit cleared the land. Construction of a three-bay 50×100 ft. brick station was started with donated building materials and members of the community who provided free labor. The building was completed in 1973 and housed the 1968 ambulance and 1961 Ford/American pumper.
In 1973 the department’s name was changed to the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad to reflect the rescue services being provided. In 1974 a new Hendrickson/Pierce pumper was ordered from the local Pierce dealer who loaned the department a 1955 Ford/American pumper to use until the new unit was delivered. The new pumper was delivered in 1976 replacing the 1955 Ford/American.
Engine 601The first call for help came on October 15, 1974; an emergency transport to the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore. The first fire call came on October 23 for a brush fire on Route 4, north of Huntingtown. During the first three months of operation, 23 fire calls and 76 EMS calls were answered.
During the mid-1970’s a used 1953 Willys Jeep was purchased as a Brush Unit. The departments first new ambulance was purchased in 1975, a new Dodge/Horton van type ambulance. That same year a new mini-pumper, a Chevy/Pierce, was purchased and used both as a rescue and heavy-duty brush unit.
In 1978 a new Chevy/Yankee Coach III ambulance was placed in service. Again, in 1981, a new Hendrickson/Pierce pumper was delivered and stayed in service until 1991. A new Ford/Horton III ambulance was placed in service in 1986. That same year the department was experiencing growing pains and added three new bays on the south end of the original station and added another bay to the original stations three bays.
A used 1969 Ford/Swab Rescue, purchased from the Seaford FD, in Delaware, was placed in service in 1987,
the departments first rescue unit. One year later, in the Fall of 1988, the rescue was involved in an accident that totaled the chassis. A 1974 Peterbilt chassis was purchased and the original box was placed on it in 1989.
In the early 1990’s the department placed a brush truck, pumper and a pumper/tanker in service. The brush truck was a 1991 Ford with a custom built brush unit body. The pumper/tanker was a 1991 Pierce/Lance that served until 2009 when a new Peterbilt/Pierce Dryside tanker was placed in service. The new 1991 Pierce/Lance engine is still in service today as Engine 61.
In 1994 a new Jeep was purchased and outfitted for brush fires. Two years later, in 1996, a new Pierce Dash/Rescue Engine was placed in service as Engine 62 and is also still in service today. Squad 6, the 1974 Peterbilt/1969 Swab, was starting to show its age, so one year later in 1997, the department placed a new Pierce Saber Heavy Duty Rescue Squad in service that still serves today.
In 2003 and 2005 two new Ford/PL Custom III ambulances, Ambulance 68 & Ambulance 69 were placed in service. The department also added three more bays on the north end of the station for the EMS units. In addition, the station was completely remodeled featuring new living quarters, a training room, radio room and a banquet hall.
In 2007 the department placed a Marco Portable Air Cascade Unit mounted on a trailer in service that is used on special alarms anywhere in the County. It features (4) 6000 psi storage bottles, both an electric and diesel generator with (2) 650-watt pole lights and a 100’ hose reel. In 2009 the department placed two new units in service. The first was a 2009 Peterbilt/Pierce dryside tanker that replaced the 1991 Pierce pumper/tanker. The second was a new GMC Sierra 4WD/Custom built brush unit.
Two new International ambulances were purchased in 2014 and were placed in service as A68 and 69 respectively.
In 2015, the department placed a Pierce Enforcer engine in service and dedicated this unit to Past Chief Ricky Ward. This unit is equipped with a 1500 GPM pump, carrying 750 gallons of water. This unit is designated as Engine 61, replacing the 1991 Pierce Lance.
In late 2016, the department signed a contract with Pierce Manufacturing for the replacement of Rescue Squad 6. This unit is set to be delivered Winter 2017.
Today, the department has 110 members with 80 riding members. The department is under the direction of Chief Michael Clark on the Suppression/Operations side and President Jason Jones on the Administrative side. The first due area is approximately 45 sq. miles, the largest in Calvert County and covers a mix of residential, commercial/retail and rural areas. It also covers several miles of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay on the east side of the district and the Patuxent River on the west side of the first due area. The area includes several grain silos, several day care centers, retail and commercial buildings and busy Route 2/4, the north/south corridor in Calvert County.
EMS calls are handled by about 60-70 EMT’s and 10 Paramedics. Both of Huntingtown’s ambulances are Ford PL Custom III units equipped for both BLS and ALS.
Funding for the department’s annual operational expenses comes from some county monies, banquet hall rental, weekly bingo, annual fund drive and their annual Corvette raffle. Huntingtown responded to over 2700 fire/rescue and EMS incidents in 2016. The departments fleet consists of 2 engines, a squad, a tanker, brush unit, a jeep brush unit, two ambulances, and 3 command units.
Forty years ago, the Charter members started the department with very little but had the determination, will, and vision to succeed. The Huntingtown VFD&RS membership is just as determined and dedicated today as the Charter members were forty years ago and are providing the Huntingtown area a fire/rescue department, second to none.