It's almost that time once again, the time when the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company takes Santa Claus on a guided tour of Leesburg. Routes will be largely unchanged from last year; for details, please click here. The dedicated volunteers of your local fire company look forward to keeping this cherished event alive for yet another year. Merry Christmas!!!
On November 16th, 2013, the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company held a very special banquet in honor of our 210th birthday. About a year and a half ago, we started planning for what we thought would be our 150th anniversary, since the long-held belief was that we could trace our roots back to 1863. It turns out we'd missed our 150th by a mere 60 years! As the anniversary committee dug through records at the Thomas Balch Library and the Loudoun County Courthouse, researchers discovered our first charter, dated November 15, 1803.
Master Firefighter Rick Etter and Captain Jim Fazekas were the driving force behind the research that resulted in the discovery of an amazing amount of documentation, so much in fact that Captain Fazekas was compelled to put it into a book. Titled "The Early History of the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company, 1803-1925, the 317 page book contains a fascinating look at how our organization evolved and changed over the years. Each guest at our anniversary banquet received a copy.
The banquet paid homage to those who'd gone before the current active volunteers. Gathered around the banquet hall were many of our past members who'd worked very hard during their time to make Company 1 what is today. Our current operational and administrative members owe so much to those who came before us; this banquet provided a wonderful opportunity to express our gratitude.
We were honored to have Delegate Randy Minchew serve as our guest speaker. His address was well received and fit very nicely with the theme of service and community. After a great dinner, the program turned to our annual awards. (At this banquet, only our most revered awards were given out; the remainder will be presented at our January membership meeting where we'll also install the 2014 officers.)
|Probationary Firefighter of the Year||Ken O'Connor|
|Josh Lee Memorial Cadet of the Year||Josh Hottle|
|President's Award||Captain Jim Fazekas|
|Tom Donohoe Lifetime Achievement Award||MFF Rick Etter|
|Line Officer of the Year||Assistant Chief George Delalian|
|John C. Carr Memorial Firefighter of the Year||Sarah "Red" Fletcher|
The banquet was truly a special event that highlighted our past while still looking forward to our bright future serving the community for the next 21 decades. Thanks to everyone who made the evening possible.
Most residents of Company 1's first due service area should have received flyers for our annual fund raising campaign. This effort provides critical funding needed to help continue our tradition of service to Leesburg and the surrounding communities.
We urge everyone in our service area to make as generous a contribution as they can. As mentioned in the flyer, we continue to grow our membership base in order to serve you better. Between our modernized fleet of vehicles and the costs associated with outfitting new firefighters, we need your financial support.
Thank you for your past generosity. We hope you'll continue to support us through your tax-deductible donation during our annual campaign.
Crew 4 had an active night on Friday, November 8th, responding to a total of four incidents. They started the night with a fire alarm, followed at around 2135 hours for a reported structure fire in the 700 block of Fieldstone Drive. After a brief investigation, the source of the "smoke" proved to be steam from a dryer vent. Not long after units were in quarters after that call, a Chimney Fire was dispatched in the 600 block of Country Club Drive in the Southwest quadrant of town. Engine, Truck and Deputy Chief 601 were all dispatched to the call, along with Engine 605-B and Ambulance 613-E.
Truck 601 arrived on scene first, advising he had a two story single family dwelling with fire and sparks visible from the chimney on Side Bravo. D/C 601 arrived next and established "Country Club Drive Command" at Command 601, located in front of the truck. Engine 601, led by Lt. Montieth, arrived next and laid a supply line from a hydrant about 250 feet prior to the dispatched address. The truck crew, led by Capt. Fazekas, entered the structure and checked the fire box of the chimney, then proceeded upstairs to check for extension in the upper floors and the attic. Both were clear. Engine 601's crew extinguished the fire in the fire box.
Engine 605-B arrived and picked up E601's line at the hydrant, while the crew proceeded to the fire ground to ladder the roof. A chimney cap was removed and a coordinated extinguishment was initiated between the interior and roof crews. Eventually, a chimney bomb was dropped from the roof to fully extinguish any remaining fire. Crews checked for interior extension a second time; finding none, the incident was declared stable. Command was terminated and units began picking up equipment to return to service. No injuries occurred and the residents were allowed to return to the structure.
Photos courtesy of A613-E.
Just after 1900 hours on Thursday, November 7th a box alarm was struck for a structure fire in a fast food restaurant in Sterling. Deputy Chief 601 (Buchanan) was part of the initial assignment, along with Battalion 603. As the first units marked on scene reporting heavy smoke conditions, D/C 601 requested a Level 1 RIT assignment be added, adding Truck 601 as the second Leesburg unit on the call. Captain 611 marked up and was the first arriving command officer. Command was transferred to him from Engine 618. D/C 601 was the next command officer to arrive and was assigned "Division Alpha". Battalion 603 was assigned interior.
The fire was unusual in that it was inside the wall on the Delta side of structure. Accessing the fire to extinguish it required significant effort. Once the bulk of the fire was extinguished and assessments could be made of the fire's extension, command scaled the incident back, returning several units to service. Remaining units opened up exterior walls to ensure there was no further extension and that extinguishment was complete. Once operations were complete, command was terminated and units returned to service. D/C 601 was back in Leesburg by 2130 hours.
See the Sterling Volunteer Fire Company's website for more details.
When a crew has a long spell with no calls, the crew members start looking for the cause of the inactivity. Usually, someone gets singled out and labeled the "white cloud", suggesting that they're responsible for the tranquility. On Crew 1, we thought we'd figured out who our white cloud was (cough, cough, Gilly, cough), but all of a sudden, he's been at the station and we've run two fires in successive weeks. The latest near-miss was in Lucketts on Tuesday, November 5th. Truck and Engine 601 had travelled East to Wegman's for dinner. Before the engine crew could even get out of the pumper, we were dispatched to Gemstone Court for a fire alarm. After clearing that call, we decided we'd remain on the Western side of town and grabbed a quick bite to eat at Roy's.
As we were leaving the parking lot, our MDC chirped and showed that we'd been dispatched to a house fire on James Monroe Highway in Lucketts. From our position on King Street, it was a straight shot north on Route 15. Engine 601, led by D/C Buchanan, arrived in the second position. Our driver positioned to allow for drafting operations should they become necessary and the rest of the crew proceeded to the 2nd floor to meet up with Command (Engine 610's officer) in the attic. Engine 601 was asked to ventilate the roof if it could be done without major damage. An extension ladder was thrown on Side Bravo and personnel proceeded to the roof. Since the roof was a hip style, there were no gables to provide easy ventilation, so a roof cut would be the only option. Once Battalion 602 arrived and took over command, Engine 601 advised him of the situation and it was decided a roof cut would not be necessary. Captain 601 (Hilton) assisted Command by taking Division Charlie.
Company 1 personnel on Side Alpha, waiting an assignment from Command.
Truck 601, led by Lt. Wilson arrived as the first Special Service. Due to power lines on the roadside, the aerial device could not be used, but ground ladders were made readily available should they be needed. Meanwhile, interior crews got a knock on a smoldering attic fire and overhaul began. Truck 601 assisted with creating water chutes to reduce damage from water coming through the ceiling from the attic space. Property was moved out of the water's path, greatly reducing damage. Company 1 units remained on the scene for about an hour assisting with salvage and overhaul. Once those evolution were complete, units picked up equipment and returned in service.
The fire is under investigation by the Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office. No injuries occurred on the call, but a family was temporarily displaced. The American Red Cross assisted with housing the family. (Photos courtesy of E601's D/O Shawn Reynolds)
Route 15 was closed in front of the incident scene.
October continues to be an eventful month for the Leesburg VFC. As the month neared its end, Crew 1's number came up on Wednesday, October 30th. The night started with a an EMS call for Engine 620. This call resulted in a flyout to a local trauma center. While the engine was out, Truck 601 was sent to the 60 block of Catoctin Circle NE for an EMS assist. Once back at the station, units were able to find a bit of time to grab dinner, then back to the station for a couple of drills. While practicing ropes and knots in the apparatus bays, a box alarm appeared on our CAD displays.
The call, dispatched at around 2123 hours, was for a house fire in the 900 block of Santmyer Driver, SE. Battalion 601 was in the area and arrived first, advising there was a small fire in the garage. He established "Santmyer Drive Command" and was assisted by Captain 601 (Krueger) who had Division Alpha. Engine 620 arrived and laid a line from a hydrant several houses down from the dispatched address. Truck 601 took a position on Side A. Engine 620's crew, led by D/C Buchanan, pulled a 200' 1 3/4 line and proceeded to the structure. The garage door was partially open, so crews knocked down visible fire then accessed the garage from the interior.
Truck 601, led by Lt. Wilson, made a primary search of the structure, opening windows as they went for ventilation. They encountered moderate smoke conditions on the first floor. Primary search was negative, so the truck's crew met up with the engine's crew in the garage to assist with opening up. Engine 622B checked for extension on the interior, opening up a couple of small inspection holes. They found some charred structural members near the ceiling of the garage and applied water from a pressurized water extinguisher.
Once the fire was out, the scene was turned over to the Fire Marshal for investigation. Once that was complete, units returned to salvage and overhaul, removing contents and damaged property. The scene was then turned back to the homeowner. No injuries occurred on the call. Cause of the fire is under investigation with the Loudoun County Fire Marshal's office.
Photos courtesy of FF John Papaleo, aka "Photo 601-Charlie".
View of Side Alpha from the truck's perspective
Engine and Truck 601 pulling drywall from the garage ceiling
Command Post with BC 601 (Chief Cook, LVFC)
Personnel taking a little breather while the FM investigates.
Finishing the overhaul.
The aftermath...remaining materials were removed before units cleared.
Subject: 210th Anniversary of the Fire Company
The Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company is beginning a yearlong celebration of 210 years of service. To commemorate the Fire Company’s early roots, antique fire apparatus (a turn-of-the-century hand-drawn hose cart and a 1929 Seagrave pumper) will be featured in the Town’s Fourth of July Parade. The hose cart is similar to those used by the Fire Company from the early 1800’s all the way up to 1925, when the first motorized fire truck was purchased by the Town of Leesburg. The 1929 Seagrave is the first fire truck purchased by the Fire Company and restored to almost original condition.
The Fire Company recently discovered documents in the County Archives that confirm the original incorporation was on November 15th, 1803, almost 210 years ago. Since the opportunity to celebrate 200 years has been missed, the Fire Company is celebrating its “bicentennial plus ten”.
A Gala event will be held on November 16th, 2013 to officially begin the 210th celebration and to recognize the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company as the 6th oldest fire company in Virginia. The celebration will continue through the following year and include presentations to the Town, historical features and another large event next summer.
For some interesting historical information about the origins of the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company, visit our history page.
In conjunction with our annual mail fund drive, we're kicking off a recruitment event as well. We hope you'll consider joining the ranks of the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company as either an operational firefighting member or by playing a critical role as an administrative member. Were looking for great people to help us continue the tradition of neighbor helping neighbor in the community we love.
As a firefighter, you'll receive free training to gain certifications in fire suppression, emergency medical services, and hazardous materials to name a few. Training courses are offered at the Loudoun County Fire and Rescue training facility off Sycolin Road on evenings and weekends. If you've always had the dream of becoming a firefighter, we'd love to talk to you!
Maybe crawling around on your hands and knees in a smoke-filled environment isn't for you. That's okay with us; we need members to help us with administration, fundraising, public outreach, hall rental, special events, and fire ground support roles such as our canteen unit.
To get started on an amazing journey, just click here to go to our membership application page and fill out a brief online form. Submitted applications are received by our membership committee who will contact you within a day or two. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to meeting you soon.
Send any questions or comments about our operations or website to
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