As is the case with the town we protect, the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company has had a long and interesting history. The following are just some of the facts and happenings that have been noted with regard to the Fire Company that illustrate the tremendous growth and change that have occurred, yet the Fire Company endures and thrives:
In the Early 1800's, the average family income for Leesburg residents was about $300. Now, according to the latest census, the median family income stands near $90,000!
1813 Leesburg incorporated with over 1000 residents. Today's population -- 31,000+.
1800's - Citizens formed a bucket brigade known as the "Star Company". In 1863, the group
organized and changed its name to the "Leesburg Fire Company". At that time, gear issued to each
man was 2 leather buckets and it was his responsibility to maintain his buckets and to bring them
to each fire call. Buckets are no longer required, and men are not the only members! Unfortunately,
the cost of the issued gear far exceeds a couple of leather buckets -- a full set of turnout gear is
Notes taken from the By Laws of 1925:
April 1925 - Apparatus temporarily stored at McDonald's Garage while they cemented the Fire House floor.
August 1925 - $250 to Seagrave to cover price of chemical tank & equipment of Truck 2 (Truck 2 was a 1925 Seagrave chemical truck) Truck 1 was a 1916 truck that the members had cut the frame and extended it's length to haul ladders. Gear at this time had been increased to rubber coats & boots.
October 1925 - Purchased station siren -- Prior to the purchase of the siren, a bell had been used to alert firefighters to a fire.
Sept. 11, 1926 - Truck 2, with 10 men, attended Firemen's & Policemen's Parade in Washington, DC. They won a cup in the parade and it was placed in Nielson's window.
The Company voted in December, 1926 to hold a banquet for members & guests. (Guests were Mayor & Town Council, Ministers, Doctors, and the "Hill Billies"). Also invited was the Sergeant from Washington and the #2 Chief. Flashlights were purchased for all members. The banquet tradition continues to this day, with each member receiving a gift from the company. Coincidentally, this year's gift was a rechargeable flashlight, as well as a sweatshirt.
April 1927 - Met with town council on building needs. The town offered $1500 & more if needed. This allowed the fire company to contract workers to begin building the firehouse.
The original fire station building; do you know
what this building is today?
August 1927 - Company moved in to new building, which cost $2137.50. In contrast, Station 20, which opened in 1998, cost $1,200,000.00
Tom Donohoe cuts the ribbon to officially open Station 20
November 1927 - All calls six miles or more out of town only received 2 blasts of the siren & must have the okay from the Mayor or town officials to go.
January 1928 - Banquet
Call Statistics for 1928:
October 1929 - Used old part of fire house for recreation & meeting room. Acquired a pool table for the recreation room. Meeting minutes indicated the Company was willing to spend $100 to repair the pool table and $28.00 for a new set of pool balls. Paid janitor $1.25 a week. The membership went to the town council requesting support for a new fire truck. A 1929 Seagrave was ordered and the town council paid for half of it. This was the company's first truck with it own water supply. It arrived on the railroad in Leesburg in August of 1929. This piece of apparatus is still part of the Leesburg fleet!!!
In the '30s and '40s, the Leesburg Fire Company acquired two additional pumpers. First was a 1937 Seagrave pumper, and after the war, a 1945 Buffalo. In 1954, a new GMC pumper was purchased, which all of our current life members had the opportunity to use. The Company also purchased a 1939 Seagrave tiller-ladder truck after construction of the new Company 1 building on Loudoun Street.
By 1965, growth was hitting the county and Leesburg ordered a 1968 Seagrave diesel pumper, our first diesel and our first 1000 gallon-per-minute pump. In 1973, a second Seagrave pumper and a 100 foot Seagrave Aerial Tiller Truck were acquired. The 1973 Seagrave pumper is still in service today as Reserve Engine 1.
By the late '70s, Leesburg had reached 300 calls per year and membership was still limited to 40 members. The county started the Fire/Rescue office and hired it's first fire marshal/coordinator. The county was paying each company $20.00 per call and the town was contributing $1.00 for each citizen residing in the town. In 2002, the Fire Company answered more than 1,600 calls. The county contributed more than $200,000, and the town about $150,000.
Send any questions or comments about our operations or website to
Copyright © Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation
All Rights Reserved