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Below are some comments from the old members of Powhatan Volunteer Fire Department. These comments all started about a week ago after a picture was sent around by email, the picture is under Picture Gallery Link, Old Pictures. I thought this was a great history lesson for us younger members of the department. This also shows how times have changed from having to make or convert vehicles to use as a tanker and receiving a tanker from the county that values at $430,000.00. Thanks Floyd Greene & Wayne Cosner for your comments.
To keep the history lesson going:
I dont know how/why the Emergency Crew fire unit numbers changed from 1, 2, 3 but after that they were numbered:
10 & 11 for Ambulances and 20, 21, & 22 for the fire units.
When Company 2 began taking calls August 15, 1971 (thats a whole nother story) we had one radio on the same frequency as Emergency Crew units. It was in the Red short wheel base 1953 Cheverolet Bean High Pressure and it was numbered Unit 30. The log wheel base 1952 Cheverolet Bean High Pressure (that now resides in my garage-mahal) was numbered 31. The 1955 Ford American Lafrance (with the big 500 gpm pump) and the big lines (1 1/2") when it went in service a while later (that's another story) it was numberd 32. In addition to the one low band radio in Unit 30, it and the othter three units had high band radios in them that were licensed to HVFD on frequency 154.340. There was also a radio on the desk in the bay.
Up until January 1, 1973 the Emergency Crew had it's own telephone number to receive calls for assistanc. HVFD had multiple numbers listed. Davis Merchant for day calls and several members' home numbers for night calls. Who ever recived the call for assistance would then start calling other members on the phone to notify them of the call if they rememered to call before they ran out the door (it sucked to be on the list that Chuck Urbine was suposed to be calling). Sheriff Simpson took his calls at home.
During December 1972 HVFD members constructed the county's first dispatch office. It was an 8' X 12' office on the second floor of the Simpson Office Building (next door to the current County Seat Resturant). The Sheriff's office was downstairs. When dispatch first opened about January 1, 1973 they did not have a radio but at least there was finallyh only one number published for emergency calls for the county. After the dispatcher received a call they would then have to call the telephone tree for the respective fire department, rescue duty crew on duty, or sheriff. Later that spring a base station controler was added at the dispatch office along with a tone encoder. These were connected via telephone lines to the base station located at the Emergency Crew and the antenna was on the pole beside the building (you can see it in the picture).
About this time is when the EMS folks at the Emergency Crew decided to split from the Emergency Crew. The fire folks left then changed their name back to Powhatan Fire Department.
This is when it was agreed upon that to make it simpler for the dispatchers, to change the unit numbers of the Powhatan Fire Departmet to 10, 11, & 12; HVFD numbers to 20, 21, & 22; and they added a "1" in front of the ambulance numbers to make them 110 and 111.
Later the fire units were changed again to follow the same numbering sceme used by Chesterfied County units with the first digit the company number and the sencond digit: 10 Chief; 11 Asst Chief; 12, 13, 14 engines; 15 High Pressure pumpers; 16 tankers; 17 cars; 18 brush trucks; 19 equipment units.
Thats enough for tonight.
Okay, Floyd has jogged my memory about some more Co. 1 tanker memorabilia:
He's right about the 6x6 tanker. It had a turning radius of about 100 yards and was known to take down a number of trees while getting into position on a fire scene. It took out a whole row of crape myrtle bushes ( big ones) on Petersburg Road. The story goes about house fire on Rocky Ford Road where the only property saved was the chimney, well and septic tank. Before we left the scene, the chimney had fallen into the well and the tanker had backed over the septic tank and fell through. Not a good day.
It's replacement was a NEW 1974 Ford F-650 1200 gallon John Bean with a PTO pump. It was one of the first, if not THE first, tanker in this area to have a "jet dump". PFD was indeed one of the pioneers in the Rural Water Supply tanker shuttle concept. The truck (unit 16) sold for $16,000. While the county did not have funds to pay for it, Elwood Yates and the late Julian Sledd went to the Bank of Powhatan and signed a personal loan so that the FD could get it. I trust they were later repaid. Talk about faith and dedication. Would anyone want to sign for a tanker now? Not me. I bought the folding tank from Jack Slagle for $330.. Co. 2 got a similar tanker about two years later (U-26) to replace their fuel oil tanker( an old Dodge).
Something I forgot about U-22: The equipment on it included 2 rubber rain coats , 2 helmets , a painter's ladder and a set of jumper cables.
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