Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department

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2021 Call Stats
January 111 250
February 81 218
March 123 269
April 112 286
May 119 263
June 97 267
July 129 284
August 126 284
September 141 310
October 122 315
November 116 282
December 127 314
Total 1404 3342

2021 Unit Run Stats
Unit Responses
Medic 127 931
Medic 128 1232
Medic 129 1271
Engine 123 393
Engine 124 145
Tower 12 167
Squad 12 192
Duty 12 322
Utility 12 515
Brush 125 82
ATV-12 22
Total 5272

Past Responses
Year Fire EMS
2019 1568 3265
2018 1550 2905
2017 1423 2850
2016 1469 2761
2015 1427 2852
2014 1006 2619
2013 828 2123
2012 764 2261
2011 864 2139
2010 859 2215
2009 1017 2182
2008 835 2127
2007 1057 1966
2006 1071 1947

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Jan 29, 2023


Legacy Hall

The History of Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department
Organized - September 21, 1933
Sykesville Freedom District Fire Dept by W.F. Church (Carroll Sun, Sunday, May 12, 1985)
On July 22, 1933, the Hugg mansion, a century-old landmark a short distance from Sykesville on the Howard County side of the Patapsco River, was destroyed by fire.
The blaze was discovered about 9:30p.m. Saturday while the town was filled with weekend shoppers. By the time the nearest fire company, from Ellicott City, reached the scene, the 34 room structure, containing period furniture of one of the area’s early and affluent families was beyond saving.
Formation of fire company
The sudden destruction of the Hugg mansion brought to Sykesville residents the realization of the town’s vulnerable position in the event of fire. Sentiment began building. In its issue of September 14, 1933, the Sykesville Herald reported that a movement was afoot to organize and equip a volunteer fire company. A week later, 20 young men signed up as members and voted to form the Sykesville Volunteer Fire Company. They elected these officers: J. Marion Harris, President; H. Lester Phelps, Vice-president; Celius L. Brown Secretary; J. Nevin Ports, Treasurer, and Leo F. Chrobot, Chief.
Tag Day sale raises $51.25
The company’s first fund raising venture was a Tag Day Sale on Saturday, September 24, 1933. The sale, suggested by local clothing merchant James Korb, was of small red lapel tags, printed on a hand-fed press in the Herald shop by the late W.S. Church. Price of the tags was a “silver donation,” for it was a time of severe economic depression and money was tight. The town had been without a bank for two years, following the Central Trust Company crash. Most tags went for 10 to 25 cents. A local physician, Dr. D. B. Sprecher, sent a volunteer’s spirit soaring by contributing a dollar. At day’s end, the tag sale had netted the sum of $51.25, the first money ever raised for the new fire company. It was the humble beginning of a volunteer outfit with much larger areas of service in its future.
$350 profit from first carnival
Enthusiasm gained momentum the week of October 2 to 8, when a small hastily arranged carnival was conducted on the lot at the south end of Sykesville’s Main Street, near the railroad station. Each night, companies from nearby towns put on pumping demonstrations and took children on fire engine rides. Operating stands were put up by carpenter David Glass and the carnival workers, chaired by Leo Chrobot, and including Nevin Ports, Maurice Berry, Almer Forthman, Charles Thompson, Lewis W. Hepner, Henry Forsyth, Frederick Church, Marion Harris, Otis Harding, Leroy Keeney, Ray Turner, Vernon Bennett and Terry Dearing. Hot dogs, cold bottled soft drinks and bingo games each cost a nickel. The young volunteers, after six evenings of hard work, thought they had accomplished something when the carnival showed a profit of $350.
Fire Truck is ordered on faith
In November, a committee from Sykesville visited the American LaFrance plant in Elmira N.Y. Acting more on faith than substance; the committee placed an order for a fire truck. The order was subject to cancellation in event the Fire Company failed to raise sufficient money. Members of the committee were J. Marion Harris, Henry Forsyth, E. Amos Ruch, J. Nevin Ports and Leo Chrobot. The cost of the 500 gallon pumper, including nozzles and 1,000 feet of hose, was $7,000.00, divided into three yearly payments.
A cold day for a celebration
Despite extremely cold weather, Thursday, December 14, 1933, was a day of celebration, marking the initial appearance in Sykesville of the town’s first piece of motorized fire apparatus. The new engine was a far cry from the small hand-operated piece of equipment used by another Sykesville group in the early 1900s. The festivities began in mid afternoon with a parade that started in Eldersburg.
Led by the new engine and the Howard County Farm Bureau Band, the procession included fire trucks from Mount Airy and Pleasant Valley, and a long line of cars, many of them decorated. Icy roads and a rash of cold weather fires kept a number of nearby companies from attending. Following the parade and continuing through the afternoon and evening, streams of proud and happy people viewed the glistening red vehicle, identified with the lettering “Sykesville No 1”.
The celebration concluded with a public dinner served by the auxiliary in the St. Paul’s social hall, and a dance in the Springfield auditorium. Both events were largely attended and financially successful.
Fire Chief Chrobot resigns
Less than a week after the new vehicle was placed into service, Chief Leo Chrobot, a yeoman worker who had sparked the movement to organize a fire company in Sykesville, resigned after only three months in office. He would return as chief, six years later, serving off and on in that office for a total of 16 years.
He was succeeded as chief of Sykesville’s freshman fire-fighting unit by E. Amos Ruch, a garage man. Henry Forsyth was elected assistant chief. The firemen also elected four regular drivers of the new truck: Roland Ely, Marion Brown, Robert Frampton and Almer Forthman.
The company responded to its first alarm on the bitterly cold evening of December 28, 1933. It was a chimney fire in a house in Eldersburg owned by Gilbert Randall and occupied by the Ernest Dixon and family.
The firemen served for several months without the luxury of such accessories as helmets, boots and turnout coats. Later, group insurance was provided. In the first few years of the local company’s operation, windshields were not permitted on fire engines.
With the later development of safety glass, a windshield was installed on the local engine; to the great relief of the members riding the front end of the truck.
Initial $2,400 payment due
The initial payment of $2,400 on the new fire truck was due January15, 1934. Despite months of hard work and the best efforts of the firemen and auxiliary, little more than $1,000 had been raised. It began to look like the unthinkable was going to happen, that Sykesville’s new No. 1 fire truck would have to be returned to the manufacturer.
The day was saved when merchants Marion Harris and Henry Forsyth, both ardent fire company enthusiasts, demonstrated a strong faith in the volunteers by endorsing bank notes, enabling the firemen to borrow the necessary money.
The following summer, the company put on a large-scale, community operated carnival on the town’s high school grounds. The event was very successful, netting over $2,000, largely on 5 and 10 cent sales. The Sykesville Volunteer Fire Company was on its way.
First firehouse is secured
In its early years, the company was housed in a small frame building at the south end of Main Street owned by the Harris family. The energetic volunteers, working evenings after their regular jobs, laid a concrete floor and restored the old structure for use as an engine house, with a second-floor meeting room. In recognition of their efforts, Mr. Harris permitted the firemen to use the building rent free, for three years. The building remained the home of the company until 1939.
Sykesville fire was painful
After four notably successful years in raising money, fighting fires and saving property, the young Sykesville Company suffered its first painful experience at the hands of fire on Thursday, October 21, 1937. 
Around 10:30a.m, flames broke out on the roof of a building only a few feet from the firehouse. Snapping into action, the firemen hooked up their engine to a nearby fire plug that piped water from the Patapsco River. They were confident a powerful stream, delivered through a line of 2-1/2 inch hose, would halt the fire within minutes.
But not this time, mud and silt from the river had closed the intake pipe of the plug. By the time the firemen, working feverishly, uncoupled the engine, drove it across the bridge and started pumping directly from the river, the windswept flames were out of control.
Before firemen and apparatus from eight companies subdue it 3 ½ hours later, the blaze had destroyed nearly a block of business establishments and overhead apartments. Only a brick building, at the north end of the block, remained.
Heavy losses were sustained
Lost in the fire were the office and apartment of Dr. H. A. Barnes, the new Forsyth food market, the Wm. M. Jones hardware store, Leroy Keeney barber shop, Edward Barnes tobacco store and pool parlor, and several second story apartments. While devastating to all who suffered loss of property and possessions, the blaze was a particularly cruel blow to Henry Forsyth, who had worked so hard and done so much to bring fire protection to Sykesville. His food store, less than two years old, was probably the most modern in the area, even equipped to produce ice cream for its fountain service. Its sudden loss jolted, but failed to break, his indomitable spirit. Within weeks, Henry Forsyth was back in the grocery business in Sykesville, this time in partnership with Celius L. Brown.
Fire Department Expands
In 1939, the Sykesville Company bought a second all-purpose fire truck and needed larger quarters. The firemen purchased the old stone store building across the street and moved into it. The sturdy structure, one of the oldest in Sykesville, was renovated by the Selby brothers, Eldersburg carpenters, to meet the fire company requirements.
Throughout World War II, it served not only as the Sykesville firehouse, but also as the civilian defense office and control center for the Freedom and Berrett districts of Carroll County.
War years bring challenge
The years 1942-1945 brought a double-barreled challenge to the Fire Company. There was the job of providing fire protection while many of the company’s active members were serving in the nation’s armed forces, and of financing operations without its chief fund-raiser, the annual carnival, suspended for the duration, due to war-time shortages and restrictions. With the cooperation of the local newspaper, the company appealed to the public for support.
The campaign met a generous response on the home front and beyond. To the happy surprise of many, checks and messages of encouragement came in from Sykesville area residents serving with American military units in various parts of the world.
Main street station planned
After the war and return to more conventional operations, the company considered razing the old stone building and erecting a new firehouse on the site. When a majority of rejected the proposal, the company purchased a third American LaFrance engine.
Later, the firemen sold the stone building to St. Barnabas Episcopal Church and began plans for a firehouse to be built on the same side of Main Street, several blocks uptown.
Construction of the two-story building was completed in the spring of 1949. Dedication exercises took place Saturday, May 14, with Thomas Arrington as master of ceremonies. Company President Edward R. Grimes and Auxiliary President Leona Burman participated. During the ceremony, the siren atop the new building sounded, and a truck and crew responded to a fire call.
Keys to the structure were presented by the four member building committee of Chairman Frank A. Dorsey, Leo F. Chrobot, Arthur C. Brown and Henry Forsyth. A bronze plaque on the front of the building was unveiled by Sandra Tucker, daughter of the late Dorsey Tucker, a veteran member and fire truck driver. The Main street fire station continued in service for 34 years before being closed and sold to house a business.
Engine No. 1 retires at 30   
Its active fire fighting days at an end after 30 years of service, the aging No. 1 truck was disposed of, making room for newer equipment.
Veterans leave office
At the end of 1962, President Edward R. Grimes declined re-nomination after 16 years of service in that office.   He continued to serve the company in other capacities. His long tenure as President embraced the building of the Main Street station in 1949, restoration of the structure and replacement of apparatus after the 1969 fire, the beginning of ambulance service in 1957, the acquisition of radio equipment for the fire house and motor vehicles and the beginning of negotiations for acreage in Florhville.
Shortly before moving from Sykesville, former chief Leo F. Chrobot was honored in 1964 with a life membership for an accumulated 26 years of service to the company he helped to organize. In 1983, he spoke at the firemen’s 50th anniversary observance.
After more than 25 years in that office, Otis A. Harding relinquished the duties of treasurer. Beginning in 1941, he served through 1969, except for 33 months while in the Army in World War II, during which time his wife, Isabella, selected by the firemen, served as Treasurer in his stead.
Softball team is formed
Beginning in mid 1945 and continuing for a number of years, the firemen channeled part of their youthful energy into the operation of a softball team. Playing at night under the lights on the Sykesville High School grounds, the team enjoyed successful seasons behind the stellar pitching of “Reds” Allender and Max Kehn.
Earlier, during the World War II years, the firemen provided recreation and raised money through a series of dances to which soldiers from Fort George G. Meade were bused as guests.
Lease of state land approved
A significant development occurred in the spring of 1964 when the leasing of approximately 22 acres of Springfield State Hospital farmland facing Route 32 and Freedom Avenue in nearby Florhville to the Sykesville Fire Company was approved by state officials.
The very favorable lease, in consideration of providing fire protection of state owned property at Springfield and the Henryton Center, was obtained for the fire company by state Senator Charles H. Smelser (D, Carroll, Frederick, Howard) and a firemen’s committee chaired by Edward Grimes.
The agreement followed negotiations with hospital officials and the state Board of Public Works. The firemen sought the land to provide ample carnival and training grounds and space for a future fire station.
Public water comes to area
Beginning in 1968, public water facilities come to Sykesville and later to much of the Freedom District. The installation of fireplugs, at strategic locations, provided the Fire Company with a welcome tool in combating fire.
The water system came much too late to help the Sykesville High School, which lost its main building to flames that broke out on the night of April 17, 1957, while the school was closed for the Easter vacation. But it proved its worth on February 24, 1969, when an afternoon blaze struck the Main Street firehouse.
One fire truck and an ambulance were literally snatched from the flames, which heavily damaged the engine room and destroyed two fire trucks. The rescued engine pumped water from a nearby fire plug, enabling the firemen to prevent farther spread of the flames until other companies arrived to help extinguish the blaze.
An equipment replacement fund was launched and eventually raised more than $22,000. This, together with insurance proceeds, permitted the company to restore the damaged building and to buy a new heavy-duty pumper and a smaller truck for brush fires.
New name, consolidation
In 1971-1972, the Sykesville Company, renamed the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department, built and placed into service Station No2 at Florhville. The operation of two firehouses proved expensive and difficult.
Ten years later, in November 1981, the firemen voted to close the Sykesville station and consolidate operations at the Flohrville location, which had possibilities for later expansion into a comprehensive fire house and community building. The idea of moving out of Sykesville met stiff opposition from townspeople, who had nurtured the Fire Company from its beginning. Their objection, it developed, was based more on community loyalty than logic.
One of the most outspoken opponents, Mayor Lloyd R. Helt, Jr., later changed his mind. At a membership banquet, the first affair in the big new building, Mayor Helt stood up and said, “I guess I’ll have to eat crow, I was wrong.” He proceeded to congratulate the group on the excellent facility and backed up his words with a check of $2,000 from the town of Sykesville.
County Association leaders
In its 52 years, the Sykesville company has produced five presidents of the Carroll County Firemen’s Association: Frederick W. Church, Walter V. Bennett, Leo F. Chrobot, Raymond E. Whiteman and Dennis E. Beard.
Two members of the Sykesville Auxiliary, Helen Chrobot and June Volkert served as county president of the women’s group.
Five times the Carroll County convention has been conducted in Sykesville, the first in 1938 and the most recent in 1980.
County assistance received
When the Sykesville Company was received into the Carroll County Firemen’s Association in 1934, the county’s yearly appropriation of tax money for assistance to the volunteer fire companies was $8,000. This sum was distributed by the association to member companies, which, in 1934 numbered nine. Sykesville’s annual allocation for a number of years was $800. 
In a more realistic approach to the growing need, the law was changed in 1949, authorizing the County Commissioners to designate 3 cents of each tax dollar for fire protection. Largely responsible for this long overdue change was Walter V. Bennett of Sykesville, then serving as president of the Carroll Commissioners with experience as an active volunteer fireman and administrative officer. To offset, in part, soaring equipment and operating costs the levy for fire and ambulance services underwent subsequent increases.
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1985, with 14 well equipped volunteer fire companies
in Carroll County and an efficient but not inexpensive Central Alarm system based in Westminster, the levy was 7.21 percent of the county’s total operating budget. In dollars, this translated into some $738,279.00, or about 19 percent of the actual cost of providing fire protection and ambulance services in the county.
Thus, while the amount of county financial assistance has been substantially increased and is expected to grow about $50,000 annually, it still represents only about one-fifth of the money needed to equip and operate the fire and ambulance services that protect county residents.
The volunteer units continue to depend on donations, carnivals, raffles, bingo and other fundraisers for most of their operating money.
Radio facilities on board
In 1953, short-wave radio facilities were installed, providing local firemen and equipment with two-way radio service. Sykesville went on the air as KGC-765. This was the first step in the development of a complex communications system that today links the local department with mobile units, neighboring companies and Central Alarm headquarters.
For nearly 30 years, the Sykesville Company relied on the faithful co-operation of local telephone operators in the receiving of emergency calls. When the local telephone service switched to dial operation on December 2, 1962, a new method of receiving such calls became necessary. An agreement was reached with the Central Alarm system of adjacent Howard County to service the Sykesville Company, pending the development of an alarm system in Carroll County.
Carroll County Central Alarm opens
At an initial annual cost of $18,230.00, the Carroll County Central Alarm system began April 15 1966 with a chief operator and three dispatchers, serving more than a dozen fire companies. Ralph Henson, Assistant Chief of the Sykesville Company, was a member of the county Central Alarm Committee. The placing of emergency calls was simplified and expedited in 1984, when Carroll joined the growing number of counties with the standard 911 telephone number for all emergency calls –fire, ambulance and police. The 911 service is provided by the telephone company, which charges its customers a small monthly fee
For the fiscal year beginning this July 1, the Carroll County Commissioners have tentatively budgeted $492,945.00 for Central Alarm and a total of $795,100.00 for the county’s fire and ambulance service.
In 1984, the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department, the second most active in the county, answered 638 fire alarms and 839 ambulance calls, for a year’s total of 1,477.
Ambulance service starts
Ambulance service by the Sykesville Company was begun in May 1957, when a new Pontiac costing $7,827.00 was purchased from a Westminster dealer. The vehicle’s equipment included a resuscitator donated by the Freedom Lions Club. In its first full year of service, the ambulance responded to 152 calls. By 1966, the yearly number of ambulance responses had tripled. In August 1961, the company acquired a demonstrator Cadillac for $8,500.00 and the old ambulance. Over a period of four years, the 1961 vehicle transported some 1,500-area residents and traveled more than 70,000 miles.
Tragic accident occurs
On October 19, 1965, after eight years of responding to calls for assistance and logging more than 100,000 miles to and from hospitals, the Sykesville ambulance service was involved in a tragic accident in Baltimore. Enroute to a city hospital at 3a.m, the Sykesville vehicle was struck broadside at an intersection by a tractor-trailer. The impact caved in the right side of the Cadillac ambulance. 
A woman relative of the patient was fatally injured. The patient and another woman passenger escaped and the ambulance crew received only minor injuries. Two weeks later, the firemen purchased and placed into service a 1965 Cadillac ambulance. The new vehicle cost $11,750.00, not counting radio equipment. After five years of arduous service, the second Cadillac was replaced in March 1970, by a GMC-Swab ambulance which provided more space for personnel, first aid supplies and rescue equipment.
Current equipment extensive  
Present equipment of the service includes two ambulances, 1979 and 1980 Ford Yankee coaches, and a 1972 International rescue vehicle. One ambulance is equipped for advanced life support with cardiac monitor, cardiac drugs and thumper, and also is supplied for non-cardiac emergencies. The other ambulance is equipped for non-cardiac emergencies – accidents, sick calls, maternity cases and injured people.
Fire fighting apparatus includes two 1,000-gallon pumpers, a 1969 American LaFrance and a 1978 Ford- Pierce, in addition to a small unit for brush fires.
Intensive training undertaken
As early as 1938, members of the Sykesville Company participated in basic courses offered by the Fire Service Extension of the University of Maryland. This pursuit of education and training has continued and accelerated through the years. Today’s members, of both fire protection and ambulance units, are competent technicians, qualified only after extensive study and training.
The Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department includes female members qualified for both fire and ambulance service. The first in the local department, and in Carroll County, was Libby Luebberman, followed closely by Elaine Holman. The 1985 active list includes seven women.
The volunteers also have been active in pursuing another basic phase of their calling, the prevention of fires and accidents. In recent years, spokesman Dennis Beard and the members have sought to bring the safety and fire prevention message to area schools, service clubs and community groups.
Fire company presidents
Since the company’s beginning, 18 members have served as President: J. Marion Harris, Frederick Church, the late J. Nevin Ports, Edward R. Grimes, Walter V. Bennett, the late Winton S. Varner, Alvin L. Howes, Calvin C. Conway, Richard T. Howes, Edwin Ridgely, the late Raymond E. Whiteman, Thomas E. Oursler, Edgar J. Holman, Richard A. Baum, Charles Lewis Sr., Patrick A. Renehan, Jan S. Carter and Dennis E. Beard.
The 12 Fire Chiefs are: Leo F. Chrobot, the late E. Amos Ruch, Walter V. Bennett, the late Leroy S. Keeney, Leon Brandenburg, Irvin Howes, Patrick A. Renehan, Gerald Rains, Leon Fleming, William F. Luebberman, John Razmus and Edgar J. Holman.
Ambulance captains since 1967 have been Glenn Whiteman, Edgar Holman, Robert Boller, George Stafford, William Fox, David Berman, Richard Baum, Steven Lamb, Elaine Holman, Gary Rains and Robert Althoff.
Company treasurers have been the late J. Nevin Ports, the late Otis A. Harding and wife Isabella, Robert Boller and Virginia Smith.
Many members join for life
Life members of the fire department, those with 20 or more years of service include: Walter V. Bennett, Wilbur Boller, Leon Brandenburg, Celius L. Brown, Leo Chrobot Frederick Church, Calvin Conaway, Almer Forthman, Woodrow Golliday, Edward R. Grimes, Ralph Henson, George Henze, Richard Howes, Russell Hughes and Karl Kearns.
Other life members are George Leakins, Eugene LeRoux, Ray McElroy, Vincent Mullinix, Thomas E. Oursler, Patrick A. Renehan, Charles Rosier, George Rosier, Louis Rosier, Selby Ruch, John Smith, Francis Stem, Sr., Francis Stem, Jr., Glen Whiteman, Clarence S. Young, Wayne Arrington, Alvin L. Howes and Gerald Rains.
Life members who are deceased are Millard Cooper, Henry Forsyth, Otis Harding, J. Marion Harris, Leslie Holman, Sr., Leroy Keeney, Louis Sandosky, Paul U. Smith and Raymond Whiteman.
Auxiliary had 17 Presidents
Seventeen area women have served as president of the Auxiliary. Margaret Shipley, the late Lillian Shipley, the late Leona Burman, the late Eugenia Thompson, the late Nettie Currens, Lucille Church, Margaret Grimes, Francis Rosier, Margaret Riley, Gail Boller, Libby Luebberman, Sharon Fleming, June Volkert, Helen Wyatt, Virginia Holman, Kathy Garey and Shirley Beard.
Shirley Beard, who headed the women’s group in 1977, and 1979 through 1981, returned as auxiliary president in 1985 to assist her husband, President Dennis E. Beard, with the many tasks involved in completing and equipping the new building. Additional 1985 auxiliary officers include Kathy Garey, Vice-President; Debbie Stockdale, Secretary; Debbie Miller, Treasurer; Terry Blaney, Historian and Virginia Holman, Chaplain. The auxiliary roster lists 102 members. 
Auxiliary life members include the late Clara Ruch, Annie Grimes, the late Ruth Ann Pickett, Margaret Riley, Frances Rosier, the late Hilda Keeney, Margaret Grimes, the late Maude Gillis, Lucille Church, the late Leona Burman, the late Lillian Sandosky, the late Molly Barnes, Polly Spencer, Marian Whiteman, Effie Brown, Hilda Ely, Mary Rosier, Virginia Evans and Gail Boller.
Carnival grounds are used
From 1934 through 1969, except for three years during World War II, a total of 32 – the annual firemen’s carnival was conducted on the public school grounds in Sykesville. The first carnival on the department’s new and much larger grounds at Flohrville was in 1970.
The year 1971, which saw the beginning of work on the Flohrville station, also witnessed the construction of a group of permanent carnival buildings. Development of the carnival facility was largely a cooperative effort with local service clubs, community groups, area trades-people and students helping the firemen with materials and labor. Students from the vo-tech center of South Carroll High School contributed greatly to the construction as part of their job training.
The carnival buildings included food stands equipped with hot and cold running water, a multiple concession stand, raffle and bingo stands and other units. Each year, the carnival facilities are updated with additions and improvements. The Flohrville grounds provide ample space for parking and for athletic events.
Flohrville expansion planned
After nine years of operating from two locations, the department concluded it would be more economical and efficient to close the Main Street station in Sykesville. This was painful for some members of the department and community to accept, but once the decision was reached, the consolidated operation at Flohrville enjoyed unified support. The next step in the firemen’s sequence of events was a much larger one – expansion of the Flohrville station into a combination firehouse and community building.
The department decided to hire a professional concern. The Hockenbury System, Inc. of Camp Hill, Pa. with Irvin C. Scullin as the local director, to lead department and community volunteers in an intensive fundraising drive. Committees were chosen to conduct the capital campaign.
Following preliminary planning, an architect, Melvin A. Arbaugh of Westminster, was retained. In January 1984, contractors’ bids for construction of the complex were opened; ground was broken March 4, 1984. The contract eventually was awarded to Stuller Construction, Inc. of Taneytown. Construction began in the spring of 1984.
The first affair in the completed building, a membership banquet and installation of officers, was last February 23. Already a substantial number of events have been booked for the new hall. Friday evenings are reserved by the department for bingo, with several area service clubs helping to provide the operating personnel.
Cost estimated at $646,960
 The total cost of the building, not counting architect fees and furnishings, was priced at $646,960.00. Extensive volunteer work, including demolition of the old station, kept the price of the new structure to a minimum. The total project involved the adding of 7,623 square feet and the complete renovation of the 3,700 square feet of the original station.
When this article was written two weeks ago, the drive was nearing the $400,000.00 mark, with more contributions and pledges coming in steadily. Actual money collected stood at $280,423.25 with $114,433.95 in pledges, for a total of $394,857.20.
The building operation is being financed with a low interest county loan, part of a public fund to assist Carroll County fire departments in acquiring new buildings and apparatus.
Generous responses welcome
The area’s response to the firemen’s financial appeal exceeded the most optimistic expectations. An appreciative population, that recognized the volunteer fire department’s commendable service and the need for a community hall, generously supported the building fund. The success of the drive surprised many people, but not members of the local Rotary Club. They pointed out the Freedom District residents always have responded well to appeals for worthy causes, either in war or peace.
In 1956, the Sykesville Rotary Club helped to organize the Rotary Club of Damascus. In 1985, professional fundraiser Irvin C. Scullin, a past president of Damascus Rotary, turned up as director of the local fire department’s capital campaign.
The capital campaign group included a steering committee, special gifts chairman and residential area leaders. The group’s honorary chairman was a veteran former fire company president and fundraiser, Edward R. Grimes. In addition to the officers, the capital campaign’s steering committee included Polly Ely, Alvin L. Howes, C. Todd Brown, Donald Champ, G. Wilbur Boller, Grayson Fleming Clarke, Thomas Bowen, Larry Duncan and William H. Hudson, Sr.
Special gifts captains were Guy Biller, Charles Bennett, Paul Grimes, J. Barry Hughes, David Hagerty, Dale Keefer, Henry Koller, Robert L. Tabler, Jr., Clyde B. Wilson and Jean Ross.
Jack Parrish and Fred Esbrandt headed the residential area effort.
Members of the building committee were Chairman Dennis E. Beard, Francis A. Stem, Jr., Gerald Rains, Mike Hill, Frank Penn, Shirley Beard, Kathy Garey and Virginia Holman.
Building dedicated on May 5
The new Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department Station and Community Building, costing nearly $700,000.00 and representing countless hours of volunteer effort, formally was dedicated last Sunday afternoon. It was the joyful realization at last of an adequate fire and community building, long hoped for by many area residents. Several hundred-area residents, along with local, county and state officials were on hand for the event.
The keynote speech was given by State Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein, who spoke about the difficult tasks fire fighters face daily. He said the volunteers have earned the respect and gratitude of the community, performing a service government could never afford to pay for today.
Among the proud and happy on hand for the momentous occasion were some who remembered that it all began, 52 years before with a firemen’s tag sale that netted $51.25.
William F. Church, a prominent Sykesville resident and businessman, is the former publisher of the now defunct Sykesville Herald.
This concludes the article written by William F. Church for the Carroll Sun, dated Sunday, May 12, 1985. Mr. Church, now deceased, Charter Member of the Sykesville Volunteer Fire Department, was a prominent Sykesville resident and businessman and the former publisher of the now defunct Sykesville Herald.
1977 - This time period witnessed an interest by many young people in the volunteer fire service. A junior fire department program was developed to accommodate them. This program has shown benefits, as many of the first members are now senior members.
1986 – A new, lighted sign was installed on the front yard of the firehouse to increase community awareness of fire department activities. A much-needed 270 square foot addition was added on to the main food pavilion on the carnival grounds. 
1987-88 – The community grows and so does the demand for fire department services. Since most of our volunteers had full-time day jobs, paid personnel were brought on board to augment the volunteer force during daytime hours. A new 1988 Wheeled Coach/Ford Custom Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance and a new 1988 Ranger/International Custom Rescue Squad were purchased and added to the fleet. 
1989 – Engine 123 - E-One/Spartan 1250 GPM Engine with 750 gallon water tank was added to the fleet.
1993 – E-One 1250 GPM Enhanced Pumper with a 500 gallon water tank and a 75-foot aerial ladder and an Excellence/International Heavy duty ALS ambulance were added to the fleet.
1994 – The first full time, paid employee, Neil Robey (CRT) was hired. The State of Maryland Board of Public Works approved the addition of a 7-acre parcel of property to the original lease agreement, including the cottage and out buildings. Sykesville hosted the Carroll County Volunteer Firemen’s Association & Ladies Auxiliary Annual Convention, hosted by Sykesville member and Association President William Gabeler. 
1996 – Duty 12 1996 Chevy Blazer was added to the fleet.
1997 – The department established a Sexual Harassment Policy. The cottage that sits on the department property was turned over to the Boy Scout Troop 417 for their use. An exhaust system was installed in the bay area to improve health and safety conditions.
1999 – Billing for ambulance service was initiated at the direction of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners. In March, with the implementation of the electronic paging system, the department’s fire siren was placed out of service. In June of that year, fire department board of directors approved an 11,000 square foot addition and a 1,500 square foot renovation to the existing building. Architect was Brosso, Wilhelm & McWilliams, Inc. 
2000 -- GRC of Westminster was selected as the general contractor for the renovation and expansion project. .
2001 – Four full-time ALS employees were added. In October of that year, the new expanded and renovated facility was officially dedicated. 
2002 – Squad 12 – Hackney Heavy Rescue was added to the fleet.
2003 – Ladder 12 2003 E-One 95’ Tower/Engine with 2000 GPM – 300 gallon water was added to the fleet. State Treasurer Richard Dixon, a Carroll County resident and former State Delegate to the MD General Assembly, assisted the department in getting the State of Maryland to award the previously leased property to the department
2004 – The department received its first U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program for $130,500 to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and a Thermal Imaging Camera.
2005 – The department hosted its FIRST EVER Firefighter Fantasy Weekend, a recruitment effort focusing on private citizens getting a “TASTE” of what it is like to be a volunteer fire fighter. A–128 and A-129, Horton Modular Series Ambulances were added to the fleet.
2007 -- Utility 12 - 2007 Ford Super Duty Extended Cab was added to the fleet.
 Brush 125 - 2007 Ford 250 Heavy Duty was added to the fleet ATV -12 - 2007 RKO Polaris/Trailer was added to the fleet. The department was awarded $29,768 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to purchase this unit and the trailer that stores the unit and transport it.
2008 – The department was awarded $95,798 grant in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters G srant program to purchase Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) equipped with Global Information System (GIS) applications.


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Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department
6680 Sykesville Road
Sykesville, Maryland 21784

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