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Cheswold Vol. Fire Co.
371 Main St.
P.O. Box 186
Cheswold, DE 19936

Phone: 302-736-1516
Fax: 302-736-6237

Company History
On December 8, 1945 the firemen suffered the largest fire loss to date when Marker’s Hatchery burned. In spite of the efforts of Cheswold and every fire company for miles around the building was totally destroyed causing $300,000 in damage. This fire was proof to the Cheswold volunteers that they needed more and better equipment to serve their territory.

Because of the increasing amount of men joining who didn’t live in town, a new fire siren was purchased in January of 1946. The new siren was purchased from the Federal Siren Company at a cost of $436.30 and it was put into service in March of that same year. The siren that was replaced was sold to the Wilmington Manor Fire Company for $150.00.

On January 24, 1947 a special meeting was held to decide where to install the new fire phones. These phones would ring when the Cheswold fire number was dialed to report an emergency. The person who had the phone would also have a button in their house to blow the siren. It was decided to put the phone in the residence of C. W. Reynolds with an extension in Nick Sawyers residence.

On February 14, 1947 it was voted to send Elsmere Fire Company $100 to help rebuild their firehouse that had been destroyed in a fire. It was also decided to blow the fire siren every day at noon except Sunday, which continues to this day.

In 1947, the Leipsic Fire Company was formed. Cheswold had provided fire protection to Leipsic up until this point. It was decided to donate an old fire siren to the new Leipsic volunteers. The siren was delivered and Leipsic sent Cheswold a check for $35 to thank them for their gift. A motion was made to send the check back to Leipsic but when it was voted on, the motion failed and Cheswold kept the money.

In February of 1948, two all-purpose gas masks were purchased. These would be the first breathing apparatus for Cheswold. The final major purchase made during the 1940’s was on May 14, 1948 when a new engine block had to be purchased for the 1937 Reo. The cost of the new block was $427.80. To help pay for this new engine block and to help with other expenses, the fire company held carnivals during the late 1940’s. In July of 1948 Cheswold received $25 in fuel oil to thank them for their help at the Cross Roads Restaurant fire.

On October 4, 1948 a stamp was issued by the post office in honor of volunteer firemen across the country. Congressman Caleb Boggs had submitted the legislation for the stamp after the Cheswold firemen responded to his home on Christmas Eve in 1947. One of his family members had thrown some wrapping paper into the fireplace for disposal and the smoke caused a neighbor to call in the alarm. The firemen responded quickly but found the Boggs family safe.

On December 10, 1948 Nick Sawyer requested to have the fire phone removed from his home by Christmas. On Christmas night of 1948, Cheswold assisted the Citizens Hose Company of Smyrna in extinguishing a fire in the Smyrna Town Hall.

In January of 1949 it was decided to send the Bowers Beach Fire Company $5 to help with their building fund. Also at this meeting, Nick Sawyer announced that he had decided to allow the fire phone to remain in his home.

As the 1950’s began, the fire company had big plans. They needed more room to store equipment. They were in negotiations with the Dover Special School District to purchase the former Cheswold Elementary School. There also was discussion about starting ambulance service.

On the night of the January 1950 meeting the firemen were called out to a fire around 7:30 PM. While trying to get back on a fire truck at the scene, John Bamberger was struck by a car. His injuries required him to go to the hospital and he later recovered.

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