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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
It was voted in October of 1970 to purchase a used aluminum boat and trailer from the Leipsic Fire Company for $50. This boat is still in service.

In 1971, Elbert C. Golder served as President of the Delaware Volunteer Fireman’s Association and his wife, Margaret, served as the Ladies State President. They remain one of the few husband and wife teams that the association has ever had.

Cheswold’s first modern ambulance was approved at the October meeting in 1972. The new “box type” ambulance would be built on a Dodge chassis by the Swab Company of Elizabethville, PA. The total cost would be $18,549. It would have much more room in the patient care area than the traditional station wagons previously used. It would be known until 1986 as A-43, when it was renamed B-43 and would remain in service for over 20 years.

At the regular meeting held on February 12, 1973 a motion was made by Dick Dempsey and seconded by Kevin Fleming that all company members get crew cuts, short sideburns, and clean shaven faces. The motion failed 6-8.

Chief Nickerson reported at the January 1974 meeting that the new county callboard was in operation and was handling our emergency calls. The old seven digit numbers used by Cheswold would remain in use until the new phone books came out. He also reported that any remaining fire phones that members had in their homes could be removed. Up to this time Margaret Golder had been Cheswold’s main ambulance dispatcher, taking the calls over the phone from her home.

After receiving a complaint from a neighbor about the company basketball court, Elbert Golder reported at the May13, 1974 meeting that he had moved it. He then made a motion, which was seconded by Lou Deneumoustier to put up three more basketball hoops.

On July 20, 1974 at 12:46 AM, Cheswold was dispatched to a fire at the abandoned granary at Bishop’s Corner. The five-story wooden grain storage facility was completely destroyed despite the efforts of nine fire companies. A garage owned by Doverdel Tractor located about 30 feet from the granary was saved with minor damage.

In 1974, James R. Roy, Sr. was named “Fireman of the Year” by the Delaware Volunteer Fireman’s Association. He would be the first member to achieve this honor.

After several years of work, the 1953 Reo rescue truck purchased in January of 1970 was place in service. This renovation included a new engine, paint job, and generator. Company members performed the majority of the work. It was designated as 43-6.

On April 11, 1976 engine 43-2 was responding to a reported fire on State Route 42 when they were involved in a collision at Bishops Corner. Engine 43-2 was stopped waiting for northbound traffic to yield so it could cross when a tractor-trailer failed to stop. The tractor-trailer struck a car and then went on to strike 43-2 on the passenger side of the front of the vehicle. 1st Assistant Chief Lee Severson was briefly pinned in the cab and was treated for knee injuries at Kent General Hospital. Engine 43-2 would remain out of service for an extended period of time. When it returned, it would be painted Cheswold’s new color, white.

Sawyer's Fire 1977
On May 5, 1977, Cheswold firefighters fought a stubborn blaze in Sawyer’s Apartments at the corner of Commerce Street and New Street. The fire started when a gas appliance was removed without shutting the gas off. The fumes exploded causing the fire to spread rapidly. No one was seriously injured in the fire but several animals were rescued. Seven area fire companies assisted Cheswold.

On July 11, 1977 it was approved to purchase a new American LaFrance fire engine for $104,250. It was ordered with a 671 Detroit Diesel 238 inline, five-speed transmission with fifth direct, 1000-gallon water tank, a 1500-gallon per minute pump, and a canopy cab. The new engine was delivered on August 17, 1978 and would be known as 43-3. The 1950 Ford F-8000 (Truck #4) was traded in for $4,400.

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