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PO Box 324
Port Deposit, MD 21904
410-378-4223
 

Water Witch History


The Water Witch Fire Company, INC. traces its roots back to the early 1800’s to a little known town on the banks of the Susquehanna River. At that time a small, but prosperous “Port of Deposit” had two lumber mills each containing its own fire dept. for personnel protection. However some stories arise of these “Fire Companies” responding to calls outside of the mills to private residences and other business in their time of need. These Fire Companies become known as the Friendship and Goodwill Fire Companies. Sometime later the Friendship FC and mill were destroyed in a fire leaving only the Goodwill FC to protect the Town now known as Port Deposit. As the Town grows and becomes an official town-ship in Cecil County the fire company follows suit and in 1844 the Goodwill Fire Company of Port Deposit, MD was founded as the first Fire Company in Cecil County. The fire company continued to serve under this name for many years protecting the fine citizens of Port Deposit and surrounding area until the name was changed. It is written in the minutes of a town meeting that a used horse drawn steam fire engine was purchased from the Water Witch Fire Company of Wilmington, DE after it was disbanded for unknown reasons. At that time in history it was cheaper for the fire company to change their name rather than change the gold metal lettering on the side of the steam engine.

11 July 1859 Port Deposit acquired it's first fire engine with reel and 1,500 feet of hose for $525

1880 the Water Witch Fire Company of Port Deposit, MD was incorporated. Through the next few years the fire company operated out of a three story double bay brick Fire House, the first two levels owned by the fire dept. and the third level owned by the Free Masons as a meeting hall. Through out these years we have grown and changed to meet the ever growing needs of our community.

October 12, 1923 Charles A. Morrison was elected President for the 21st consecutive year.

1964 the first ambulance was purchased from the Union Fire Company #1 of Oxford, PA and the fire company began transporting citizens to the emergency room for treatment of medical/trauma related injuries.

March 18, 1966 the fire company purchased the old Emery Buick Dealership locate a few blocks south of the brick firehouse to expand into a larger area.

1968 after extensive renovations the fire company officially opened the doors for the Buick dealership as the new fire house. As time moves on the fire company grows even more eventually adding two more bays to the rear of the building to hold additional equipment.

1980 the fire company celebrated its centennial birthday with 100 years of dedicated service.

1989 the company purchased a 17 foot Boston Whaler with a 50 HP Mercury outboard motor. Boat 772. This boat is still in service today at Station 73 designated Rescue Boat 73. Rescue Boat 73 now has a 60 HP Mercury four stroke motor.

1993 Main Street in Port Deposit was to undergo major construction in the downtown area. Station 7 was going to be affected by the construction for an extended period of time. The decision was made to construct a Station on Abrahams Road were the company owned land. Station 72 opened in 1994 and housed E712, Rescue 711, Ambulance 792 and Utility 731.

1994 Engine 711 (Rescue) was purchased from Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton Wisconsin. Pierce Saber - 1250 gpm, 750 gallons of water. Upon the purchase of Engine 711, the current 711 (the green Mack) and Rescue 771 were sold.

1996 the Company purchased Tanker 721. Tanker 721 was a demo unit from the SEMO Fire Apparatus Company. The purchase was made possible thanks to VFW Post 8185 of Port Deposit who funded the entire purchase.

1996 after the flood that hit the town and destroyed most of the contents of the first floor of Station the Conowingo Dam purchased a 14 foot inflatable boat with a ridged hull and a 40 HP Johnson motor for the company. Boat 771 was placed in service.

1998 the company opened it’s third Station, Station 73 located at 409 Rock Springs Road in Conowingo MD. At that time Station 73 operated Engine 714 (purchased from the Aberdeen MD VFC) and A793 (purchased from the Pikesville MD VFC)

2002 purchased two new custom pumpers from Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton Wisconsin at a price of $274,000.00 each. Engine 712 (Station 72) and Engine 714 (Station 7). Both were Pierce Sabers - 1500 gpm, 1000 gallons of water and 50 gallons of foam.

2004 Ambulance 791 was purchased. Pierce / Med Tec.

2005 the company received a FEMA grant to purchase 52 sets of turnout gear. The decision was made to return to black turnout gear as in the past.

2005 at a regular company meeting a motion was brought up to have the regular company meetings be held at Station 72 instead of Station 7. With the limited amount of parking at Station 7 as well as the limited amount of space the motion passed with all in favor.

2006 the company sold the boat that was bought by the Conowingo Dam to the Leedom Volunteer Fire Company of PA for a price of $5,000.00. The company then upgraded to a 17 foot Zumro inflatable Rescue Boat designated as Rescue Boat 71, housed at Station 7.

2006 the company purchased a 28 foot Boston Whaler Fire Boat from the North Point Edgemere Volunteer Fire Company of Baltimore County MD for a price of $30,000.00. The boat served as a fire boat for the Baltimore County Career Fire Department before serving North Point Edgemere.  Fire Boat 7 has two 175 HP Johnson motors and is kept in the water at Tomes Landing Marina during the boating season months.

September 2010 The 1994 Pierce Saber (Engine 711) was sold to the Three Mile Bay (New York) Fire Department for a price of $76,000.00

December 2010 The 2004 Pierce / MedTech Ambulance (791) was sold to a Private Ambulance Company.

December 2010 The new Ambulance 791 was placed in service. It is a 2010 Wheeled Coach Ambulance on a Ford F-550 chassis. Some of the features include; Kenwood Navigation System, David Clark Communication System, Bariatric transport capable, Rumbler Siren and on spot chains.

December 2010 The Company received a grant in the amount of $76,760 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The money will be used to purchase three new Thermal Imaging Cameras, fifty two Voice Emitters for our SCBA Face Pieces and a Industrial Washer and Dryer to be placed at Station 7 for our turn out gear.

 

 



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