MCFRS News Release

Silver Spring Fire Station #1 - The Grand Opening!

After several years of planning and months of anticipation, firefighters from Silver Spring Fire Station #1 officially moved into their new four-story home on Georgia Avenue. Their new home located at 8110 Georgia Avenue in the heart of Silver Spring, Maryland is shared with other County agencies to include Montgomery County Department of Police and the Silver Spring Urban District. Many consider this $13 million multi-use County facility to be a ”Gateway to the new Silver Spring”. A commemorative grand opening is being held to celebrate this transition from old to new.

County Executive Doug Duncan notes, “This new public safety facility is a tremendous asset to the Silver Spring community”. The official grand opening of Silver Spring Station #1 will be held Sunday, July 23, 2006. Past and present career and volunteer firefighters will join Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD – 8th Congressional District), Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal, as well as other members of the County Council and Montgomery County Fire Chief Thomas W. Carr, Jr. for this memorable occasion. Roger McGary is the local Silver Spring Fire Chief and Ken Heltzel is the President of the Silver Spring Fire Department.

Some of the day’s activities will include an open house an official opening ceremony and a special appearance by “Sparky”. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Honor Guard as well as the Montgomery County Pipe and Drum Corp will also be on hand. Silver Spring “Engine 11” will be ceremoniously “housed” into the new fire station.

The Silver Spring Fire Department was formed in 1915 and was originally recognized as the Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department. Prior to this date there had been no organized community-based fire protection at which time the growing community depended on the nearby paid District of Columbia Fire Department for fire protection services. But the aftermath of a disastrous May 15, 1915 fire that destroyed the post office would change all that. A public meeting was called by the “Ladies Co-Operative Improvement Society” and resulted in the organization of the area’s first volunteer “fire company”. About twenty local men founded the first group and provided the needed protection with hand extinguishers until a hand drawn chemical engine was obtained in August 1916. The hand drawn engine was “housed” in a shed in the 8100 block of Georgia Avenue for several years. In 1918 the Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department was able to purchase the National Guard Armory located at 8131 Georgia Avenue for $5,500. The first automotive engine was acquired in 1919. Since these times this facility on Georgia Avenue has stood as Fire Station 1, under going several renovations, the last occurring in 1982.

Throughout the years, the Silver Spring Fire Department grew with the community and has been supported by hundreds of volunteers. For decades the Silver Spring Fire Department was supplemented by local career employees to help staff the fire apparatus as the community grew and the number of calls increased.

Today, Silver Spring Fire Station 1is one of the busiest in all of Montgomery County. Montgomery County career firefighters and paramedics are supplemented by volunteers who together staff an engine, ambulance and medic unit that serves the downtown Silver Spring and surrounding areas.

As evident by the new location of Montgomery County Fire Station #1, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and Silver Spring Fire Department continue to be successful and grow along with the community, in part due to the spirit and evolution of the early volunteers. Montgomery County Fire Station #1, Silver Spring is currently sustained by dedication from the present volunteer members, the career firefighters and paramedics and other support personnel assigned from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.