During National Fire Prevention Week, the Carlisle Fire Company in Milford hosted their annual open house in October, continuing their efforts to educate the community on fire prevention and safety. Families had the opportunity to tour the facility as well as several emergency response vehicles including firetrucks, Bowers Fire Co 40 Marine Response boat and the Delaware State Police Medical Evacuation helicopter. Every child was provided various fire prevention items from the members to take home and share with their family.
“We open our doors to let the public see what we do on a daily basis, what equipment we use, what our specific apparatus is used for,” commented Ryan Knowles, Carlisle Fire Company Public Information Officer. “It is important for the families in Milford to come out to see what we are all about, to let us teach them about fire safety, even older adults who may forget important things or learn something new. Fire safety is always changing for the better, you are never too old to continue to learn new ways to keep everyone safe.”
Milford has had a fire company since January 26, 1802 when a law passed by the General Assembly allowed Milford to incorporate a company in the city. In 1869, the town formed the Milford Hook and Ladder Company, and the company was equipped with a hand-drawn hook and ladder truck from Rumsey Company of New York. The first truck was housed in a building located behind what was then W.A. Humes Hardware Store, now home to the Mispillion Art League.
In 1918, the Milford community was rocked by news that one of their own, Paris T. Carlisle IV, had been killed during World War I near the Mense River in France. In his honor, the fire company was renamed Carlisle Fire Company on November 12, 1918. In 1925, a new firehouse was dedicated at the corner of Church and Southeast Second Streets in Milford. It was considered one of the most elegant buildings on the Eastern shore and many banquets, dances and community events were held in the large banquet facilities on the upper floors. The current firehouse, which is located on Northwest Front Street, was completed in 1978 to meet the growing needs of the fire company. Today, the Carlisle Fire Company has approximately 94 members and twelve pieces of equipment.
During the October open house, Carlisle Fire Company apparatus was dedicated to several local families to honor the service of their family to the department and the Milford community. Dedications included Tanker 42 to Donnie Evans, Engine 42- 3 to Marvin Hitch, Engine 42- 5 to Wayne Hill, Rescue 42 to Barry Fry , James Abbott , Kenny Fountain and William Chandler and Traffic Control 42 to Vale Johnson and Joseph Griffith
“Dedicating the apparatus is a tradition that the Carlisle Fire Company does every time we purchase a new piece,” stated Knowles. “We generally pick members who have dedicated their time for many years or one who have made substantial positive impacts with the Carlisle Fire Company.”
Family members and friends of those being honored through Carlisle Fire Company apparatus were present as the legacy of past and present members were honored. Ed Evans, son of Donald M. “Donnie” Evans, and his family were on site to accept the recognition.
“Eleven years has since my father passed away and this dedication reminds of the impact that he had on the community especially the Carlisle Fire Company,” commented Mr. Evans. “Although it stirs up emotions it also stirs up fond memories for our family. I am just honored that they continue to include us in such events. We are very proud of Dad’s accomplishments.”
Evans was a devoted firefighter for over forty-one years. Throughout his career he held many positions in Carlisle both administratively as well as operationally to include, President and a long-time member of the Board of Directors. Donnie held the positions of Assistant Engineer, Fire Captain, and Assistant Fire Chief. In 1976, Donnie was appointed Deputy Chief of Carlisle under Chief Marvin Hitch, a position he held for twelve years. Even though Donnie never served in the position of Fire Chief in Carlisle, he was always thought of as a chief and was recognized in January of 2003 as the first Chief Emeritus in the 201 years of the Fire Company’s existence.
An all volunteer organization, the men and women of Carlisle Fire Department are driven by their love of community and will continue to host fire prevention events throughout the year. The organization is currently accepting application for members in many different roles within the company. For more information individuals are encouraged to visit http://www.carlisle42.com.