Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department celebrates century of serving community -- Gazette.Net


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The Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department celebrated 100 years of service with a fire truck parade and blessing of the helmets Saturday afternoon.

Approximately 100 people turned out to see fire engines from nine fire companies cruise through the town of Capitol Heights, according to Jim McClelland, president of the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department.

In addition to the modern fire trucks, two antique engines joined the parade, one from Silver Hill and another from Bladensburg, McClelland said.

Twenty “old-timers” who joined the fire department in the late 1930s and 1940s came out to the event, McClelland said.

“They were excited,” McClelland said. “It was a good, fun day.”

After the parade, fire department members gathered in the station’s quarters for a blessing of the helmets by fire department chaplain Dwayne Frost.

McClelland said the blessing was inspired by a ceremony held by a fire department chaplain in New York.

“It seemed like an interesting thing to do, a blessing to protect the firefighters and EMTs who respond to the calls, and it wouldn’t hurt,” McClelland said. “A lot of people hadn’t been to a ceremony like that, and it got good reviews.”

Although the fire department was first organized in 1905, it was not incorporated until 1914, McClelland said. Back in 1914, fewer than 20 people had joined the department, McClelland said. Today there are more than 45 active members of the fire department, McClelland said.

kpetersen@gazette.net