On February 6th, 1953, the home of Mr. Eugene Hoshall, located near the community of Level, Maryland was damaged by fire. As a result, citizens of the community felt they needed to organize their own volunteer fire company.
Twelve days after this fire, about 100 interested citizens from Level and nearby areas, as well as guests from other nearby fire companies, held a meeting in the social hall of the Rock Run Methodist Church to plan the first steps in forming a volunteer fire company. As a result of this meeting, a committee was formed and another meeting of the committee was arranged.
First, this committee had to decide upon a name for the new fire company - Community Volunteer Fire Company. Next, the committee elected a board of commissioners and a slate of officers, among who were Mr. William Williams, President, and Mr. Bob Knight, Fire Chief. The committee then learned that a used tank truck could be purchased from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.
On Marcy 4th, 1953, a second general meeting of interested citizens was held and the recommendations of the committee were heard and accepted with a unanimous vote. Also, at this meeting, 80 people responded to the invitation to become charter members in the newly formed fire company.
On March 9th, 1953, the members of the Community Volunteer Fire Company received their first training session in fire fighting. Firemen from Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company gave a demonstration at a reservoir belonging to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at nearby Swan Creek.
The plans to purchase the used truck from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company were finalized on April 1st, 1953. So, the new fire company at Level now owned a tank truck - a 1939 Dodge. However, since the firehouse had not yet been built, arrangements were made to keep the truck in Chief Bob Knight's auto repair garage.
Something very strange happened on their first night that the fire truck was kept in Chief Knight's garage. Was it because it was April 1st - April Fools Day? We do not know, but the newly acquired fire fighting vehicle was put into service that very night. Where? At a chimney fire in the very garage where it was parked.
Dedication and hard work caused plans to become action quickly for the newly organized fire company at Level. By the end of April 1953, work had been started to build the proposed firehouse on a plot of ground that had been donated by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Taylor.
The Construction of the new firehouse was done entirely by the members. The men worked steadily for long hours at a time, and on March 16th, 1954, the fire company held it's first meeting in it's new building.
The first elected officials were: President William Williams, owner of the Aldino Store, Treasurer George Bradfield, proprietor of the Level Store, and Chief Robert "Bob" Knight of Level Garage.
A ladies auxiliary was organize on May 21st, 1953. On February 14th, 1955, a used 1942 Cadillac Ambulance was obtained from the Joppa-Magnolia Fire Company and an ambulance service was started.
During 1965 and 1966, a new kitchen was built across the back of the original fire station. The kitchen measures 12 ft. deep by 32 ft. long with a 10 ft. by 12 ft. storage room attached.
On October 2, 1973, Community Volunteer Fire Company, Incorporated changed it's name to Level Volunteer Fire Company, Incorporated.
In December 1973, a building committee was formed to evaluate the feasibility of an addition to the existing building. After many months of numerous proposals, the committee again approached Mr. and Mrs. Charles Taylor in purchasing additional property adjacent to the fire station. After acquiring the additional property, the committee set forth in construction of the new building. The Harford County government was approached in acquiring a building loan, however that request was denied. Several members of our company assisted in the financing of the structure. Again all work was done by the members of the company. However, with the assistance of numerous private contractors, many construction obstacles were overcome at no cost to the company. During the construction of the building the Level Ladies Auxiliary prepared and served home style dinners on Saturdays to the men. The ladies would always provide drinks and hot coffee throughout the day. Ground was broken September 14th, 1974 for a new apparatus room and banquet room adjoining the original building. The structure measured 102.8ft. by 120 ft.
In 1985, a FMC / Spartan Gladiator, a 10 man cab, was purchased, thus becoming the first of its type in the county and state in all volunteer fire companies.
On August 25th, 1990, Lieutenant Thomas Weeks was killed responding to a fire Call. Lieutenant Weeks was the first county fire fighter to be killed in the line of duty.
The new station was dedicated on May 23rd, 1998. The Harford County government through county capital improvement projects presented Level Volunteer Fire Company with a check for 700,000 dollars. The total cost upon completion was 1.9 million dollars. The new structure provided approximately 25,340 sq. ft. of floor space.
1957 Membership Photo
These are the men and women who created Level from the ground up. Inspired by a single fire in their community, they created something out of nothing with their bare hands and a strong will. These men and women shall always be remembered for their persistance and hard work. They will stand as a reminder that if there is a will, there is a way.
W. Carroll Craig, Jr.
* Current Members