Fire and Rescue Company 5 Fire and Rescue Company 21
Princess Anne Courthouse Fire and Volunteer Rescue Squad
Officially chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission, as the Princess Anne Courthouse Fire and Rescue Squad on November 24, 1947, The Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad was formed by 12 residents in April of 1947, when the area was still Princess Anne County. It was formed because of the need for the service in the area. The nearest Fire and Rescue station was at the oceanfront in what was then the Town of Virginia Beach. The Farmers and citizens that started forming the squad, made several requests to the state and the National Guard which were denied for donation of a fire engine.
Mr. Frank Kellam sponsored the station a great deal in its early days. Mr. Kellam helped unite the community and raised $5000.00 and The Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad was finally able to purchase a used fire engine. The first fire truck purchased by Courthouse was on a Ford chassis and was built in the Hilltop area by the Cadis Camper Company. Mr. Cadis was also a volunteer firefighter, at the London Bridge Volunteer Fire Department.
Young Fire Equipment Company of Buffalo, New York built the first big engine. It was the first modern engine in Princess Anne County. In 1963, when Princess Anne County merged with the City of Virginia Beach, the engine was given to the Davis Corner Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad.
The first ambulance, a used Cadillac Station wagon was purchased in 1950, did not have much of the necessary equipment on board, so the members had to work hard to stock and equip it. When the squad finally had an ambulance built for them, several members went to pick it up from the factory in Dallas, Texas. While driving it home, the back wheel came off on the interstate. A state police officer and a wrecker had to help them off the road.
The original fire station was a small, old barn owned by Titus Sawyer off North Landing Road. The barn was only used to store the fire truck; there were no sleeping or living quarters. After a while, the company moved into a newer building in the courthouse complex. This building had two stories. The upstairs was used for meetings, sleeping, and living quarters. The downstairs was used to house the apparatus. The fire station was also used for social functions, such as dances and parties.
Directly behind the fire station was the County Jail. The jail was only manned with one jailer during the day, and one guard and one lieutenant at night. So the volunteers from the fire station would go over to the jail and assist the policemen with answering phones and basic help.
In 1963, when Princess Anne County merged with the City of Virginia Beach, the city decided that it needed a paid fire service. Two paid firemen were placed in each fire station. The rescue squad remained a volunteer service along with a few dedicated volunteer firefighters.
In 1988 The Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad had 33 members who volunteered 3,800 hours for the City of Virginia Beach and the 4,500 families that lived in the primary response area.
In 1999, the squad recognized that there had been heavy growth in the Red Mill and Strawbridge areas of the city. Recognizing this fact The Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad opened a rescue substation to better serve the areas of Ocean Lakes and Red Mill.
In 2007 the squad is the second largest of the 10 all volunteer rescue squads in Virginia Beach. We have a membership that total 100 plus dedicated volunteers volunteering in excess of 45,000 hours annually. The members are dedicated individuals from all walks of life who attend many hours of training to maintain their certification and continue to provide coverage 24 hours a day seven days a week; operating three Advanced Life Support ambulances out of two stations and serving a primary response area that encompasses approximately 1/3 of the city’s land mass (100 Sq Miles) and a population that is in excess of 40,000 families.
A Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Benson for the history information.