ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — A dedicated group of men and women committed to serving the Cherrydale community of Arlington County is celebrating a milestone.
The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department has been fighting fires and saving lives for over 100 years.
“We were founded in 1898 by a bunch of community members that wanted to save their properties from fires, and then the firehouse we’re standing in now was built in 1919,” Chief Christopher Jones with the Cherrydale VFD said.
The department was organized in 1898 by a group of twelve men making it the oldest volunteer fire department in Arlington County.
“Back then it was leather buckets, and horse-drawn carriages and they could just come out knocking on neighbors’ doors and huff water on the fire. But as that went on they realized ‘we really need to organize ourselves,'” Jones said.
The firehouse on Lee Highway houses about 50 volunteers who are trained to operate as firefighters, but they also respond to emergency medical calls, hazardous materials incidents, and other rescue incidents.
“We’re all trained to the exact same standard as the Arlington County professional firefighters. We use our unit to supplement Arlington County, for example, when storms came through last Monday and there were 45-50 pending calls we put our unit in service,” said Jones.
For the past century, they’ve remained active in the community.
“We host bingo nights which used to be a big staple in the community. We also have the hall upstairs that people can reserve for birthday parties, bridal showers and things like that. It’s just a place in the community that keeps people active and as a place to meet,” said Bobbi Dailey, Administrative Assistant for the Cherrydale VFD.
The department’s firehouse repairs, uniforms, and equipment are all paid for by community donations. Those who wish to contribute can click here to donate.