The Deep Creek Volunteer Fire Company has been servicing the Deep Creek Lake area for 52 years. In 1966, the company purchased the current property and built the facility to begin the organization’s existence. A sign-up sheet was placed in Walt’s General Store, (the store no longer exists but was located across from the McHenry Post Office) for anyone that would be interested in starting a fire company. Once interest was gathered, the group began meeting. Before the fire hall was built, meetings were held on the second floor of the Wisp Ski Resort. The original building was funded by Garrett County Community Action. As the meetings continued and the building erected, the newly formed organization began to purchase equipment for the men.
The first turn-out gear for the company was received from the Maryland State Surplus store in Jessup, Maryland. It was really no more than rain gear. Later, Deer Park Volunteer Fire Company gave Deep Creek their used turn-out gear when they purchased new. The first fire truck was a 1956 Ford, 500 gallon pumper and was purchased from a fire company in West Virginia. In regards to activating the fire company, the method used to report emergencies was to call a dedicated telephone line located at Point View Motel (the motel has since been torn down but was located in the area what is now the Aquatic Center, just south of McHenry). The operator at the motel would call four firemen and each of those firemen would call four other members (phone calls were most often made by the women as the firemen were responding to the emergency). Today, the fire company continues to meet the demands of the local and tourist communities. Whether this service is on land or water, the fire company is prepared to address any emergency.
On April 7, 2014, the company stepped up its medical capabilities. On this date, we were able to get our utility vehicle upgraded to ALS capability. There are six members within the company that are Nationally Registered Paramedics. Because the lake is a great attraction, the company staffs 15 open water divers. These divers are trained to respond to water emergencies and recovery operations. During the year, the company actively participates in firefighting training. It is important that the volunteers remain current to provide the best service when called upon. Josh Hook, acting president for the Deep Creek Volunteer Fire Company reports that “It is important for the community to realize that the Deep Creek Fire Company is an all-volunteer company. In 2013, the members dedicated over 4,000 volunteer hours to the community of Deep Creek Lake.” In addition to the training responsibilities, the fire company is also required to meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards on firefighting equipment. In reference to these standards, Jason King, acting chief reports “there are certain costs involved with safety and the fire service. NFPA requires certain aspects of the fire service to be tested and certified annually. Each year we spend roughly $40,000.00 in testing and maintenance of our apparatus and personal protective equipment. This includes our pumps, hose, breathing apparatus, ladders, Department of Transportation (D.O.T) Inspections and repairs. Although this is expensive, it is a necessary step we must take to provide a professional service to our community and to ensure the safety of our responders.”
Recently, the company built a $900,000 addition to upgrade our 48 year old facility. As of today, the company has thirty active members that operate an engine, tower, tanker, engine tanker, utility truck, brush truck and a boat. The company also houses a county ambulance and chase unit that accompanies three county paramedics/EMT’s 24/7.