A Historical Overview of the Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department

The Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department has served Dunn Loring and its surrounding communities since 1942.

The 1940’s

The story of Dunn Loring began with sixteen men meeting at the residence of Mr. Merle Clifford on May 11, 1942. Their purpose was to gain support for the formation of a new fire company to serve the community. It was at this meeting that votes were cast in favor of the initiative. Impromptu elections were held to appoint temporary officers and Merle Clifford was elected the first President and Chief. The bylaws used by the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department were adopted and the Dunn Loring Auxiliary Fire Company came into being.In those days, the County of Fairfax required any organization desiring to be an independent fire department to have a firehouse and two fire engines. Lacking all of the above, the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department agreed to sponsor Dunn Loring until the time came that the requisite resources could be obtained. Thus Dunn Loring was to be known as an auxiliary fire company to the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.

To help Dunn Loring get started, Vienna loaned a pickup truck for their use. In 1943, after many efforts to secure a fire engine the Civil Defense Administration donated the company’s first fire engine, a Chevrolet. Since the company did not have a building to house the pumper, President Clifford volunteered to house it in his service station, Clifford’s Garage, located at Route 7 & Dunn Loring Road (now Old Gallows Road).

Later that year in October, Mr. G. Albert Merry donated a parcel of land to the members of Dunn Loring located at the intersection of Gallows Road and Hunter Road (now known as Cedar Lane). It was also during that month’s membership meeting that the first discussion occurred regarding a ladies club to help support the fire company. This was to later be known as the Dunn Loring Ladies Auxiliary. In November the company made its first purchase, a fire engine.

Nearly a year later the work began on the first firehouse. In 1944, a cistern and well were added to provide water for the tanks onboard the fire engines. In April of 1945, another major milestone was reached when an agreement was signed with the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company to provide direct telephone connection to the siren mounted above the firehouse. This service allowed a relay to trip the siren calling the volunteers to service.

The first record of the total number of fire calls surfaced in the minutes of the December 1944 membership meeting. Fifty alarms were rung out of which twenty-one occurred in March alone. It was reported that an average of seven men responded to each call with an average of 250 volunteer hours per firefighter for the year.

By the summer of 1946, the ranks of the company had increased to 100 members. Efforts began to secure a second pumper for the company thus providing Dunn Loring the opportunity to become an independent department. By January of 1947, the process was completed and a charter was sent to the State Corporate Commission in Richmond for approval. The Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated, had entered a new phase of its life. In October the new Maxim X-50 fire pumper arrived bringing the compliment of apparatus up to two fire engines. This new state-of-the-art pumper had a 500-gpm pump and was built on a GMC chassis.

It was in February of 1948 that the first mention of paid firefighters was recorded. The Board of Trustees of the fire company voted in support of a proposal to place a paid firefighter in every station in the county. Over a year later, Anton Groff, a member of the department was selected from a pool of three candidates to be the first paid firefighter stationed at the Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire Department (DLVFD). He worked from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday each week with Sundays off and seven paid holidays for a salary of $2,520.00.

On June 19, 1948, the ladies of the department made the important decision to form as a separate organization under the charter of the department and thus the Dunn Loring Ladies Auxiliary came to be. At a meeting held at Mrs. Merle Clifford’s house, bylaws were adopted and the first officers elected. Mrs. Alma Groff was elected as their first president. It was the intent of the twenty-two founding members to create a support organization to raise money for the department and to plan recreational activities. As a result of their early efforts, the auxiliary helped to purchase the department’s first ambulance, a 1937 Packard LaSalle, and a new fire engine. They also contributed monies to install a drainage field and septic tank for the firehouse.

By 1949, the number of fire calls had risen to 139, up from 98 the year before. The department was under new leadership after the resignation of Merle Clifford, due to his relocation out of the area. President Clifford, the founding father of Dunn Loring was made president emeritus and bestowed with life membership.

The 1950’s

As 1950 rolled in the membership count was at 68. A total of 48 fire and 145 ambulance calls were run. The department purchased a new ambulance, miscellaneous equipment and made numerous plant improvements all totaling $23,000. Plans for an addition to the building began.It was not until 1951 that mention was made of the number thirteen being assigned as our company number. An appraisal of the department set the value of the property, building and equipment at $50,000. The county’s support of the department totals $4,910 designated for utilities, repairs, and equipment purchases. In addition, the Fire Board (now known as the Fire Commission) paid for the Cadillac LaSalle ambulance to be painted while the department’s Packard ambulance was decommissioned. The Ladies Auxiliary established a building fund to help in the expansion of a fast growing department, and a Boy Scout Explorer post was sponsored by the department.

In 1952, an addition was built to the original firehouse. The efforts of the Ladies Auxiliary resulted in a $1000 donation to the building fund. Additionally, a new steam table, stove, fifty chairs, dishes, cutlery, a three-way sink, miscellaneous kitchen equipment and mimeograph machine were purchased. A central fire control system was installed in firehouse to control the siren which sounded 338 times during the year representing 128 fire and 210 ambulance calls.

Modern restrooms were added to the firehouse in 1953. A second ambulance, Chrysler, was purchased with assistance from the auxiliary and an automatic door opener and light illuminator was installed in firehouse and linked to the siren. This was the year that the first liability policy was executed for the department and the first mention of the firehouse being used as a voting location for governmental elections.

A rescue squad was formed in 1954 with 19 men. The total department membership now stood at 114. The Ladies Auxiliary was growing quickly as well and totaled 127 members. That year they solicited bids for construction of a new kitchen. A new warning siren to call the volunteers to duty was installed, and the 1937 LaSalle ambulance was sold. It was noted that Fairfax County, now with a population of 135,000 people and growing, was becoming a strain on fire and rescue resources countywide.

The department voted to sponsor a group to form the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department (JVFD) in 1955. Much as the DLVFD was an auxiliary company to Vienna in the early days, the JVFD, now know as Company 18, would need to acquire a building and two pumpers before being recognized as an independent fire department. At Company 13, a concrete front apron was installed to replace the gravel apron and a Maxim Model 1417, a 750-gpm pumper, was purchased at a cost of $17,593. Overall the department ran 145 fire calls for the year.

In 1956, improvements were made to the side parking lot. The JVFD met the prerequisites and became its own department. A 1946 Ford truck was purchased and converted into a crash truck to haul extra equipment to incidents. Mr. John Z. Davis, a founding member, an active Director on the Board, and former Chief dies.

Politics in the fire service were not uncommon back in 1957. The Board of Trustees voted to oppose a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to sit on the Fire Board. The department successfully convinced the state to install a signal light at Route 7, Leesburg Pike and Dunn Loring Road. A new overhead bay door, a police radio, and a water fountain were purchased. The Maxim GMC pumper and Ford pickup truck were repainted, new hose racks installed, and a GMC pumper from Silver Hill Fire Department was purchased. The total number of fire calls was 194, while the ambulance responded to 364 calls.

1958 saw the formation of the department’s bowling and baseball teams. Changes were made to unit designators: ambulances were now called “rescue”, squad trucks would now be called “squad trucks”, and ladder trucks would simply be called “trucks”. When dispatched, the designator would be followed with the company number, for example: Rescue 13. To avoid confusion, the police requested all fire department members be identified on scene with identification cards or badges. Meanwhile, the use of red lights and fire tags on privately owned vehicles was rescinded. The department sold the Ford pickup truck and Company 13 ran 181 fire calls and 365 ambulance calls that year.

It was in 1959 that the department traded the 1953 Chrysler ambulance for a 1960 M&M Cadillac ambulance. The GMC pumper was converted to squad truck. A 45- by 60-foot addition to the building was constructed. A motion was carried by the membership to paint “Fairfax County” on side of Dunn Loring apparatus. This was the first year paid firefighters were placed in the department by the county. Selected by the Board of Trustees and paid by the county, three firefighters were now in the station to provide staggered coverage from 0700 to 1900 hours Monday through Friday. The first paid firefighters were all previously volunteers and remained members of the department. In a growing trend, ambulance calls were up by 63 to a 1959 total of 428.

The 1960’s

In 1960, a change to the bylaws made it permissible for paid firefighters to hold elected office in the department, except as a line officer. The Ladies Auxiliary bought new furniture for the addition to the firehouse. The minimum age for a volunteer was raised to eighteen. Due to extended response times, the Board of Trustees drafted a letter to the Fire Commission requesting permission to build an auxiliary firehouse in Merrifield, but it was denied. A night standby crew system was implemented and the first Bingo games, called Lingo for legal purposes, were held at the firehouse on Wednesdays run by both the firefighters and the auxiliary. A total of 207 fire calls and 476 ambulance calls were run, and founding member, Carl Plaugher, Sr. dies.A welfare fund was established in 1961 to provide one dollar per member per year that, in turn, would provide fifty dollars to survivors of a member of the fire department killed in the line of duty. The department purchased a 1961 Mack 750-gpm, 500-gallon tank, fire pumper. Improvements were made to the bunkroom bath. By now the department had dipped in numbers and now stood at 87 members. The Board of Trustees requested a fourth paid firefighter.

The first request to station a ladder truck at Company 13 was sent to the Fire Commission in 1962. The request was denied and the truck sent to the lower end of the county. The county selected a site for the planned training academy. Collision insurance was purchased to cover drivers and a county firefighter blood bank was established. New covers were installed over the doorway entrances, the building was painted, a donated clock was installed over the door at front of building, the roof was repaired, forced ventilation was installed in the restrooms, vents were installed in the bunkroom, and new bunks were purchased. A driver test was developed in order to sign off drivers. The fourth paid firefighter was added to the station compliment, and a committee was formed to look into plan for a new fire station. Founding member and past president John J. Meyer was made a life member. The department ran 226 fire calls and 454 ambulance calls.

In 1963, Anton “Pop” Groff, the first paid firefighter at Dunn Loring retired. The first mention of a paid county fire chief, to act as a liaison between the Fire Commission and the volunteer departments, surfaced. It was clearly stated that the position would not interfere with the business of the individual departments. Later that year, the department voted in favor of the position and backed George Tacey as the candidate. The Fire Commission’s system of representation changed from one person per volunteer department to one per magisterial district. The Fireman’s Association, now known at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Association, requested the volunteer departments to coordinate their fund drives to run simultaneously in order to avoid confusion.

A severe money shortfall hit the county fire and rescue budget in 1963. As a result, the petition presented to the Board of Supervisors by the department for paving and improvements to Wolftrap Road was turned down. Six volunteer members became the first to complete a radiological monitoring course. This course was taught to prepare men in the county to be able to respond to a nuclear attack. A new warning siren was installed, and the Ladies Auxiliary, on behalf of the department, purchased a 1963 International ambulance. The firehouse was painted inside and out, the roof was repaired, and screen doors were purchased and installed. 1963 was also the first year to see organized drills and the formalization of the position of drill instructor. A significant increase was seen in the total number of calls: 371 fire and 608 ambulance. An astonishing 245,238 hours were volunteered. Sadly, founding member Dr. Thomas P. Martin died.

The first policy allowing a paid crew to respond without volunteers was adopted in 1964. Deemed necessary by Chief Carl Plaugher, Jr. to ensure a rapid response time, the first engine would leave the station with a paid crew and volunteers would staff the subsequent units. The department purchased the property adjacent to the firehouse belonging to member Albert Ludwig. A new resuscitator was acquired for the ambulance and a new respirator for the firefighters. Requests for the Ladies Auxiliary to provide food at nighttime firefighting incidents began and help initiate the creation the canteen service. Saturday night Bingo started and the department requests a fifth paid firefighter. Glenn A. Gaines, later to become Fairfax County’s Fire Chief was selected to be the 5th paid firefighter.

The existing firehouse, a series of buildings joined together over the first 23 years of the department’s history, was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and no longer met the demands of one of the top five busiest fire stations in the county. So, in 1965, planning began for a new fire station. After much discussion with the county over location of the new station, the decision was made to build right behind the existing structure. An architectural firm was commissioned and the process began. It was in this year that the first discussions occurred regarding the official designation of paid firefighters as day crew and volunteers as the night crew. Requirements were made by the chief that volunteers must ride a minimum of three nights per month. A sixth paid firefighter was added to staff after arguments with the county over the abolishment of the eligibility list. The county assumed payment for fuel and revised operating procedures to differentiate between wagons and engines. The department began issuing calling cards on each call run, and as a sign of the times, began allowing colored people to get water at the firehouse. Ambulance calls for 1965 topped at 675.

The use of red warning lights in privately owned vehicles was further restricted in 1966 and not allowed at all in the Town of Vienna. Standard operating procedures were changed to require three firefighters on an engine before it could depart the station. The county began insuring all fire apparatus including volunteer owned pieces and began standardizing uniforms worn by paid staff. In an effort to show their appreciation to volunteers, the personal property tax on personally owned vehicles was now assumed by the county. 1966 was also the year a seventh paid firefighter was added to the staff at Dunn Loring. As a new requirement, the county now required the department to select paid firefighters from an eligibility list, or face losing all of their paid staff. Wayne Hess became the first disabled volunteer voted into the department.

In 1967, the board and membership voted to make the treasurer an ex-officio member of the board. The approval was given and construction began on the new fire station. A hall rental committee was formed to manage the business of the hall and maximize the financial gain that can be realized from its rental. The department purchased a 1964 Cadillac ambulance and shifted the fund drive strategy from door-to-door to mailings. While a eighth and ninth paid firefighter were added to staff, new minimum standards were set for firefighters. Red warning lights were restricted to Dunn Loring’s first due area for its members.

The county established a new rank for paid firefighters called technician and Charles Mills became the first one at Dunn Loring in 1968. Glenn Gaines transferred out of Company 13 to become a technician elsewhere in the county however he continued his membership as a volunteer. The membership voted to have a monthly board meeting and opened them to the general membership. The board voted to accept the new county uniform standards for the paid staff, disapproved of the concept of a battalion chief, opposed new county enforced apparatus specifications and officially requested the assignment of a ladder truck to Dunn Loring. Meanwhile, at the county level, discussions occurred about the legality of fire departments running Bingo. Not discouraged, the department purchased a new Bingo machine. In October of 1968, the new building was dedicated and occupied. That same fall during a dance the social hall was fire bombed. A group of poor people camped in the properties behind the station were suspected of the incident. The department purchased a new Oren pumper and sold the old GMC while fire calls soared to 677 and ambulance calls to 933.

In 1969, a Jeep for use in brush firefighting and a new Chevrolet ambulance were purchased. The county purchased a new ladder truck and assigned it to Company 13. The paid firefighter compliment increased to fourteen with shifts now covered into the night. Two additional firefighters were expected to be on staff by the year’s end. Lt. Curtis Miller became the first paid Captain assigned at Dunn Loring, transferred from Great Falls. The board voted to pave the parking lot around the new building, sponsored a Boy Scout troop, and censured the Penn Daw Volunteer Fire Department for turning over its property, facilities and assets to the county.

The 1970’s

1970 signaled the beginning of significant change for volunteers in the county. A report commissioned by the county questioned the future of the volunteer service in Fairfax County. While concerns mounted over the report, the county assumed maintenance for all fire and rescue apparatus operating in the county. A new dispatch system was implemented and due to concerns over insurance for volunteers, the board approved the purchase of workman’s compensation style coverage. The Cadillac ambulance was sold and Bingo duty was made a requirement of membership as a volunteer. The department instituted life service awards and pins were given to members for every five years of service. Past chief Russell Burke dies.Further additions were made to the new building in 1971. A new ceiling and trophy cases were added to the social hall, and new furniture was purchased for the day room, which was also newly paneled. The parking lot was sealed and the firefighter’s kitchen was remodeled. The Ladies Auxiliary paid for an extension to be built on the social hall kitchen. The board voted to purchase a new Chevrolet ambulance. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap Farm Park burned to the ground in one of the largest fires in recent times. Chief Alexander became the new fire chief for Fairfax County and established a new dress code. Street tests became a requirement for all drivers and red traffic signals could no longer be run during an emergency call. The county moved to regulate volunteer battalion chiefs.

In 1972, the board approved the chief’s requirement that riding members must participate in 15% of all fire calls between the hours of 1800 and 0600 (approximately 35 calls) annually to remain in good standing. In addition, a probationary committee was formed to monitor the rookie members of the department. Paid staff were formally integrated into the chain of command by the chief, and the county implemented a 4-1-1 response for commercial fire calls and a 3-1-1 for residential fire calls. Units began running both directions on Beltway calls to reduce response times. A fifth paid firefighter was added to the night shift bringing the career compliment up to seventeen. The department replaced the gasoline tank, purchased a gas explosion meter, and installed new gear lockers and shelves in the storage room. ChemTREC began service in 1972 and made a presentation to the department. The Fireman’s Association merged with the Volunteer Fire Chiefs Association. Glenn Gaines resigned from the department and was made an honorary life member. Tysons Corner Center falls victim to a major underground fire exposing dozens of firefighters to deadly carcinogens.

The department changed the color of firefighter’s helmets to black, while the county issued red helmets for probationary firefighters in 1973. EMT training began in the county. Volunteers were encouraged to gain certification, but the first class for volunteers was canceled mysteriously. On their own initiative, the department held its own EMT class. The first paid EMT was assigned to Dunn Loring bring the staff to eighteen, six per shift. Direct radio contact for relaying patient information was established with the hospital. The state’s 30-hour fire school was made a requirement for any riding member. Volunteers were required to take a physical examination and many ending up failing it. Much discussion occurred over the course of the year in regards to this issue and how volunteers could meet the requirements of the state’s Heart-Lung Bill. Women were welcomed to join the rescue squad in 1973. A mutual-aid agreement was signed with Wolf Trap Farm Park. The Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department ceased to run calls into Fairfax County resulting in an agreement with Arlington County to share coverage of the area left unattended. This was the year that the Ladies Auxiliary started to have difficulties with their membership and asked the board to intervene. Despite the difficulties, the auxiliary purchased two new Sentry ambulances for the department bringing the amount of their contribution over the past six years to $70,428.90. Two existing ambulances were decommissioned; one being sold and the other converted to a canteen unit for the auxiliary. The first chief’s car was purchased this year. Bingo permits were issued to allow legal operations, and the department hired an off-duty, uniformed police officer to be present during the games.

Two more paid firefighters (one being an EMT) were added to staff in 1974 bringing the total compliment up to twenty-one, or seven per shift. The county capped the staff at that number due to the limitations of the facility. The energy crisis being experienced by the nation began to take its toll on the fire service requiring changes in the running orders. The Board of Trustees requested the county provide a new pumper, but then reversed itself and refused to accept one after the county placed specification requirements on new apparatus that would qualify for the stipend proposed to increase from $2,500 to $4,000. The board voted to donate the Maxim pumper to the Fairview Beach VFD after attempts to repair it became too costly. Two new ambulances were purchased from Roadside Emergency Vehicle Corporation. The county requested the department allow them to review the bylaws over concerns about discrimination and use of public funds. No problems were found and only a minor inclusive statement was suggested for inclusion. David Banks became the first volunteer EMT and later became nationally registered.

Author’s Note: The minutes for August 1974 through December 1975 have been lost providing no official record of the department’s activities.

Sometime between 1974-1975, the first woman was voted into the rescue squad. Initially, there were no female facilities allowing daytime duty only. Later, accommodations were provided in the line office through use of a cot and a lock on the door. Lengthy discussion occurred during board meetings on whether female members would be allowed to bunk in the same room as the men. This was permitted for a short period, but the women were required to sleep fully clothed. A chronic problem with roof leaks prodded the board to take action and several lawsuits were filed in 1975. The department purchased two Ward-LaFrance Ambassador Custom 1500 pumpers for $79,000 each. These were the first units at Dunn Loring to be painted yellow and white. In order to help finance the purchase, the 1961 Mack and 1968 Oren pumpers were sold. The fire bell was removed off one of the pumpers and saved for ceremonial purposes. The department purchased a couple of portable radios while the county announced the discontinuation of radio ten-codes and signals and converted to plain language. It was also during this year that the county required volunteer compliance with county general orders. The rank of volunteer assistant chief was no longer part of the county’s chain of command. The Fire Commission approved the waiver of the five-year qualification for volunteer chief in individual circumstances. The Chantilly VFD, Company 15, was turned over to county. The first DLVFD Policy and Procedures Manual was issued.

In 1977, the first Tuesday of each month was set as the official Board of Trustees meeting night. The Fire Commission adopted the new county EMS plan. The department started sending letters to those patients receiving services in order to try and generate further donations. JKJ Chevrolet established a program through which it donated $2500 annually to the department towards maintenance of the apparatus. An automatic closing system was installed on bay doors to prevent the firehouse from being left open after apparatus departed. The board decided to go on record opposing the proposed Merrifield Fire Station 30, as it will infringe upon Dunn Loring’s first due area. Starting this year, the county required an ambulance to stand by at high school football games. Dunn Loring pledged to cover the games at George C. Marshall High School.

The Boy Scout Explorer post was reestablished in 1978. The board set a spending limit of $1,000 for the chief and president, and authorized the refurbishment of one of the two Roadside Emergency Vehicle ambulances. By this time twenty-six paid firefighters were on staff at Company 13.

1979 saw the reorganization of the battalion structure with the opening of county fire stations 29 (Tysons Corner) and 30 (Merrifield). Company 13 was moved into Battalion 2. As a result, Truck 13 was permanently moved to Company 30 along with a paid firefighter. The utility was sold and JKJ Chevrolet donated a 1979 Malibu station wagon to be used as the chief’s car. The firehouse was painted; new carpet was installed in the bunkroom, new grates for the apparatus bay drains and a new roof was installed. The department purchased two portable radios. After three months in office, Chief Boles resigned his position and David Banks was elected to succeed him.

The 1980’s

The county moved a light unit to Company 13 from Company 29 in 1980. The IRS questioned the department’s tax-exempt status. Form 990s had not been filed for years and the IRS would have to make a new ruling. A special use permit for Bingo was issued to the department by the county with $50,000 cap on gross revenue. The department donated its siren to the Whitestone VFD. The board authorized the purchase of a steam cleaner, a range and ice machine, and re-paved the parking lot. The county’s volunteer battalion chiefs resigned in protest over the new rank structure and chain-of-command. To resolve the tax-exempt problem, the membership ratified a new corporate charter. The county issued new helmets for volunteers and new SCBA to the stations.In 1981, a new chief’s car was obtained in a trade with JKJ Chevrolet. A parcel of department property adjacent to Gallows Road was deeded to the state for $27,033 in support of Gallows Road Improvement Project. A 1981, Ford F-350, Road Rescue ambulance was purchased for $40,300 and the 1974 utility was sold. The Fire Commission denied a request for a 24-hour schedule for paid firefighters. The station furnaces were rehabilitated.

The most significant event of 1982 was the fire at Wolf Trap Farm Park. This was the second time in the department’s history a major fire occurred at this entertainment complex. This was the year the county commissioned a report of the fire and rescue service resulting in a recommendation for reorganization. Dunn Loring rehabilitated one of the two Ward-LaFrance pumpers at a cost of $58,000. JKJ Chevrolet donated another station wagon to replace the chief’s car. A dozen lockers were ordered for the volunteers, while painting was accomplished throughout the interior. Ten new Motorola Minitors were purchased as well as a new Bingo machine. The roof was replaced at a cost of $10,000 and a new HVAC system for the living quarters and hall kitchen was purchased. Aware of the strain placed on the current livings quarters and 12 years of wear on the overall facility, a survey of the property was completed and plans for possible renovations began. Meanwhile the board granted an easement to the state to install a traffic signal on Gallows Road in front of the firehouse.

The planning continued in 1983 with an engineering study conducted of the firehouse to determine potential modifications. New exterior lighting and carpeting in the living quarters was installed. A second display board for the Bingo machine was purchased. The Fire Commission reorganized and Dunn Loring was now in Zone IV with Companies 1 and 12. The Jeep brush unit was retired and donated to the Fortsmouth VFD in Strasburg, Virginia. The Ladies Auxiliary at the cost of $12,000 purchased a new Jeep brush unit from Tyson’s AMC/Jeep. Work on the skid, warning lights and plow were to be accomplished by various vendors. The second Ward-LaFrance was retired and a new pumper from Seagrave was purchased at a cost of $143,000. The old utility was sold and the old chief’s car became the new utility. J&J/Conway of Pennsylvania rehabilitated the other of the Roadside Emergency Vehicle ambulances. The county raised the apparatus stipend from $6,500 to $10,000. Five new Motorola Minitors were purchased and additional shelving was built in the storage room.

In 1984, the county made some significant changes impacting the volunteer system. The tones that trigger the Minitor radios, which replaced the need for a siren, were discontinued. In addition, a new volunteer training program was implemented. All incumbent volunteers required certification within a year’s time. After a short battle, the county reinstated the tones, but due to problems, they didn’t work properly and ultimately the tone generator had to be replaced. The older Ward-LaFrance was sold for $40,000 to a department in Pennsylvania and the older Roadside Emergency Vehicle ambulance was sold to Fortsmouth VFD for $2,500. A Mobile Medical ambulance was purchased to replace it for $50,000. The traffic signal was installed in front of the station, the front ramp was sealed and a new HVAC unit was installed in the conference room. Chief Banks reports that there were seventeen certified volunteer firefighters actively involved in the department.

The canteen service was started in 1985 and run by the Ladies Auxiliary using the utility. The chief’s car was turned into the new utility when JKJ Chevrolet donated half of a new car with the other half paid by the auxiliary for $5,500. The auxiliary was given full responsibility for the annual banquet at their request and was granted a standing invitation to the department’s board meetings to help improve communications. New furniture was purchased for the day room, remote controls were installed for the traffic signals, a cage was installed in the hall storage room, and the steel exit double doors were replaced in the hall. The monthly membership meeting was permanently moved to the second Monday of each month.

In 1986, the county replaced Light Unit 13 with a new Emergency One Light & Air Unit. 100 chairs, 2 portable radios and 2 beepers were purchased. A safety cage was installed around the ladder in hose tower. The Ladies Auxiliary purchased a 1986 Chevrolet step-van for the canteen. A cost estimate and site plan for station renovations were commissioned by the board.

The first cellular phone was leased for the chief’s car in 1987. The Ladies Auxiliary purchased a new Bingo machine and two display boards. An application for a site plan waiver was filed and approved, however a zoning exception was required. The roof on the apparatus bay, hall and kitchen was replaced for $64,000.

When 1988 rolled around, a Chevy Blazer was purchased from JKJ Chevrolet for $10,000. In a major milestone, the note on 1968 mortgage was paid off. The department purchased a 1988, Ford F-350, Mobile Medical ambulance for $67,046. The Ladies Auxiliary split the cost of a new copier with the department. The Planning Commission approved the renovation plans. Cigarettes were no longer sold in the department and the operation of kitchen was turned over to the Ladies Auxiliary. The board, at a cost of $14,000, approved new apparatus bay doors, and gave the go-ahead to begin contracting and financing the renovations pending zoning approval.

The contract for building construction was signed with the general contractor in 1989. The county added three new radio channels requiring all radios to be converted; the volunteers paid for the volunteer radio change over. Construction began on the renovations. A new county program for volunteer physicals began. Sandy Werner became the first female board member. A major fire occurs at Fairfax Hospital. The county supplied a new refrigerator for the living quarters. The fund drive was turned over to a consultant. The department’s charter was changed to reflect eleven board members instead of ten, as they had been operating. The county recognized the Ladies Auxiliary for its canteen service. A new Bingo TV verification system was purchased. The renovations and addition were completed, resulting in the conference room being turned into the Ladies Auxiliary office.

The 1990’s

In 1990, the Fire Commission and Board of Supervisors approved a Length of Service Program (LSOP) and Personal Property Tax exemption for volunteer fire and rescue workers, however the LSOP was never funded. Employee identification numbers were issued to volunteers in order to track hours for both programs. New rules and regulations were issued for Bingo, and the county installs a new emergency generator. The department’s annual fund drive was now done three times a year. Office furniture, twelve Monitors, and a computer and printer were purchased. The building exterior and apparatus bay were painted. The parking lot was re-paved at a cost of $75,000 and the firehouse was officially dedicated at the annual banquet.The death of Chief Isman and the appointment of Glenn Gaines as his successor marked the arrival of 1991. The department switched its fiscal year to an October-September schedule. A new stove was purchased for the social hall kitchen and a large screen TV for the dayroom. New uniforms were issued to both paid and volunteer staff. The old furnace room and line office were renovated to create additional storage space, and the property was landscaped to help improve its appearance. The President of the United States, George Bush, recognized Robbie Allen, President of the Ladies Auxiliary, for her volunteerism. And the auxiliary sold its 1979 utility to purchase a new minivan.

In 1992, Robbie Allen died and the social hall was named in her memory. The department ordered a new Pierce Arrow pumper and filed for tax-exempt status in order to obtain low interest loans, but the initiative fell through due to legal complications and hesitancy by the county to approve it. A new ice machine was purchased. The station was struck by lightening damaging some electrical equipment. The county’s 20-hours orientation program was started and the board sets the minimum age for operational members at 18 years old.

Chief Banks resigned in 1993 after 15 years as the department’s chief operational officer, the longest period served consecutively by any one person. Many improvements and repairs were made to the facility including: a new sign at the front of the property, heaters in the social hall coat room and Bingo office, a new bay door to replace one damaged, new exhaust fans in the social hall, lights for the flagpole and map boards in the control room. Volunteers were issued pagers and food was discontinued at the monthly meeting to conserve funds.

The first automatic early defibrillation (AED) unit was purchased by the department for the fire engine in 1994. The remaining 1976 Ward-LaFrance was sold and two new Excellance Ford E-350 style ambulances were purchased. The two Road Rescue ambulances were traded in. The LSOP program was discontinued due to illegalities. A policy and procedures manual was implemented for volunteers. A new computer, printer and copier were purchased, as well as three new portable radios. The social hall was painted, stage re-carpeted and new furniture was purchased for the dayroom.

In 1995, the board voted to change the department’s name by adding “and Rescue” to better define its mission. It was found that the department’s attorneys failed to renew the corporate charter in 1992 due to an oversight. The problem was corrected and the board ratified all decisions made over the past three years. Susan Hurley was elected the first female president of the department. The county changed its rank structure dropping the rank of sergeant and made all shift leaders Captains. A new computer, washing machine and CPR mannequin were purchased, the later by the Ladies Auxiliary. The reserve engine was outfitted with advanced life support (ALS) equipment. A ramp from the front parking lot to the apron was added to provide a safer means of entry for units returning to the station.

The county launched two major initiatives concerning volunteers in 1996: the EMS Only and overtime offset programs. The EMS Only pilot allowed volunteers to ride basic life support (BLS) units without a firefighter certification. The overtime-offset program was initiated to provide scheduled front-line riding opportunities for volunteers while helping to reduce the overtime budget. The coverage for performances at Wolf Trap Farm Park was opened to all county volunteers after years of coverage solely by Dunn Loring. The county apparatus stipend was increased to $18,000 with an additional $2000 coming from grant money. A new Bingo machine was purchased.

In 1997, Dunn Loring for the first time placed in service a BLS unit in support of the EMS Only program. The county installed a new emergency generator for the fire station.

The 1983 Seagrave pumper was rehabilitated for the second time in 1998, in lieu of purchasing a new pumper. A lack of financial planning over the past decade placed the department in the difficult position: to extend another loan with three already in place. The board decided to be conservative at that time, and instead to initiate a new budget program to plan for both operational and capital expenditures. Surplus funds from 1997 and prior years were devoted to facility improvements to correct long neglected problems. The men’s locker room was tiled, replacing the carpet damaged by several overflowing toilet incidents. In December, Chief Gaines retired as the county fire chief.

In 1999, Chief Edward Stinnette was named the new county fire chief after serving as the assistant chief for many years. The volunteer utilization plan that had been under development for two years was adopted thereby formalizing the use of volunteers as part of a combination fire and rescue department. A subset of the plan provided the battalion chiefs more authority over the utilization of volunteer resources, and officially incorporated the volunteer chiefs into the battalion management system. The Fire Commission voted to require volunteers to complete a physical examination every year and to subject new volunteers to a county background investigation. The EMS Only program graduated from pilot status and made a formal part of fire and rescue operations. A plan to incorporate ALS provider into the EMS Only program was begun. A second AED for the reserve engine was procured through grant funds. The county apparatus stipend was increased to $25,000. At Dunn Loring, new doors in the Bingo hall and new shower stalls in the men’s locker room were installed. The board voted to hire a professional fund raising consultant to begin a multi-year capital campaign.

Currently, the Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and Ladies Auxiliary boasts 80 active members and over several dozen inactive life members contributing over 29,000 hours a year. With assets of nearly $2.5 million, it continues to play a major role in providing fire and emergency medical services to the approximately 22,000 citizens of the Dunn Loring area, and the over one million people in the greater community of Northern Virginia.

Dunn Loring operates two fire engines, two ambulances, a brush unit, a canteen and a light/air unit from its facility at 2148 Gallows Road. Under the auspices of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, it provides service twenty-four hours a day with a paid compliment of 21 career firefighters scheduled on three rotating shifts. During the evening hours, staffing is increased by one firefighter from the operations staff to operate the light/air unit as needed. Volunteers provide supplemental staffing and place additional units in service in addition to raising funds and providing administrative support on a daily basis.