The 1960′s

With the population growth of the Berwyn Heights and Greenbelt communities, so grew the demand for the Department’s services. Because of the additional calls for services and the unavailability of volunteers during the day, paid firefighters were hired in 1965. As time progressed, more personnel were added to the paid force. These men would eventually become absorbed into the County Fire Department which had yet to be organized.

In the early 1960’s Prince George’s County hired Yeager and Associates to conduct a study of fire protection throughout the county and to make recommendations as to how the departments could provide better protection. In regard to Berwyn Heights, the Yeager Report suggested that a ladder truck be added to the station, the engine company be eliminated, and the Rescue Squad should remain in service. The elimination of the engine company was justified because surrounding firehouses, including those in Branchville and Greenbelt, could provide adequate engine coverage while Berwyn Heights could provide the ladder company service.

In addition, the Yeager Report also suggested the firehouse be relocated to better serve the new Springhill Lake apartment complex that was under construction and the various businesses along Greenbelt Road. The relationship with the Town began to suffer over the issues because the Town did not want the firehouse to move from the site where it had originally been organized. Issues regarding the elimination of the engine company created additional discussion and debate.

Potential locations for the new “station,” as people would begin to refer to the new firehouse, were Greenbelt Road and 58th Avenue or Greenbelt Road and Kenilworth Avenue. Local politicians and Townspeople continued to debate the location of the new station. It was eventually located where it presently resides, at 60th Avenue and Seminole Street, and construction was completed in July of 1968.

1968 was a busy year for the Department. Since 1924 the Department that sits less than ten miles from Washington, D.C. had only been into the city for emergency purposes on two occasions. The first was during the 1930’s for a large warehouse fire at the Hahn shoe factory. The second was in the 1940’s during a plane crash at National Airport. In April 1968, during racial tension and rioting, Engine 143 was sent into the District of Columbia to provide support to the overburdened D.C. Fire Department. It wasn’t long after arriving in the city that Engine 143, and its crew of seven men, were in the thick of violence and mayhem in the Nation’s Capital. They remained there for over eight hours fighting some of the most spectacular fires in the city’s history.

Several weeks later, the Rescue Squad was involved in a serious automobile accident on Cherry Hill Road while responding to a house fire in Beltsville. The accident resulted in the death of a civilian and several of the crew members were injured. The Rescue Squad itself was damaged beyond repair.

 

The 1960's

On January 1, 1969 the Engine Company was officially placed out of service and the new Truck Company was placed in service with a 1968 Maxim Tractor-Drawn 100 Foot Aerial Ladder. A new Rescue Squad, a 1968 GMC-Bruco was also received that year.