The Luray Fire Department was Organized on January 23, 1901 as 2 Companies. The East End Company and the West End Company.
Any attempt at writing an historical sketch of the Luray Fire Department would not be complete without paying tribute to the hearty souls who protected the town against fire prior to the organization of the fire department. During the year 1900 Luray’s present water system was installed. Before that time Luray fought fires as best it could with whatever means it could muster. Fires were fought by Bucket Brigades. Sometimes these lines were as much as two blocks long in order to span the distance from a fire to the Hawksbill Creek. Cisterns and wells were also utilized in the efforts to save a citizen’s property. These Bucket Brigades were made up of citizens from every walk of life regardless of race, sex, national origin or creed and everyone’s property was considered worthy of saving. Early newspaper accounts speak of whole blocks being reduced to ashes. Accounts highly praised the efforts of the firefighters in confining the blazes to a minimum. At one time a fire was confined to the one building through the mere means of throwing snowballs against its sides to keep the heat confined until the building collapsed from the inside. Ever since the discovery of fire, man has enjoyed its benefits while at the same time feared its uncontrolled consequences. We are sure that early settlers of the Page Valley shared these benefits and fears. A fire at a neighbor’s home soon brought neighbors from miles around who would lend a willing hand to save property, and salvage anything that could be saved.
The first State Firefighters Convention attended was in Staunton, Virginia in 1901.
The first reel team to enter a state contest went to Portsmouth in 1902, and was composed of the following members: H.H. Hudson, James A. Crim, W.D. Bohannon, Leeth Renalds, Carl Seibert, Jack Middleton,, Clyde Batman, Clyde Falkenstein, Richard Berry, Harry Fitch, Emmett Rankin, Frank R. Jobe, Cecil Campbell, H.R. McKay, Frank Purcell, and Jake Beach.
The first prize money was won by Danville, Virginia in 1903. The first meeting place of the Luray Fire Department was in the I.O.O.F. room over John Dosh’s shoe shop that was located near the corner of Main and Broad on West Main Street. On August 11, 1933 The Luray Fire Department The Luay Fire Department Hose Reel Team won the State Competition in Harrisonburg, Virginia. with the time of 28.7 seconds. The winning Hose Reel is still on display at the present fire house.
One of the early tangible relics of the early days of Luray is a sign painted on a sheet of heavy galvanized tin 17″(inches) long by 7 1/2″(inches) tall. There were two signs, one at the East End Reel House, and the other at the West End Reel House.
There was a telephone connection at each building by which a bell in the boiler room at the old Deford Tannery(now Virginia Oak Tannery) could be activated by turning a crank in case of a fire. When the bell rang in the boiler room the men on duty there would blow a steam “wildcat” whistle which could be heard far and near. The ringing of the bell in shorts for longs would inform tannery employees in which end of town the fire was located. It is thought that the whistle was blown in a different manner for east end or west end, but no one now seems to know what the difference was. The sign is still hanging in the fire station today.
Joining of the East and West End Companies – 1928
The Luray Fire Department was reorganized on February 3th, 1928 as one company and one Chief and remains that way today.
1929 – The Ladies Auxiliary was organized
In 1929 the Ladies Auxiliary to the Luray Fire Department was organized with 19 members.
1930 – The First Building and Pumper
The first building was built in 1930 at the cost of $6,000 and was located on Vogt Place near Page Valley Bank. The first engine was a 1930 American LaFrance 600 GPM pumper and was delivered on August 1, 1930 at the cost of $8,750 and was also the first motorized piece of fire equipment in Page County.
1937 – Second Truck
The second truck was purchased in June of 1937 and was also an American LaFrance pumper.
1949 – Third Truck
The third truck was a 1948 International and was delivered here in 1949.
1959 – Expanding the building
In 1959, the Vogt Bakery Building in the rear of the Fire Department was purchased.
1960 – Remodeling and adding the a second floor
The two buildings were remodeled into one with a second floor added in 1960.
Presidents of The Virginia State Firefighters Association
The Luray Fire Department’s activities have not all been confined to Page County, it has been a member of the Virginia State Firefighter’s Association for all of its 100 year history. Luray has also been honored by having two of its members elected President of the State Association, Edward Carter and the late J. Everett Will.
The Ladies Auxiliary President
Also, the late Mrs. Cecil(Marie) Campbell of the Luray Ladies Auxiliary served as President of the State Auxiliary.
Presidents of NVFA(The Northern Virginia Firefighters Association)
The Northern Virginia Firefighter’s Association was organized in Luray mainly through the efforts of the late J. Everett Will who served as its first President. The late H.B. Dyche, Maurice W. Judd, Bobby Smith, and Dan Seal of Luray have also served of the NVFA.
Wonderful Citizens Support!
Since the Luray Fire Department was organized they have always had the full support of the citizens in the town of Luray and the surrounding area. We thank you all for being so supportive!
Since the addition in 1960, the Luray Fire Department purchased
1969 Oren (Grumman) Engine. This engine has a 1000 GPM pump and is also the first truck with a diesel motor for the Luray Fire Department and is still in service today.
In 1972, a new chassis was purchased for the tanker for safety reasons. The new chassis was heavier, with air brakes, and is still in service today.
1974 a 1000 GMP Mack pumper was purchased and remained in service until 2007 when it was sold. In the mid 80’s a used brush truck was purchased from South End Fire Department in Winchester, Virginia and was later replace with a more modern piece.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s a committee was formed to look into the possibility of building a new Fire Station due to the lack of space.
1991 Ground Was Broken On the New Luray Fire Department
In 1991 the ground was broken for the new Luray Fire Department which is now located on 1 Firehouse Lane.
New Station Dedicated in 1992
The new station was dedicated in October of 1992.
The 100th Anniversary of LFD was celebrated in September 2001.
In 2011 we will celebrate 110 years of ALL VOLUNTEER service to our community.
Today the Luray Fire Department consists of over 100 members who are all strictly on donations from the general public, donations from the county, donations from the Town of Luray and from the many things that we do to help raise money(chicken BBQ, food booth at our local fair, pancake breakfast, dinners, and many other functions. Money is also raised from public service work that is done for our local community). We average over 300 emergency alarms per year plus 150 – 200 public service calls.