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Transcription of Interview - Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company


JP:

[Voices over a walkie-talkie and two-way radio]

In the recently modernized town of Cockeysville, you can find out about its rich history by just looking around the corner. One of its most historic landmarks remains hidden from the main streets; existing on the periphery this piece of antiquity exists behind its original place next to the main artery of the town. That place is now a car dealership. The place is the Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company; a place that Vice President of the Company Ken Cole says is known for its commitment to the community.

KC: It’s just a running house; we’re here to serve the community. It’s a shame it has to be off of York Road, but we’re here and we do our job.
JP: The history of Baltimore County’s first volunteer fire station flows through the walls of the recently built fire station like water through a fire hose. Plaques commemorating its centennial celebration in 1996 adorn the walls, black and white photographs lie flat against the hallways and a book dedicated to its centennial celebration eight years ago tells the history of a staple in the Cockeysville Community. IV Technician Tim Rostkowski says the children get excited about the old engine.
TR: Probably the most historical thing that we have is our antique engine which was a 1951 Mac – it was actually Baltimore County’s old engine number 5 and it still ruins, still pumps and we run it in parades and things like that. It gets all the kids excited when they get here because they like to see the old engine.
JP: If you look closer still at the entire fire house, you’ll see that this station was built on the backs of its myriad of volunteers. Some old and a few younger all stand dedicated to providing the community with a life-saving service which probationary volunteer Ciara Gee can attest to.
CG: I think the fire station is very important because we are one of the only volunteer stations that has a medic that controls a large part of Baltimore County and is able to back up part of the Towson Area if the Towson area Fire Station 1 is busy; so it is very important to the community.
JP: There is no way you can say the Cockeysville Fire Company without the word volunteer and this sentiment is echoed through the engine bay that is dedicated to the memory of former volunteer John T. Holland who served for 53 years and the dedication of its members is driven home when you walk to the lobby and see a plaque dedicated to the memory of former volunteer Stanley H. Patterson who dedicated over 67 years of service. While half a century seems a long to be committed to any organization, veteran volunteer Larry Gribble, says that it’s a part of life.
LG: It’s like it’s in your blood. I love doing it and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. There’s a lot of history. There’s a picture of an old engine on the wall, some of our member who have passed on, charter members, members who’ve been here 50 years, so there’s been a lot of commitment to the company and the volunteer system.
JP:

The Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company was originally founded as the Marble Hill Fire Department in 1896 by George Jessup, Sr. and was changed nearly 20 years later to the Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company which, lead to increased membership. Over 80 years after it was founded, the original station became obsolete and an Audi Dealership was erected in its place. A new station was built just yards behind its original place and now stands as sort of an anachronism. Within the confines of the station, you’ll find all the earmarks of modern convenience like a big-screen TV and vending machines; however you’ll still find historical pieces such as its original fire bell and its classic insignias emblazoned in the walls of the engine bay. The pieces serve as a monochromatic swath against a colorful modernized environment; just like the station itself.

Reporting for BaltimoreStories.com, I am Josh Parker.

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