32 AACo (Linthicum)


In 1909, the little town of Linthicum was changing from a group of family farms into a planned community and commercial businesses. A group of citizens formed the Linthicum Heights Fire and Improvement Association.                                                                                  


Funds from sponsored social activities supported the purchase of a red, two-wheeled hand-drawn fire vehicle which consisted of a sixty gallon chemical tank and hose, a ladder, buckets and axes. The relatively primitive fire apparatus was housed on the ground floor of the “Town Hall” located near the northwest corner of Maple and Camp Meade Road and was the only fire protection in the community for 17 years. (1)


In the summer of 1922, a major dwelling fire (the Benson House) occurred on the north side of Maple Road near Medora. INSERT PICTURES OF MAPLE ROAD FIRES. Engines from Glen Burnie and Baltimore City responded and much of the dwelling was destroyed. This fire provided the catalyst for improvement of the fire service in the area. (1) (Note) It has been stated that the city engine, Engine 58 (Westport) was chain driven, and the chain broke in response to the fire.


Although it took five years, a group of local residents in 1927, incorporated the “Community Fire Company, Linthicum-Shipley.” Encouraged by the existence of a modern water system including fire hydrants, the fire company raised funds from the community for the down payment on a new American La France Type 91 500-gpm pumper with a 100 gallon water tank. Also in 1927, work was started on a brick and slate roof, single engine fire station at 309 Camp Meade Road. (1)


Raymond Jeffery and Marion Ford were the first two engineman assigned to the station and their pay was provided by the county.

During the first seven months of 1928, the company responded to 68 alarms. In addition to Linthicum-Brooklyn Park-Ferndale-Glen Burnie engines responded to fires as far away as Camp Meade, Fort Smallwood, Gibson Island, Odenton and Relay. (1)


Two additional addition engines were purchased in 1931 to replace the ALF, requiring the construction of a wooden structure adjoining the original building.


Engine #1. A 1931 U.S. Fire Apparatus 600 gpm pumper with a 325 gallon water tank.


Engine #2 A 1931 U.S. Fire Apparatus 350 gpm pumper with a 350 gallon water tank.


Old Engine #1 was traded to U.S. Fire Apparatus in 1931 and was resold to the near-by Lansdowne VFD in 1933.  


In 1937, Raymond Jeffery, engineman and Al Parlet, member, responded to Annapolis to fight a fire at the Carvel Hall Hotel. The pair responded with Engine #1 on the 23 mile trip without a windshield. (1)


In 1938 a new building was constructed (funded through the WPA program) containing three engine bays, a recreation and bunk room and a commercial sized kitchen. The second floor was huge meeting hall with a stage.)










As a result of World War II, the active membership dwindled and teenagers from 16 - 18 years of age were allowed to join.


On a spring afternoon in 1942, Raymond Jeffery, engineman, responded to an accident in Engine #2. The accident involved a Jessup VFD engine and a tanker truck at the intersection of Rt.1 and Rt.198 in Laurel. The accident resulting in a serious fire with firemen trapped but were freed before the arrival of the Linthicum engine.


On a November Saturday afternoon, 1942, a fire broke out in the basement of the large Sweetser mansion on the northeast corner of Sweetser and Maple roads. It was an electrical fire that was burning in the wall and upwards towards the attic.


Hose lines had to be laid from the hydrant.  Fortunately, Marion Ford, engineman had a large contingent of volunteers and Engine #2. He laid a supply line from the hydrant at the corner of Sweetser and Maple roads. A Glen Burnie VFD engine tied into the hydrant and pumped to Engine #1 on the fire ground. Later Engine #1 responded with Carl Hughes, driver and a small crew and laid an additional line from Glen Burnie VFD’s Engine to a hydrant at Maple and Medora roads. The crews were successful in extinguishing the fire and kept it from spreading to the attic. A valuable Linthicum residence and landmarked was saved.  


In the early morning hours in the fall of 1944, the old town hall mentioned earlier was burning. It was fully involved when Marion Ford, engineman, arrived on location. Ford had to deal with “stuck hydrant” and needed to find a secondary water supply. Ford, Engine #1 and a small crew did a tremendous job protecting and saving many buildings that were being hit with flying fire brands.


A third engine was purchased in 1947, a Mack Type 45, open cab, 500 gpm pumper with a 400 gallon water tank and designated as Engine #3. The Mack was selected due to its strong reputation and its willingness to guarantee a relatively short delivery date, something no other manufacturers  would do because of high post war demand. The engine cost $8,795.(1)

 INSERT PICTURES OF LITTLE MACK. Add later - Would be fondly referred to as the “Little Mack” in 1956.


At some point during the late 1940s to early 1950s mobile radios were installed in fire and medical apparatus throughout Anne Arundel County. All companies were given numbers. Linthicum became Company 32. It is believed that the number was derived from the geographic tax and voting precinct the station was located in.



In 1952 a Ford F-7 engine (enclosed cab) was purchased with a 500-gpm pump and a water tank capacity of 500 gals. and designated Engine 1. It took the place of Engine 2 which was sold to near-by Sach’s Junk yard.  INSERT PICTURES OF FORD.


Circa early 1950s Raymond Jeffery retired and member Donald Amrhein was hired to take his place.  


On a cold, rainy evening on January 29, 1956 a tragic fire broke out at the Arundel Park on Belle Grove Road near 6th Avenue in Brooklyn Park. The fire killed 11 people and injured approximately 250. Engine 1 responded with Donald Amrhein, Engineman, and laid a supply line from the building to a pond on the west side of Belle Grove Road to set up a drafting operation. The Mack, Engine 3 responded with member Eagar Ford driving and young member William Morrison along with others.


On September 26, 1956, a new engine was purchased and delivered. A 1956 Mack B95F, 1,000 gpm enclosed cab pumper with a 600 gallon water tank, designated Engine 2. Old Engine #1 was traded in to Mack and resold to National Plastics Company in Odenton to be placed in service by the company’s fire brigade.




In 1957, Marion Ford retired and Raymond W. Smith, a member of the Brooklyn Park VFD was hired by Chief Al Parlett to take Ford’s place.




A 1957 GMC/Morysville was purchased as a light rescue unit for the company.




In 1959 a 1950 Willys Jeep (CJ-3A) 10 gpm with a 65 gallon water tank, was purchased for the growing amount of brush and woods fires in the area.






Circa 1960 – 61 a three-bay one-story addition was constructed on the Benton Avenue side of the station. The addition also contained an area to wash and mechanically dry hose, an SCBA shop with a compressor and large air storage bottles, a workshop, a storage room and a grease pit with grate.


The station was remodeled. The first-floor bunk room became the board room. The second-floor stage and one of the stairways was removed. A bunkroom was built with a sliding pole to the new lounge area on the first floor. A recreation room was created with a full-sized restroom and showers and a sliding brass pole to the apparatus bay at the front of the station. A spiral staircase was installed in the middle rear of the 2nd floor, along with a chief’s office, storage room, locker room and a small kitchen. A large room for company meetings and training classes was also constructed.



A 1961 Ford C-850/American 750 gpm pumper with a 600 gallon water tank. The cab-over engine had jump seats in the rear of the cab for firefighters to don self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). This engine became first out for most dwelling and building fires.


Circa 1961 – 1965 all county fire stations went to a two to three-digit numbering system for all fire and medical apparatus. The company number was first with the engine number second.


Engine 321, ’61 Ford

Engine 322, ’56 Mack

Engine 323, ’48 Mack (fondly designated as the “Little Mack”)

Engine 324, ’52 Ford

Jeep 324, 1950 Jeep

Rescue 327, ’59 Light Rescue Truck


On January 1, 1963, a third engineman was added to the two engineman unit throughout all 23 companies that made up the Anne Arundel County Fire Service.

Chief Eagar Ford hired active member Melvin Morrison.


The station now had three shifts as follows: A Shift – Raymond W. Smith, Engineman, B Shift – Donald Amrhein, Engineman, C Shift – Melvin Morrison. The men worked 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty. The 24/48 shift would remain as the fire department’s work shift for approximately the next 52 years.




On April 20, 1963, major brush fires broke out throughout the county due to low humidity and heavy winds. Company 32 would respond to many throughout north county as well as its first due area.


In 1964 Engineman Donald Amrhein was promoted to the AACo. Fire Inspection Bureau and Tom German was released as Engineman, Company 19 (Cape St. Claire) and assigned to Company 32 “B” Shift.


In the summer of 1964, the company purchased a ’64 Willy’s Jeep (CJ-5) and built a new brush fire unit with a Front-Mount High Pressure Pump. The new Willys, has a Perkins Diesel engine and a 90 gallon water tank. It replaced the 1950 Jeep which was sold to the Liberty Road Fire Department.

Picture of the Jeep


In January 1965 Charter government was enacted which established the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. The Linthicum Station or Company 32 was now part of a system that included 22 other fire companies.


1966 was year that would see a big change of Company 32’s fire apparatus.  Engine 323, the little Mack was sold to a fire department in Maine. Engine 324 was sold to an unknown source or traded in for a new Ford engine.


A 1965 Ford C-1000/American was purchased from the Glenn Culbert Company, located in College Park, MD. It has a 750 gpm pump and a 1000 gallon tank. It was classified as a Tanker and for approximately the next 10 years would respond throughout the county on large brush fires and dwelling fires located in non-hydrant areas.  engine was designated E-320.  INSERT PICTURE OF Engine 320 


 In the summer of 1967 Raymond W. Smith, who at the time was the volunteer chief of the company along with his engineman assignment on “A” Shift was promoted to AACoFD  Division Chief to head the departments new training center (to be built in Millersville) and training program. Ron Bierman, an active member of the company was hired and assigned as the “A” Shift Engineman. INSERT PICTURE OF SMITH WITH E-321


1968 was a very busy year for Company 32. There were multiple alarm fires at Sach’s Junk Yard, West Linthicum, 84 Lumber Company in Harmans and many responses to assist firefighting operations in Glen Burnie, Brooklyn, Marley, Odenton, Jessup, Severna Park and Lake Shore.


In late 1969 or early 1970 a tragic accident occurred on Camp Meade Road in front of the Linthicum Elementary School. A little girl was struck by an automobile and died from her injuries. The accident happened within 200 feet of the apparatus ramp of the fire station  but the closest ambulance to respond was from Brooklyn (Company #31). It was assumed that the delay in medical care may have resulted in the girl’s death.

After the accident the community was up in arms about the need for an ambulance at the Linthicum fire station Over the past 43 years either the Ferndale or Brooklyn Park stations provided ambulance service for North Linthicum and Linthicum – the Linthicum station never had one.

 In 1970, Anne Arundel County purchased two tractor-trailer ladder trucks. The first delivered in the summer was Truck 335 (Glen Burnie) and was staffed with three firefighters seeing its first responses in the early fall. The second truck was slated for Company 32 and a crew was selected as follows:


Truck 325 “A” Shift – Walt Issacs released as roving enginemen, assigned to the truck; Doug Shanks released from Truck 31 (Brooklyn), assigned to the truck. James “Duke” Hasselholff released from Co. 32 daywork, assigned to the truck


“B” Shift – Tom German, released from Engine 32, assigned to the truck.

Kenneth Klaismeier, released from Co.32 daywork, assigned to the truck.

Charles Boyer, released from Co.29 daywork, assigned to the truck


“C” Shift – Melvin Morrison, released from Engine 32, assigned to the truck.

Donald Schultheis, released from Co. 31, assigned to the truck.

Richard “Doc” Stone, back from the military, assigned to the truck


Issacs, Shanks, German, Klasmeier, Morrison and Schultheis were assigned to Truck 335 from September 1970 to the new truck was delivered in February 1971.


The trucks were 1970 Seagrave ladder trucks with a 100’ aerial ladder. Two drivers were required, one to drive the cab and one to tiller the trailer in the back.


The only difference between the two ladder trucks was that Truck 335 had a cab on the back to protect the tillerman. Truck 325 only had a seat with with a windshield and dashboard. A tiller cab would be to high for the doorway in the middle bay in the rear station addition. It would run without a protective tillerman’s cab for 10 years until a near fatal accident with a tillerman required the cab to be installed.


Truck 325 went into service late February, 1971. The trucks first major fire was at the multi-alarm, Carpet Mart Fire in Ferndale in March, where both positioned side-by-side had water towers flowing.


As a result of the Truck personnel changes there were new assignments for the engine. Roger Johnson, released from Engine Co. 29 (Jessup) assigned to Engine 32, “B” Shift. Wayne Wiggins, released from Co. 14 (Green Haven) assigned to “C” Shift. INSERT PICTURE OF TRUCK 32 AND THE B SHIFT CREW.



In December 1971, the company saw its biggest change ever when a fully staff around the clock ambulance was assigned to the station. Ambulance 32. INSERT PICTURE Ambo 32 with Covington and Merkle


At some point toward the end of 1971 and early 1972, the last number of the ladder trucks “5,” All ladder trucks were identified by their stations. Truck 325 became Truck 32.


To be continued.