About 170 fire chiefs, state fire officers and representatives of fire companies across the state attended the annual Maryland Fire Chiefs' Association convention in Pleasant Valley yesterday.
During the day-long meeting, members re-elected Robert P. Cumberland Jr., a Westminster firefighter and former chief, as association president for 1992-1993.
Mr. Cumberland, who is serving his first term, did not attend the convention because of recent knee surgery, organizers said.
In the convention program, Mr. Cumberland recounted several events during his tenure of the past year, including attending fire-related seminars across the state, lobbying state and federal lawmakers for fire safety measures and the association's work with the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg.
Held at the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Co. Inc., the convention included the selection of a Fire Prevention Queen. Six of the 11 contestants vying for the crown represented Carroll fire companies.
Each contestant was introduced to the crowd and was asked to answer a question pertaining to fire prevention. The questions ranged from fire prevention education for children and senior citizens to types of fire extinguishers.
Beth Bonde, 18, a South Carroll High School senior representing the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company, was chosen as second runner-up. She will represent the association at parades and other functions when the first runner-up and the queen cannot.
Amy Lynn Muhl of Pasadena was chosen as first runner-up, and Pamela L. Chrisman of Glen Burnie was crowned queen. She will represent the association at the annual Maryland State Firemen's Association convention in Ocean City in June.
Ms. Chrisman, who plans to attend the University of Baltimore to study business in the spring, accepted the crown in honor of her aunt and godmother, who died last week in Germany.
The out-going queen, Jennifer Harman of Sykesville, who is studying law and accounting at Ohio State University, attended the ceremony.
The meetings, held twice a year, give fire chiefs and other fire personnel the opportunity to exchange ideas on improving fire service and prevention and to cultivate friendship among members.
The group also took care of several housekeeping matters, including changing the annual spring meeting from April to "sometime in the spring," allocating money for fire prevention brochures and other items, and approving the publication of a quarterly association newsletter.
Representatives from Hampstead and the Reese fire companies were among the Carroll representatives at the convention.
Pleasant Valley Fire Chief Stephen Wantz said the event marked the third time the fire company has been host of the convention. It was held in Pleasant Valley in 1988 and 1983.
"It gives us a chance to let the rest of the state see what we have," Chief Wantz said. "It's a good opportunity to show off."