75 years of saving lives, property Anniversary: On Saturday, volunteers at Engine Company No. 33 will celebrate with a banquet.

February 19, 1997|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

For generations, Volunteer Engine Company No. 33 has protected the homes and businesses of Glen Burnie from fire.

Saturday, the volunteers will trade their wide-brimmed hard hats, boots and slickers for jackets and ties as they celebrate their company's 75th anniversary with a banquet at Michael's 8th Avenue.

About 160 people, including past chiefs and presidents, are expected to turn out for cocktails, dinner, the installation of new officers and dancing.

"We're celebrating because we like to party, and hopefully it'll be the start of yearlong celebrations that we hope to do with the department," said Tom Nevin Jr., 52, president of the volunteers. "It's just a continuation for us, which is why we're trying to bring some of the old people back and pay respect to those who helped us get here."

The fire station at A Street and Central Avenue was established in 1922 as Glen Burnie, a settlement near the Curtis Creek Furnace, became a bustling town of shops and restaurants. The company was made up of house painters, shopkeepers and bankers determined to protect their town.

Now, the volunteers have joined forces with paid firefighters.

The volunteers have collected photographs of their fathers and grandfathers silhouetted against burning buildings, newspaper clippings and memorabilia for the celebration. One black-and-white picture from 1958 depicts haggard firefighters, hoses held high, battling a blaze that destroyed the A&P food store on Crain Highway near Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.

"It was a hell of a fire," recalled John Davies, 69, who had been a member of the department for three years on that February night, which was so cold that water froze almost as soon as it shot out of the hoses and icicles hung from buildings and firefighters' hats.

In many cases, the fire company has become a family affair. Take the Nevins, for example.

Tom Nevin Sr. was fire chief from 1959 to 1960. Tom Nevin Jr. was chief from 1969 to 1971 and from 1982 to 1994, before becoming president. Tom Nevin III, 26, has been fire chief since 1995, and Brian Nevin, 23, also is a member of the company.

"I guess it's just something that ran in the blood," Tom Nevin III said.

The party Saturday will be a chance for many firefighters to talk about old times, but John Stumpf, assistant chief, also sees it as a chance to show that the company remains "a viable volunteer fire department."

"So many communities have lost their volunteers," he said. "The buildings are still there, but the buildings aren't manned by volunteers. We just wanted the community to know we're still here and trying to do right by you."

Pub Date: 2/19/97

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