Harney fire company celebrates 50th year


October 11, 2001|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FIFTY YEARS AGO, the idea to start a fire department in Harney was hatched in the town's general store, where local residents went to visit with neighbors and swap news.

"We had a country store here and people would come in and shoot the breeze," said Elwood Strickhouser, 73, a charter member of the department. "We all just decided we needed a fire department, but we didn't have any money."

On Sunday, Harney Volunteer Fire Company will celebrate its golden anniversary with an open house. Charter members such as Strickhouser will attend to reminisce, show equipment and serve refreshments.

Strickhouser didn't recall where the company got the money for its first building, an unused smokehouse. Four years later, the company built the building on Harney Road that is used today.

"We had no radios. We had no central dispatch," said Fire Chief Donald Yingling Sr., who has been with the company since 1963.

The fire company has undergone big changes since 1951.

"What used to take 40 hours of training now takes 120 hours. We had no ambulance then," Yingling said. "The equipment is more sophisticated and there's the training that goes with that. We have the same training as the big companies."

The cost of equipment has increased. A fire engine used to cost about $1,000. Today, engines are more than $300,000.

The biggest change, though, has been the emergency-alert system.

"We didn't have 911 then," Strickhouser said.

Back then, the town had a phone in the store, one in someone's home, and one in the firehouse. When the phone rang, as many as six people might pick it up because it was a party line. The caller would report a fire's location. Firefighters would be called and instructed where to go.

Yingling said he's also seen a change in the type of calls.

"It used to be when you got a call, it was a real call," he said. "Now, a lot of the calls are not emergency calls."

The open house will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the fire company, 4130 Harney Road. Harney is four miles northwest of Taneytown.

Information: 410-756-6877.

Dance to raise money

Francis Scott Key Junior Eagles is holding a dance from 9 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday at the American Legion building in Taneytown.

The dance will feature a disc jockey, open bar and snacks. Doors will open at 8 p.m.

The cost is $30 a couple. Tickets can be bought at the snack shack at the football field. Information: 410-756-2844 or 410-346-7294.

Octoberfest breakfast

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church will hold an old-fashioned German breakfast from 7 a.m. to noon Sunday at its social hall at 44 E. Frederick St., Taneytown.

The breakfast will include bratwurst, potatoes, pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, chipped beef and sausage gravy on toast. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children. Children age 10 and younger eat free.

Aerobics signup reminder

Taneytown Area Recreation Council will offer aerobics classes from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Northwest Middle School. Though the classes began Oct. 2, anyone can join by registering 15 minutes before the class begins. The cost is $20.

Information: Bob Broderick, 410-756-2809.

Basket bingo reminder

Runnymede Elementary School PTO will hold basket bingo at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the school, 3000 Langdon Drive.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Information: Susan Noyes, 410- 751-1728; Lisa Foreman, 410-751- 2499; or JoAnne Bowen, 410-751- 0728.

Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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