1940's - PRESENT
In the latter part of the 1940's the membership of the Riverdale Fire Department saw a need for an additional special service in Prince George's County. This was to be a truck company. In 1951 we took delivery of a Mack Model 85 Areial Ladder Quint Truck. The ladder on this truck was seventy-fice feet long. This unit also had a 750 gallon per minute pump. When headquaters would deny Truck 7's request to respond on a call for a brush fire, the officer of Truck 7 would call it Engine 73 and in frustration the dispatcher would allow the truck to respond.
In 1959 the 1947 Mack 750 gallon per minute pumper which was our first line piece was replaced by a 1959 Mack 1000 gallon per minute pumper. The funds for this piece as in all of the rest since the 1931 Buffalo were raised solely by the volunteer members of the Riverdale Fire Department or the Ladies Auxiliary.
In 1964 the 1948 Mack 750 gallon per minute pumper was replace with a open cab Mack 1250 pumper. This unit was powered by the Mack Thermodyne engine and was known for it's top end speed. It was a treasured piece and is still in service at the Prince George's County Fire Training Academy as a teaching device. In 1972 the Riverdale Fire Department, through a mistake made by a neighboring company in Prince George's County, took delivery of a 1971 Maxim 1000 gallon per minute canopy cab pumper. This was powered by a Detroit 8V71 engine wath a Jacobs engine brake.
The designation Engine 71 was retired after a tragic accident while responding to an alarm. On April 24, 1989 at 6:09 p.m., while enroute to a call, Engine 71 overturned. Since it was a canopy cab with two stand-up positions, both stand up personnel in the buckets were ejected from the vehicle. One was thrown clear while the other was pinned under the vehicle's drivers side. After a half hour of extrication, Fire Fighter Ronald L. Hall was removed and taken to the trauma unit at Prince George's Hospital Center. It was later determined that to save his life, a portion of his leg would have to be amputated. To show the spirit of a fireman, Ronnie is still undergoing therapy, but he is almost always at the firehouse or attending a fund-raiser or drill. Anything to be a part of the action that is the Riverdale Fire Department.
In 1970 the 1951 Mack Quint was replaced by a new Mack open cab CF-700 with a Maxim 100 foot aerial ladder. This unit took several trophies in it's day and was still taking trophies ten years after it's delivery. In 1978, the Riverdale Fire Department sold it's 1964 Mack pumper to Prince George's County Fire Department who placed it into their reserve fleet for use at stations that has apparatus out of service. The original Thermodyne engine in this 1964 Mack was replaced by a diesel. The diesel engine is still running strong. It was replaced by a 1978 Ford/Pierce 1000 gallon per minute pumper. For the first four years that this pumper was in service, ita attended the annual Maryland State Firemen's Association Convention in Ocean City, Maryland. For three of the four years that this pumper attendign this convention, it took best appearing pumper, in the 1000 gallons and over class. This pumper was sold to Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department in western Maryland after thirteen years of loyal service. It was replaced by our current first line pumper, a 1992 Seagrave 1500 gallon per minute pumper with a 750 gallon tank. Our 1970 ladder truck was sold in 1991 to the Boonsboro Volunteer Fire Department, also in western Maryland. This was replaced by a 1993 FWD/Baker ninety-five foot elevating platform tower truck. Our tower has the capacity of flowing 1500 gallons of water, at any angle, with four men in the bucket. 1993 also saw the first purchase of an Ambulance by the Riverdale Fire Department. This unit, Ambulance 77, is a 1993 AEV/Ford TraumaHawk, and is outfitted with some the latest state of the art equipment and monitoring devices. In 1995 The department took delivery of our newest addition to our fleet. A 1994 Seagrave 1500 gallon per minute pumper. With consent of the membership and Ronald Hall, the designation of Engine 71 was reinstated for this piece of apparatus.
In 1993, since the Riverdale Fire Department was basically still utilizing a firehouse built in 1937, we found that in order to house the ambulance, we must again build an addition to the building. This is also necessary since there is not a fire apparatus manufacturer building a vehicle today that will fit into our 1937 bays.