Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include New York Fire Surgeon Harry Archer, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and - legend has it - President George Washington.

Thursday, February 01, 2018


Photo:  Arlington County Public Library, Higgins collection

The first of Arlington County's black firefighters - members of the Hall's Hill Volunteer Fire Department and the paid men at Station No. 8 - grappled with taunts and inequities in the days of Jim Crow, according to Arlington Public Library records.

In a 2008 oral history compiled by the library,  retired fire lieutenant 
Hartman Reed said: ``We were a segregated station and for some reason, the feeling during those years was that they wouldn’t involve us in things that were outside of our jurisdiction too often.”

On runs outside Hall's Hill, the firefighters would be subjected to insults and slurs from the people they were trying to aid,  including a man whose home was on fire and a drunkard with a broken ankle, Reed said in the library's oral history. ``We were trying to help him but it didn’t make no difference,” he said.

In a bizarre incident, George Lincoln Rockwell,  leader of  the American Nazi Party, visited the firehouse to discuss his plan to pay African-Americans to move Africa, Reed said. (Rockwell's party was headquartered in Arlington.)

When Station No. 8 was racially integrated in the early 1960s, Alfred Clark, the county's first African American fire captain, faced a mutiny by some of the white firefighters who said they ``
would not serve under a ‘Ni…’ and even wrote it on the chalkboard,'' according to Clark's daughter, Kitty. 

``The battalion chief came up, ordered it removed, and told the white firefighters they will serve and respect Captain Clark,'' Kitty said.

The library said the original paid firefighters assigned to Station No. 8, in order of hire, were 
Alfred Clark, Julian Syphax, George McNeal, Archie Syphax, Hartman Reed, James K. Jones, Carroll Deskins, Henry Vincent, Carl Cooper, Ervin Richardson, Jimmy Terry, Wilton Hendricks, Bill Warrington and Bobby Hill.

Another brigade of black firefighters served 
Queen City, a long-gone black community  in East Arlington. ``We needed one, so (the residents) had dinners and parties and whatnot and they bought an engine and built the fire station," Eddie Corbin, who lived Queen City, recalled at a library event in 2011. There's little doubt Queen City's firefighters dealt with the same obstacles as the men of Hall's Hill.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018



On March 17, 1911, the wooden stands at Boundary Field - home of the original Washington Nationals baseball team - burned to the ground.

The stadium occupied land in Northwest Washington bordered by Georgia Avenue, 5th Street, W Street and Florida Avenue, according to Wikipedia.

It was rebuilt and later renamed, Griffith Stadium, home of baseball's Washington Senators and football's Washington Redskins.

The Washington Post said the fire was started by a p
lumber's blow lamp and spread to an adjacent lumber yard.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

MT. WEATHER - 1974

On Dec. 1, 1974, a jetliner bound for Dulles Airport crashed into Mount Weather in Loudoun County, killing all 92 aboard - and revealing to the public a secret Cold War facility for sheltering government officials in a nuclear war.

Federal officials were tight-lipped but the underground installation remained intact.

UPPERVILLE, Va. (AP) - A Trans World Airlines 727 slammed into a wooded slope near a super-secret government installation Sunday, killing all 92 persons aboard.
Capt. WILLIAM CARVLLO of the state police declared "there are no survivors" after rescue workers had combed for hours through the wreckage on Mount Weather, a foothill of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The plane, Flight 514, was bound for Washington from Columbus, Ohio and was approaching Dulles International Airport in a driving rainstorm when the tower lost radar contact at 11:10 a. m. EST.
The crash site is about five miles north of Upperville, a tiny community in the tip of the state, and about 20 miles northwest of Dulles.
A TWA spokesman said 85 passengers and a crew of seven were aboard the flight, which originated in Indianapolis. He said 46 persons got on at the intermediate stop in Columbus.
The plane impacted about 1½ miles from an underground complex which reportedly is designed to serve as a headquarters for high government officials in the event of nuclear war. A federal spokesman would acknowledge only that the facility is operated by the little-known Office of Preparedness, whose responsibilities, he said, include "continuity of government in a time of national disaster."

Monday, January 01, 2018



Hello from Denver!

Your editor moved to Colorado in February 2012 and continues to update Arlington Fire Journal. Please consider sharing fire and rescue service history and photos from Arlington County and the rest of the Washington area.

In the meantime, please visit my other Fire Journal Group blogs - including
Denver Fire Journal.

Thank you.