Eastport Volunteer Fire Company Struggles to Survive

A lack of volunteers for administrative positions could close the 126-year-old group.

The Eastport Volunteer Fire Company is in danger of disbanding after 126 years of service in Annapolis.

"We've just turned gray," President Al Kirchner said. "We’re dying off, and we really need help in the community."

Neighbors on Horn Point founded the group in 1886—one year before Eastport established itself. It has served as a physical and financial support team for the Annapolis Fire Department ever since.

In the early 2000's, a lack of volunteer firefighters reduced the group's role to financial support only. Now, a lack of volunteers has left Kirchner acting as president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.

"What we need now is just some administrative support," Kirchner said. "We are really in trouble."

Annapolis Fire Chief David Stokes said losing the Eastport Volunteers Fire Company would make his job more challenging because the group has consistently fundraised to fill equipment shortfalls when the city lacked funds.

"They own a lot of equipment that we could not afford to buy," Stokes said. "From an economic standpoint they are very beneficial to us ... no doubt they save the city taxpayers a lot of money."

The city honored that fundraising ability at its Dec. 10 City Council meeting. Mayor Josh Cohen presented Kirchner with a citation recognizing the group's donation of more than $600,000 worth of equipment in the last five years, including a pumper, a snow plow and a 100-foot ladder truck.

For Stokes, the loss of the volunteer group would mean more than the loss of equipment. It's personal.

"I actually started as a volunteer firefighter in Eastport in 1972," Stokes said.

His father also once served as chief of the station and his family has "deep roots" in the Eastport firefighter community.

The group has no initiation fee and annual dues are just $1 per year. Kirchner said volunteers do not need to be Eastport residents, and the group meets once a month at the Fire Hall at 914 Bay Ridge Ave.

Administrative duties like secretary and treasurer would take up two to three hours a month per volunteer.

Kirchner said he is also open to hearing from people who might want to become a volunteer firefighter. The group provides training free of charge, and members are eligible for college scholarships.

"None of this is a big lift," Kirchner said. "If people can donate two to three hours a month, we will be able to pull it off and save it."

You can keep up with the activities and needs of the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company, by "liking" them on Facebook.

Albert Kirchner January 14, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Send your contact information to Eastport Volunteer Fire Company, Post Office Box 3332, Annapolis, MD 21403 and I'll call you. Thanks Jimmy!
Jimmy January 16, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Thanks Al, but I joined to be in the fire service and being in Anne Arundel, they want you to have EMT and ride the ambo. I had EMT a while back and was very uncomfortable being in that position and in Calvert I can choose the fire side only. I am now too old and do not have time to take the classes
Albert Kirchner January 16, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Jimmy, I think you're missing an opportunity here. We are trying to rebuild the foundation of our organization. We need people with all kinds of experience to do things like publicity, fundraising, holding office, etc. to get the administrative side of the house functioning again. Fire service experience is helpful but not essential. We are not governed or constrained by Anne Arundel County Fire Department rules.
Bobby Lee Jr. May 13, 2013 at 02:40 AM
A long time ago in the 80's I was a vol. fire fighter in Eastport there was a lot of times I spent there , because I always want to be a fireman , I didn't want to leave what I enjoyed but I had moved away and just lost the time to enjoyed it. Ever since than I always wonder what it would be to go back an do it again , I learn how to respect others in my life now , an I give thanks to the department for all you have taught me. I still have my badge an I look at it so much to just remember those times as a vol. fire fighter. I'm looking for the patches we had back than but can not find one online at all . If you have any to spare I would like to get one . Thank you Bobby Lee
Bobby Lee Jr. May 13, 2013 at 02:44 AM
Keep the Vol. fire department in Eastport going they do so much for the people in the area , good luck and be safe.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »