Firefighters are Apple Butter grand marshals
The Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company has been selected as the Grand Marshal for the 39th annual Apple Butter Festival Parade.
When six inches of rain fell in four hours on September 1 in Berkeley Springs, the fire company took charge as flood waters swamped the downtown business section.
During the storm, volunteer firefighters responded to 19 calls, including water rescues, leaking propane tanks, a transformer fire, a lightning injury, and three vehicle accidents, reported Fire Chief Todd Ruppenthal.
"The Berkeley Springs Fire Company took control of the situation and closed the downtown streets to protect the safety of pedestrians and drivers who were trying to navigate the flood waters," said Barb Wolfe, Apple Butter Festival Parade chairwoman.
"They saved the town from further harm and assisted local business owners and residents. We want to recognize them for their efforts and all they do for our community," she said.
The Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company #1, which was originally called the Bath Fire Brigade, formed in 1893. The original department had three companies: Hook & Ladder Company headed by H.W. Disher, built February 15, 1893; Pioneer Hose Company of Bath headed by M.A. Price; and The Reel Company headed by Winston Baker, built March 19, 1912.
The first fire engine was a Dodge chemical truck, but little other information is available about this apparatus. In 1936, a 1918 American LaFrance was purchased from Baltimore County, Md., at a cost of $1,000.
Today, the fire company has approximately 30 active volunteer members. The roster includes more than 60 members when inactive and life-time members are counted. They respond to more than 450 calls a year for fires, vehicle accidents, etc.
The fire company sponsors fundraisers including a carnival, which many local residents look forward to each year. Members are also involved in fire prevention, highlighted by visits to local elementary schools during Fire Prevention Week in October.
The Apple Butter Festival Parade starts at 9 a.m. this Saturday, October 6. This year's parade is shaping up to be one of the largest in recent festival history, Wolfe said.
The parade will feature more than 90 entries with more than 900 participants, including bands, classic cars, children's groups, floats, politicians, etc. "It's going to be a great parade, something for everyone to enjoy," she added.