Penn Daw Fire Department: Bucky Wilson


QUESTION: What sort of activities took place at the Old Penn Daw Firehouse?
Well, they used to have the carnivals, dances, bingo. Then they had a motor cycle race. Don't think they had but one motorcycle race. That caused too much confusion, everybody was parkin' here and parkin' there and takin' up everybody's place. That was up at the Reid Airfield.

QUESTION: When was the Penn Daw Firehouse built?

Best I remember, it was in the forties.

QUESTION: Where was it located?

You know where the Burger Chef used to be? Well, right below that. That was the original Penn Daw Fire Department. They're using it for a rug place now. Was an antique place.

QUESTION: What area did the Penn Daw Fire Department cover?

Well, at that time Penn Daw was the only one around here. Wasn't no Mount Vernon Fire Department. It was the only one in this area except down there at Fort Belvoir. But anywhere in this area Penn Daw would take care of them.

QUESTION: Tell us about some of the big fires in the area.

Well, one was down on East Groveton Street, about the second or third house. There was a right big fire there. They had a bunch of brush fires because all this was nothing but woods. People would start fires, then they'd get out of hand.

QUESTION: How has the fire department changed since back in the forties?

Now it's practically all paid firemen. I think they still got what they call the volunteer fire department up there. Back then there wasn't no pay. They had big sirens out and when that siren went off, well, all the volunteers, if they wasn't working, they'd run down to the firehouse and jump on a truck and take off.

You have to take the training before you can become chief. Back then it was mostly on the job, like going out and training how to fight that fire.

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