History

Pre-1898 Like most communities in Virginia in that time, Falls Church citizens responded to fires in their community by forming an impromptu bucket brigade.
1898 When a building known as the Kerr Mill burned, it was decided that the method was inadequate and so the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department was organized.  The officers consisted of Dr. J.B. Gould, Chief Engineer; George T. Mankin, Fire Warden, 1st Ward; Edgar A. Kimball, Fire Warden, 2nd Ward; D.B. Patterson, Fire Warden, 3rd Ward.
1899 On July 28, a local newspaper reported that, “The Town Council of Falls Church will levy a special tax of 15 cents on the $100 in the rate of taxation for the purchase of chemical engines for the fire department of that town. It is proposed by the Council to purchase three chemical engines; one large one for the center of town and two smaller ones to be located at East and West Falls Church respectively.”  The large engine was placed beside Brown’s Store and held 35 gallons of chemicals. The two chemical units were first used when the summer kitchen at the “Home House” of Charles E. Mankin burned. The department’s fleet also included one fully equipped ladder truck. All of the apparatus were hand drawn, but were later rigged by a local blacksmith to be drawn by horses.
1918

Falls Church purchased one of the first pieces of motorized fire equipment in Northern Virginia. A Model T Ford was retrofitted with the chemical tanks from the department’s original 55 gallon engine. The Model T, known as “Old Tom”, is still owned by the FCVFD today. It is displayed at the department’s annual Fire Prevention Week Open House and has participated in various local parades.

1923 Despite having modern fire apparatus, Falls Church lacked a central location to store its fleet. When a fire broke out at the Eagle House, “Old Tom” was found buried under several tons of lumber at the Falls Church Lumber Company in East Falls Church.  This incident prompted a reorganization of the fire department.
1925  The first fire house was built near the location of the present-day fire house on Lee Highway.  The Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department was officially incorporated on February 27. The first officers of the department were: J. Earl Brunner, President; J. Stanley Higgins, Secretary; Clarence Pullman, Chief (for about two months before he resigned and Edward M. Ward became Chief). The first trustees were: E.D. Williams, C.V. Shreve, Frank H. Eastman, Horace E. Brown, Dr. Macon Ware, and William H. Lynch.
1927 The first new engine was a Republic engine with two large soda and acid tanks and a 500 g.p.m. American La France pumper was purchased.
1934 In July, Frank David Hinkins became the department’s first and only line of duty death when he was killed while responding to a false alarm. His name is listed on the Arlington County Fire Department’s memorial at Fire Station One on South Glebe Road with other local firefighters – both paid and volunteer – who have been killed in the line of duty.
1940 Arlington County Fire Department was established and began providing staffing to the Falls Church Fire Station.
2001 The new modern Falls Church Fire Station is constructed, behind the location of the old fire station. The building is owned by the City of Falls Church, which shares costs with the Arlington County Fire Department to provide paid staffing of the station’s engine, truck and medic unit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The frontline units are designated as 106.
2015 The department celebrated its 90th anniversary. FCVFD personnel continue to serve the citizens of Falls Church and Arlington County by staffing volunteer units on weekends, at special events and during major incidents. The department also participates in community outreach activities to teach people of all ages about safety and fire prevention.