The Indian River Volunteer Fire Company will celebrate 70 years of service Saturday, July 8, starting at 10 a.m. with a parade through the Oak Orchard-Riverdale community, followed by a celebration with fun, food, activities and information at 11 a.m. at the fire house on Oak Orchard Road.
All are welcome to participate in the parade, and those interested should contact event Co-chair Linda Walls at email@example.com, by Wednesday, July 5, to register or volunteer. Several area fire companies, Delaware State Police, Sussex emergency response groups, and many other organizations and area businesses are expected to participate.
Terry Timmons, a 60-plus-year Indian River Volunteer Fire Company veteran, will serve as parade grand marshal. In 2013, the company honored Terry with a Life Membership Award. Terry is retired from Verizon and lives in Riverdale with his wife Janice, a retired IRSD and Long Neck Elementary School principal. Their daughter Lisa is married to Stuart Richardson with two sons, Wyatt and wife Sydny, and Garrett.
Seventy years ago, various Oak Orchard-Riverdale-Long Neck-area residents became concerned about the fire and emergency response time and traveling distance for local fire companies, which included Millsboro, Lewes and Rehoboth, so they organized a committee to pursue formation of a new fire station to serve the Oak Orchard, Riverdale, Rosedale and Long Neck communities. In March 1953, the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company was recognized as the rightful emergency service for that entire area.
As the area population has grown, so has the company. Currently, IRVFC operates two facilities, with Station 1 at 32628 Oak Orchard Road and Station 2 at Banks Road and Long Neck Road behind Palmer Shopping Center, on land originally donated by Jim and Audrey Palmer.
In April 1953, the fire company acquired land for its station from Margaret Phillips on Oak Orchard Road for $700 and approved the acquisition of a 1946 Dodge truck from C.D. Sapp to operate as a water wagon, the first piece of apparatus it acquired and operated. The second, a 1926 Reo fire truck, was purchased from Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company in May 1953. The third, a 1942 Chevrolet truck, was acquired in August 1953.
At the end of 2022, the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company housed and operated two Class A – 2,500-gallon engineer/tankers, one Class A rescue/pumper, one 100-foot aerial truck, two all-terrain vehicles, two specialty trailers, one command/duty officer vehicle and one chief’s vehicle.
Currently, the fire company maintains a membership roster of approximately 125 personnel that continues to provide the most effective and efficient volunteer emergency response organization serving its fire district. As always, the company is looking for added volunteers and anyone interested should contact Membership Chair Steven Deery, 302-945-2800.