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Memorial Fire Company
Station 89
359 Bay Ave.
Milford, DE 19963

Phone: 302-422-8888
Fax: 302-422-5944
Company History

The Company
In October, 1954, ten days after hurricane “Hazel” had battered Slaughter Beach fire erupted at the restaurant and barroom business of James “Jimmy” Wilson. Before the Carlisle Fire Company of Milford arrived on scene the building was completely engulfed in flames and was totally destroyed.

The day after the fire Connie Fassel, Tom Plummer, George Cohee, Ben Young, Bob and Al Sleva along with several other residents of Slaughter Beach were surveying the aftermath of the fire. Several people commented that the beach should have a piece of fire fighting apparatus to contain any fire on the beach until neighboring companies could be summoned.

A meeting with the Carlisle Fire Company, Milford, was scheduled and held at the Mispillion Lighthouse Restaurant for the purpose of taking initial steps to establish a fire company. Following the meeting an election of officers was held. Members elected unto office were, President George Cohee; Secretary Ben Young; Treasurer James Wilson; and Chief Conrad Fassel. Meetings were conducted in the firemen’s homes or in the restaurant at the Mispillion Lighthouse.

Through donations the members raised three hundred dollars n 1954, which was used to purchase a 1927 American La France Pumper from Teddy Walius of Ellendale. Mr. Walius, a long time member of the Ellendale Fire Company, purchased the piece of equipment from Ellendale to water and destroy bag worms on his Christmas tree acreage.

This was the original piece of fire fighting apparatus acquired by the Memorial Volunteer Fire Company. There being no fire station the truck was stored outside and in late 1957 the pump froze and cracked. In 1959, Albert “Pop” Sleva removed the pump and dug a hole in the sandy floor of the truck room, (the concrete floor had not yet been poured), welded the pump, covered it with the sand to slow the cooling process to keep the weld from cracking. After Pop Sleva had reinstalled the pump, Howard Hitchens and Connie Fassel towed the truck to station 42’s Church street fire house where Oscar Maloney rebuilt the pump and tuned the engine. The truck was then driven back to Slaughter Beach.

Edith McKee’s garage was lengthened to accommodate this truck prior to the station being built and the La France and GMC were also stored in the lot adjacent to the Hitchens grocery store.

In the interim, between the purchase of the 1927 La France and the 1961 Ford/La France, (our present #4) a 1942 GMC pumper was secured from the Magnolia Fire Company and used in Slaughter Beach until the early 1960’s. It was sold to Max Corder and used for fire protection at the High Point Trailer Court in Little Heaven.

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