In 1925, the Minquas Civic Association and Fire Company was organized with Mr. Kelvington as its chief. An Acme chemical wagon was procured and a frame engine house was erected along the state highway. Due to confusion caused by the similarity of names with Minquas of Newport, the name was changed in 1929 to the Minquadale Fire Company, Inc.
As the company grew, better apparatus was obtained. Next came a Steward, another Acme, and then a Ford, all chemical trucks. As time passed and the number of buildings in the area increased, the need for a pumper was realized, so a Reo with a Hale pump was purchased, and housed by Minquas Fire Company of Newport.
Having both the desire and need to expand, lots were obtained on Hazeldell Avenue. A new and larger engine house was built on the property that at present serves as our parking lot. This new building also served as a meeting hall for the membership. At about this time a new USFA pumper was purchased and housed by Mill Creek and Holloway Terrace Fire Companies, with representatives from all companies of New Castle County Present.
1931 revives fond memories of our “old timers”, this being the year our members constructed and equipped a utility wagon. Just as the name implies, it was used for most everything except a pumper. Many times it served to transport accident cases from along the state highway to the Wilmington hospitals. This was also the year our first recorded first aid class was formed, consisting of 12 members.
During World War II, the fire company was the backbone of local civilian defense. While several members answered the call of their country by entering the services, others remained behind acting as air raid wardens and civilian coordinators. In 1948, the company received a Darley Pumper that had been on order for three years, and the first alarm it responded to was an airplane crash at the New Castle Air Base.
With the continued growth of the company more land was acquired, and in 1956 a larger firehouse was erected on its present site. Most of the labor was performed by our members which helped keep costs at a minimum. During 1971, a new engine room was added and the old engine room was converted to a memorial hall. The hall was dedicated to our members past and present. In 2001, the Ladies shut down the catering service for the summer and major renovations began on the banquet hall and bar. The traditional fire hall setting would be transformed into an elegant dining and banquet room; a place that anyone would be proud to have their affair. In the fall, the Ladies catered the affair in the new hall. Once the banquet hall and bar were completed, renovations began on the rest of the fire company to include a new radio room, meeting room, game/TV room and offices for the Executive and Chief’s Departments. Renovations were still underway. With the growing need for more room, in 2004 the property next to the fire house was purchased. It was used to add more parking for guests during banquets and weddings.
Our present membership consists of 55 Life Members, 18 Silver Life Members, 13 Honorary Life Members, 61 Sr. Members and 10 Junior Members, for a total of 157 Members. We are currently averaging 700 Fire and Rescue responses per year. In 1979, a major 5 bay engine room was added to the existing building in order to house our current fleet of apparatus. Our current apparatus consist of, a 1985 12 Passenger Chevy Van, a 1989 Pierce Rescue Pumper 226, two 1993 Pierce Pumpers, 222 & 223, a 1997 Suburban Chief’s Vehicle, 1998 Chevy Brush Unit 221 and a 2000 12 Passenger Chevy Van, which was donated by the estate of Angela and Stanley Dziok.
The ambulance service was introduced in 1961 with the purchase of a used 1957 Cadillac. Since that time, the company has purchased 7 replacement ambulances, the newest of which was placed in service in the Spring of 2000. We are now averaging over 2,000 ambulance calls per year. In 1997, the membership voted to establish two full-time career Firefighters/NREMT-B’s, to insure both fire and ambulance coverage. We currently employ 8 full-time personnel and 8 per-diem personnel.
In September 2001, tragedy befell on our Country when terrorists attacked The World Trade Center in New York and The Pentagon in Washington D.C. killing hundreds of our Brother and Sister Firefighters. This is a day that will live in our hearts forever. Through this tragedy our Nation and Brother and Sister Firefighters have grown closer together.
In 2004, the Minquadale Fire Company decided to apply for a federal grant. A Grant Committee was formed by President Bowden; our first attempt at filing was unsuccessful. In 2004, under the guidance of then County President Chris Coons and hard work from the committee and some of the membership we were awarded the grant which helped to purchase a Polyvent Exhaust System, better fire hose, and other needed equipment.
The Minquadale Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary overcame adversity at the Annual Conference of 2004. Under the Guidance of Chief Brian Shaw, President Barry Bowden and Auxiliary President Debby Masten, we were able to pull off a clean sweep ofFirst Place. After several dry years, we marched to victory in torrential downpour. The Honor Guard was able to bring home a third place trophy as well.
At various times throughout the years, members of this company have held offices and served on committees in the New Castle County, the Delaware State Association of Volunteer Firemen and the New Castle County Chief’s Association; they were Joseph Hojnicki, Sr. and Chuck Taylor.
Minquadale Fire Company has been fortunate in the past years, to have three firefighters honored as Heroic Firefighter of the year by the County Association, Allan “Tex” Thompson, Rusty Haslam and Edward Oneschuk, Jr. Joseph Hojnicki has also been honored in the executive capacity as non-heroic firefighter of the year.
This company stands for two things: efficiency and cooperation. We are striving for the first and desire to get, and want to give the other. With great pride we mention that some of our members took it upon themselves to rebuild and help refurnish three homes of unfortunate fire victims in our district.
Since our 75th Anniversary, we have lost several Life members of the Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary; these members are and were the backbone of the fire company. Their history will live on forever in our hearts.
Minquadale Fire Company will kick off the new year honoring Chief Wayne Lambert, FF/EMT Andy Greene, FF/EMT Willie Trowbridge, FF/EMT Brian Reeder, FF/EMT Geoff Daniels, FF/EMT Donnie Winnington, FF/EMT Eric Comley, FF/EMT Dan McVey, and FF/EMT Cody Sooy for their life saving efforts at the Sixth Annual Sudden Cardiac Arrest Reunion hosted by the Emergency Medical Services Division of the New Castle County Department of Public Safety.
The Department kicked off the New Year with the announcement of officers for 2019: President Matt Martin, 1st Vice President Dave Roberts, 2nd Vice President Allen Tex Thompson, Secretary Kim Powers, Treasurer Teresa Petrucci, Financial Secretary Cullen Edwards, Executive Board Member Paul Taylor, Executive Board Member Herb Torterotot, Fire Chief Brian F Shaw, Deputy Chief Matt Hardy, 1st Assistant Chief Joe Day III, 2nd Assistant Chief Chuck Taylor, Chief Engineer Dave Garcia, Safety Officer Allen "Tex" Thompson, Fire Police Brian Thompson, Fire Police Joe Thompson, and Fire Police Jim Ogden.
2019 proved to be a big year of accomplishments for the volunteers and staff of the Company and Ladies Auxiliary.
On February 27, 2019, Firefighter/EMT Willie Trowbridge and Firefighter/EMT Brian Reeder received Resuscitation Awards at the annual Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivors Reunion for their actions to successfully revive a patient that was in cardiac arrest.
On March 27, 2019, members from Minquadale received citations at the New Castle County Medal Day for their actions on emergency responses.
Career Firefighter/EMT Willie Trowbridge and Career Firefighter/EMT Eric Comely received citations for their actions on a structure fire with subjects trapped. Chief Emeritus Wayne Lambert, Chief Emeritus Chuck Taylor, and Past Chief Joe Day received citations for their actions on a motor vehicle collision with a subject heavily trapped. Minquadale is proud of these individuals and grateful for their dedication.
On Monday night, August 5, 2019, at the monthly meeting current Asst. Chief Joe Day III was nominated and voted by the membership to be our newest Chief Emeritus. This is one of Minquadale's highest honors. There has only been 7 members to receive this honor. Joe is a 35 year life member and a Past Chief and Past President. Joe continues to be a viable leader not only to Minquadale but to the New Castle Fire Service.
Minquadale also celebrated Career Firefighter/EMT Brian Reeder on being installed as 1st Vice President of the Delaware State Fire Chief's Association on September 12, 2019.
2020 is proving to be an emotionally charged year for both the department and its members. We kicked off the year strong, welcoming back Teresa Petrucci as Secretary and Terry Masten as Treasurer. The new year also brought change to the Operational Officers with Joe Day III moving to Deputy Chief, Chuck Taylor to 1st Assistant Chief and Matt Hardy to 2nd Assistant Chief.
Minquadale Fire Company is saddened to announce the passing of three influential members to the Company.
Life Member Virginia "Ginny" Houck passed away on January 12, 2020, at the age of 95. Having joined the Ladies Auxiliary in 1951, Ginny was the oldest and one of the most active Minquadale's Ladies Auxiliary members. We will surely miss seeing her smile and receiving one of her warm hugs when entering the kitchen.
Life Member Herbert Albert “Herb” Torterotot, Sr., age 82, passed away on Sunday, February 16, 2020. Herb was an active member up until his passing serving on the Executive Board and will be missed by all.
Life Member Edward Gus Williams passed away on May 29, 2020. Gus was a long time member and one of the founding members of the "Coffee Club". Gus always had a way to make you smile with his whistling and singing tunes around the station. He will be truly missed.
The year has also brought accomplishments to the Department with Career Firefighter/EMT Willie Trowbridge and Career Firefighter/EMT Tyler Boroi being honored at the annual Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivors Ceremony. Willie and Tyler received awards for their efforts in successfully resuscitating a patient that was in cardiac arrest. We are proud of their efforts and congratulate them both.
As we move towards the second six months of 2020, Minquadale continues to protect and serve its community during the Covid-19 pandemic. We look forward to the remainder of 2020 with unrelenting optimism that everything will get better!