Join us for a new series of stories from the Center for Local History highlighting members of our community who made a difference in ways that helped shape our history and created positive change.
Their voices were not always loud, but what they said or did had a significant impact on our community.
Hall's Hill Pumper
Fire Station #8
With a history that goes back over a century (est. 1918), it’s impossible to overstate the role that Fire Station #8 has played in the lives of the citizens of Hall’s Hill and Arlington County. Facing underfunding, inadequate and outdated equipment, and institutional and individual prejudice, the firefighters stood up and faced down these and, other challenges, setting an aspirational standard for generations to come.
The following excerpts from an interview with former Fire Dept. #8 firefighter Lt. Hartman Reed depicts the struggles faced at that time:
“What can I say about the vehicles that we had were very old. Now, this is 1952 when I first came on, the fire trucks were a 1928 and a 1932 trucks...I’m not sure we even had a windshield on the thing...They wanted to say that you didn’t have the ability. Being black you didn’t have the ability, the courage, the knowledge...some of the dispatchers were that nasty, I guess you want to say, not to send you (to the fire)...we had a fire in our jurisdiction. We were first do right behind us, somewhere… I wasn’t on the fire, but I knew the other shift rode it - went. We were told when we changed shifts.
They went on the fire and the man’s house was on fire, and wouldn’t let them in. He wouldn’t let anybody in until…the second do company, which was either Falls Church or Cherrydale came in there, and they had to put the fire out. This man was going to let his house burn down before he let us go into his house. It was that bad.“
East Arlington VFD
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