1888 - Hand Pulled Hose Cart
1890 Hose House with 1893 carriage on Academy St. looking towards Main St.
1893 Gleason, Baily & Company carriage
On January 15, 1890, the members voted to accept a bid put in by Joseph T. Willis to build a brick building on the Academy Street lot for $2392.00. The Council of Newark gave the company $500.000
January 1904 showed the company as growing in size and value. Membership had more than doubled and the Treasurer reported a balance of $490.58. Total 2 1/2" hose now owned by Aetna was 950'. In November another Hose Wagon was purchased for $545.00 and was received on April 10, 1905.
Aetna Carnival Fundraiser
1913 - Active Members
By December 31, 1910, the company reported a fine year. The inventory list included:
In 1911 snap couplings replaced threaded hose couplings. Motorized fire apparatus were being installed
1913 Thomas Engine
The first ambulance, a Studebaker, was purchased in 1926 and placed in service the following year. This was a much needed service and Aetna has furnished the area ambulance service ever since.
1928 Fleet with Studebaker ambulance purchased in 1926
1921 Stutz Engine and 1926 Seagrave Engine (Old Bessie)
1921 Stutz after being refurbished in 1935
1938 - Continental Band, Active Firemen & Equipment
1942 - Active Fireman, Pumpers (Seagraves, 1941 & 1926, Stutz, 1938), Ambulance (Chevrolet, 1937)
During 1943 the meeting room was used for a Red Cross nurses' class. Building Loan shared that became due were put into war bonds. The Stutz had new brakes put on it and coats and boots were ordered for twelve men. The insurance check this year was $910.99. A carnival came up for discussion but no action was taken. Cigarettes were mailed to all members overseas.
1952-Pumpers (Seagraves 1941, Stutz 1938), Tanker (Dodge 1950),
Arial Ladder (1951, American LaFrance)
1953-WWII Siren Tower from Ammunition Storage Area
1955-Used Rescue Truck from Civil Defense
1959 - Aetna Fleet
1959 - Aetna Fireman Early Uniform (Convention Photo)
1961 - Aetna Firemen
1961 - Aetna Fleet
1964 - Aetna Fleet
1968 - Aetna Fleet
1972 - New Field Truck
1973 - Aldermans Court Fire
Station 9A Restored after Aetna Re-Gained ownership
1975 - Sussex Hall Fire
1982 - Memorial Day Parade
Early in 1983 a contract was signed with an architect for the design of Station 7 at Elkton Road and Thorn Lane. After months of meetings, an estimate of building costs was arrived at and plans were presented. The cost was estimated at $652,000.00. Equipment purchased during the year included two nozzles ($255.00 each), a new K-12 for truck 86 ($600.00 net after trade-in), a charger for the portable radios ($720.00), 20 gallons of Universal foam ($320.00), a deluge gun for truck 82 ($2,220.00),12 boxes of Scotch-guard safety tape ($360.00), and six bottles for the air masks ($1,200.00).
Truck 91 was sent out for major repairs to the pump as well as other minor changes and was out of service for over three months. Pumper 93 had rust damage repaired and was repainted ($5,300.00); pumper 95 had the transmission rebuilt ($2,500.00). The office room of Station 8 was changed to sleeping quarters and the company now had two locations where members could stay for extended periods of time.
A review was made of parade uniforms. The company had 108 complete uniforms, 91 of which had been issued, and 17 of which were extras used by members who only paraded infrequently. New coolers were purchased for the bar in the social hall of Station 8 at a cost of $4,400.00. William Doyle, Jr., was employed by the City of Newark as Fire Marshal. Members attended Cumberland Valley's convention and won awards for "Best Appearance" and "Company Coming the Longest Distance," and the 52 members who marched in the 1983 Delaware State Convention parade took the fifth place prize.
Station 7 Groundbreaking
Station 7 Dedication
In January of 1986, the new Hahn pumper arrived and training began the following week. The pumper was placed in service in April. George Robinson, chairman of the New Year's Eve party reported a net profit of $1,259.00. A committee was appointed to look into the feasibility of building a stage in the social hall at Station 8 and separating the hall's heat and air conditioning system from the rest of the building. The architect presented his report at the May Directors' Meeting. The cost of his services: $5,875.00. At the June meeting, Nowland Associates' bid of $155,490.00 for the stage addition and segregation of the heat and air conditioning systems was approved. During the same time the parking lot at Station 8 was resealed and restriped for $6,415.00.
Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Convention
Early in 1987, the membership voted to support the county and state associations' request for state funding of a new Hi-Band radio system and equipment for the New Castle County Fire Board. Qualifications for participation in the State Firemen's Pension program were approved and the membership was advised that the qualifications must be met in order to remain in the program.
In December of 1988, Chief Bill Matthews was elected Chief of Aetna for the coming year.
During his term, Chrysler Corporation recognized Aetna for its service to
the community of Newark. President Jim Woods was reelected as President.
In 1990 President Jim Wood was elected to his 20th year as President of Aetna. Chief Jeff Smith was elected as Chief of the Department.
In 1991, President Jim Wood began his 21st year as President, Jon Townley was elected Chief. In the February meeting, the company agreed to purchase a trailer to haul Ole Bessie and have it
painted & lettered with the company name Aetna for the amount of $7,500.00. On March 14th, Aetna responded to a fire alarm at the Ames Store in Chestnut Hill Shopping Center to find the second floor storage area involved, because the sprinkler system was blocked by boxes. The fire went to a second alarm and Station 8 hall was used as an interview location for the fire marshals. Later that month, Aetna was dispatched to Fairway Road for a fire. Chief Townley arrived to find subjects trapped on the third floor. First arriving apparatus rescued several persons from the building. Fire damaged several apartments in the building. In April’s meeting, Phil Sereni was recognized for writing a paper on Seat Belts saving lives, which also appeared in the News Journal Paper. In August, the company approved to have an air brush mural done for the trailer hauling Ole Bessie at a cost of $1,000.00. During this year, several two alarm fires were managed by Aetna including Wholesale Warehouse on Ogletown Road and a Lumber Company in the Old Baltimore Industrial Park.
In 1992 the department agreed to send Ole Bessie to the Cumberland Valley Convention Parade, its first parade outside of Newark. In February, an abandoned house burned on Kirkwood Highway at New Kirk Estates, Chief Townley advised the crews to let it burn to the ground. The location had been a multi-response for small fires in the past. The owners thanked Aetna for removing the problem.
In July, Chief Townley was injured in a golf accident, President Wood appointed Deputy Chief Bill Butterworth as acting Chief.
Jeff Smith was elected Chief in 1993. The department tried 2” hose as attack lines on Engine 7-2. In May, an open Directors seat was filled by Past President Charles Wollaston. Past Chief Frank Beers tried to swear in the newly elected Director Charles Wollaston who repeated the oath of office from memory.
A new chief’s vehicle was approved in 1994 for purchase in the amount of $10,374.00. President Jim Wood received an award from the Rotary Club of Newark for his dedication, commitment, community service and excellence. Delaware City Fire Department Chief Wally Poppe offered Aetna first choice to purchase Ladder 15, which was Aetna’s first ladder truck. Aetna declined. A motion in the October meeting to install sprinkler system in Station 9 at a cost of $5,000.00 was purchased. Ray Gregg was recognized for 51 years of service at the December banquet.
John Farrell was elected Chief of Aetna in 1995. In June of that year, member Steve Austin was presented the Presidential Award at the International Association of Arson Investigators.
In 1996, Jim Wood began his 26th year as President of Aetna Hose, Hook, & Ladder Company.
In 1997, Larry Thompson was elected Chief and Past Chief Frank Beers was elected President,
ending Jim Woods 26 consecutive years in office. President Frank Beers was the first to hold both the Chief’s position and the President’s position in the department. In June, the company passed a resolution making Jim Wood, Jr. President Emeritus of Aetna Hose, Hook, & Ladder Company.
In October, Past Chief John Farrell was honored for his work in Fire Prevention and Ed Klima was
honored for his work with the Fire Fighters Combat Challenge. Olan Thomas was honored for 50
years of service, Joe Bukowski was elected 2nd V.P. of the Delaware State Fire Police Association
and Steve Austin was elected as 2nd V.P. of the Delaware Volunteer Fireman’s Association.
Larry Thompson continued as Chief and Frank Beers continued as President of Aetna in 1998. Total fire responses for the previous year (1997) were 2,329 with 32,478 personnel in service for 1,254 hours. The EMS responses totaled 4,036 with 9,717 personnel in service with 3,828 hours contacting a total of 4,442 patients.
In 1999 Jon Townley was elected as President and the membership endorsed Joe Bukowski for President of the State Fire Police Association. This year the DVFA released the “Fitch Report” of the state’s responses to Fire and EMS incidents. Aetna questioned some of its contents and who was in charge of EMS in the State. Aetna was recognized by the State Commission for the most active EMS personnel with a total of 49 EMT-B’s actively riding the ambulance. Fire Fund drive totaled $104,518.50 this year compared to $104,777.44 last year. A New Utility Pick-up truck had been ordered and will be tagged as 7-0. Automatic Steel overhead garage doors with remotes and reverse features were installed at station 9 bays for the amount of $10,782.00. In March, three members were injured in a working fire at Carleton Court Apartments. All were treated and released. A By-Law change was presented at the March meeting changing the membership joining age from 20 to 18 years of age. Stations 7 & 8 were used as polling places this year. In addition to the career staff, Aetna Board approved a six month trial period for a paid on call program to staff the ambulance for 6 hour shifts. The same month, Fire Board designated Tac 3 for fire ground operations and EMSOPs 1 for EMS radio operations. In May of this year, a working fire at the Chestnut Crossing Apartments sent victims to the Chester Crozer Burn Center for treatment. The EMS fund drive raised $112,950.00 this year. In June, the New Castle County Police Chief recognized several members for helping at the Carleton Court Fire. On July 4th Aetna supplied Engines to cover several fire work displays in the district. This year, Aetna & Christiana Fire Companies met discussing way the departments could better utilize joint purchasing, joint public relations, and district coverage among other topics. A committee was appointed to repair and upgrade Ladder 9.
The Long Range Planning Committee chaired by Dan Seador reported at the June meeting that there is someone interested in purchasing Station 8. During that meeting, discussions were held on consolidating Station 8 & 9 into one location on South Chapel Street. Past President Frank Beers was appointed to investigate the inquiry and report back to the company with his findings. Bunk beds were purchased for Stations 7, 8, and 9 to upgrade the sleeping quarters at all the stations.
Discussions were held on a contingency plan in the event that the computer systems would fail at year end. (Y2K) This would include planning for support of members and their families. A motion passed to provide a budget of $10,000.00 to support Steve Austin while he was in office as President of the Delaware Volunteer Fireman’s Association. Aetna placed a nomination for President Emeritus Jim Wood for the Fireman’s Historical Foundation of Delmarva Hall of Fame.
The ambulance fund drive totaled $122,755.00 this year. Member Mark Moroz was selected by DVFA to receive the 1999 DVFA Scholarship Award. Chief Thompson presented a new policy for keeping a gear locker and a company pager. Members would have to maintain at least 15 calls per month.
In July, Past President Beers gave an update on the interest of Station 8. A motion was made and passed to have all stations appraised. In August, Aetna hosed the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association conference & Parade in Newark. President Joe Bukowski completed his term as President of the CVVFA. An Aetna picnic was held on the DuPont site in Glasgow chaired by Director John Bonner. A New Ambulance was ordered from Delmarva Pump in the amount of $138,022.09. Delivery was scheduled in 120 days and it will be designated as A-7. At the state fireman’s convention, Steve Austin was installed as President of DVFA, Joe Bukowski was installed as President of the State Fire Police and member Drew Bowerson was selected as the EMT of the Year. In October, Hurricane Floyd passed thru the district, causing damage to the radio system. Greg Russell was named to serve as chairman of the renamed William “Pop” Hitchens Children’s Christmas Party in honor of Bill Hitchens. Member Rand Townley was honored for receiving the President’s Award from New Castle County Police. The award was presented at the White House. Crews were scheduled at all stations for the overnight shifts on December 31st. The Y2K planning was in place for the year end.
The Y2K at the year-end of 1999 had no effect to any computer or radio system. Business as usual. Aetna purchased the first portable phone in January. Aetna member Doctor Dave Bailey was appointed as the State BLS Medical Control Doctor responsible for all the EMT’s in the State. In March, the company approved to add three bays to Station 7. One would be a maintenance bay for apparatus. A motion was passed to limit smoking in the stations to the Engine Bays only. At a working fire in Fairfield, one occupant was rescued by members Tripp Wagner & Dan Einhous.
Aetna approved shirt and hat sales with NFD logo. In May, Aetna sent members to staff apparatus in Greenwood, DE after the death of their Assistant Chief Blankenship during a training exercise. The Company purchased EMS Bikes for the Bike team to be used for large crowd functions. Chief Kavanagh purchased an Imaging Camera and an Accountability System to be used on fire ground and large incidents. AED’s were purchased for ambulances and front line apparatus. Five additional AED’s were purchased for the Newark Police Department as they were more likely to be first on the scene of a CPR. A memorandum of understanding between Aetna & the U of D EMS Division concerning mutual aid responses for EMS & Fire calls was agreed upon. A portable lift was purchased for the maintenance of apparatus. The Fire fund drive totaled $84,761.50 this year. At the DVFA convention, Aetna placed 6th overall, Drew Bowerson was named Delaware Firefighter Hall of Fame and Irene LaVita-Harris was named EMT-B of the year.
In November, a working fire at Cartier Court Townhouses injured Assistant Chief Kevin Eichinger. Kevin was transported to the Chester-Crozier Hospital for his injuries. The department made available the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) team for members. The company approved the expansion of station 7 by Builder Barclay-White. Assistant Chief Eichinger was released from Crozier and was home doing well. Final price for Station 7 expansion was $370,000.00, $90.00 a square foot. Ground breaking ceremony was Dec. 16th and construction was started Dec. 18th.
In January of 2001, U of D presented Aetna with a check for $6,000.00 for pagers to have the
siren at station 9 turned off. It was effecting their equipment in the lab at Academy & Delaware.
The Long Range Planning Committee held a day and a half summit at Station 27 facilitated by Lou Amibili and Jamie Turner. The goal was to look at where Aetna was going in the next 15 to 20 years. In February, Aetna responded to the Newark Country Club for a successful rescue on the pond. A meeting was held between Aetna, Christiana, & Middletown for a possible joint firehouse to be built in the Glasgow area. The phone system at the stations was upgraded for improvement of EMS Data information. Chief Kavanagh presented a NIOSH/NFPA report at the State Chiefs meeting at Station 8 on the Cartier Court Fire. In April, a serious crash on Paper Mill Road had five fatalities. Aetna activated the CISD team. A new ambulance was purchased for $141,927.00. The new maintenance bay that was part of the expansion to station 7 was dedicated to member Richard “Dicky” Wegman who passed away recently and was a tireless assistant engineer.
In June 2001, Aetna responded to assist North East, Maryland with multiple townhouses on fire. Desk top computers were now in every radio room of all stations. Aetna has agreed to sell the tractor trailer due to lack of use. Aetna participated in manpower and apparatus sent to New York City during the terrorist attack on the United States of America. In October 2001, it was decided by the Company not to pursue the property on South Chapel but to concentrate on the Glasgow area. Treasurer Jerry Daniels reported that an increase in donations & letters to Aetna’s emergency services have been received including a donation from Irma Dudleheim’s friend from England. Total fund drive was $161,373.75. Member Irene LaVita-Harris was inducted into the DVFA Hall of Fame. Member Steve Austin was recognized as CVVFA’s Fire Person of the Year 2001.
In February of 2002 Steve Austin reported that DVFA fund raisers donated $210,000.00 to the FDNY/NYPD Relief Fund from the State of Delaware. Aetna participated in the State wide smoke detector give away by DVFA. Commissioner Ken McMahon recognized Aetna who had 53 certified EMT-B’s, the most in the State. Chief Steve Kavanagh was chosen to serve as a model for a painting that would be shown at the CFSI dinner in Washington. EMS Captain Chris Johnson reported that the EMS response time was 2.5 minutes for Aetna. A letter from Aetna was sent to New Castle County EMS Chief Larry Tan requesting a Medic Unit be located in one of the fire houses in Newark. In June 2002, Career staff Marty Rogolowicz accepted the position as Aetna’s supervisor. Del Dot installed Opticon devices at intersections to assist emergency apparatus thru the lights. A bus crash on I-95 ended up being a mass casualty incident (MCI). Aetna had trained for such incident in the past. Aetna purchased rapid intervention bags (RIT) for the apparatus. Total fires for the year 2002 was 2,599 and EMS responses were over 6,000, an increase of 10% over last year. Fire fund drive was $132,310.50.
In May of 2003, Aetna accepted a bid from Pierce to purchase three new engines, to be delivered on January 1st of the next three years for a total of $962,410.00. By purchasing three, it saved the department over $250,000.00. In August of 2003, Aetna hired a full time mechanic and approved a motion to establish an Honorary Membership for the Company. During a hurricane in October, the department responded to over 140 calls. Chief Kavanagh was working on a refund for apparatus use and costs for manpower thru FEMA. Past President Charles Wollaston was honored as the Fireman of the Year.
In 2004 President Ed Hawthorne hired a full time mechanic for station 7, Scottie Uhey. That year, an AED was installed in the hall at Station 8. In October of 2004, Aetna made settlement on the Glasgow property on Old County Road for the new Station 10 project. A “Live-in Program” for Aetna was passed on the company floor. Fire fund drive totaled $ 142,278.57.
At the January meeting in 2005, Chief Walt Meredith & President Larry Thompson reported that the fire calls for 2004 were 2,152 & EMS calls were 6,280, for a total responses of 8,432. Past Chief Steve Kavanagh was appointed to the county Fire and Ambulance Advisory Board to represent Aetna, Christiana, & Mill Creek. Past Chief Bill Matthews was awarded Firefighter of the Year.
In January 2006, Chief Jon Townley & President Larry Thompson reported the total responses for Aetna for 2005 were at 8,955 calls. In February, Aetna purchase three vehicles, a new Chiefs car, a new fire duty vehicle and an EMS duty vehicle, all for under the two vehicle budget of $100,000.00. In April, the EMS Captain was changed to the EMS Deputy Chief by a vote of 35 in favor, 2 opposed. Member Chris Johnson was the new EMS Deputy Chief. The old chief’s car was sold to Preston for $5,000.00. Medic 9 was located at station 8 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. On June 10th, ground breaking ceremonies were held on Old County Road for the new station 10. In July, Aetna was recognized by the City of Wilmington for the response to the City’s Crestview Apartment Fire. In August at the Chief’s meeting, a motion was passed to do away with the “10 code” and transmit with plain language. Aetna held a drill at the new Newark Reservoir. In November, Aetna reported a “close call” when a member was rescued after he ran out of air in a fire. In December, a working house fire in Woodmere ended up being a double fatal fire with heavy damage to the house.
President Larry Thompson & Chief Bryan Kreer reported that the final fund drive for 2006 was $143,705.00. Dedication for Station 10 was held on June 6th, 2007 and the station was placed in service. The total for the ambulance fund drive was $142,717.00. Several members were recognized for a successful rescue from a working house fire on Stage Road. In November of 2007, Chief Kreer placed in service accountability tags for all members and safety vests on all apparatus. At the annual “Wake up Delaware”, Aetna gave away 341 smoke detectors.
In 2007 for the first time, Aetna responded to over 10,000 Fire, Rescue & EMS calls. The Fire & Rescue responses were 2008 incidents and the EMS responses were 8,286 totaling 10,004 calls.
In 2009 President Robinson signed a contract to purchase a new Ladder 9 from Pierce in the amount of $839,727.00 to be delivered in 2011. Chief Brian Hendricks nominated Past Chief Ken Farrall for Chief Emeritus and the department voted in favor the same year. Fire Department Service Medal Ribbon program was instituted for Class “A” uniforms for acts of Valor which included years of service on the sleeves of the Class “A”.
In 2010 Chief Hendricks took delivery of a New Pierce Rescue 8. This year Chief Hendricks also instituted the Individual Reflective Vests for all Fire, EMS & Fire Police members while on duty. Two additional Career Firefighters were hired to the staff.
In July of this year during a heavy rain storm, Aetna responded to a motor vehicle crash where a pedestrian was fatally struck. The patient was Aetna Firefighter/EMT Teri Schall. Multiple fire departments provided coverage for the District immediately afterwards and for the next two days straight demonstrating the true Service for Others Motto.
On March 17th 2011 the new Ladder 9 was delivered to Station 9. Prior to delivery the ladder 9 bay height had to be raised to fit the ladder into the bay. The construction was completed by PHB, Inc. of Middletown for $75,000.00. Impact fees from New Castle County covered $70,000.00 of the costs. In May of this year, a jack knifed tractor trailer in the Pencader Corporate Center carrying a hazardous chemical involved several agencies. This resulted in closing I-95 to tow the trailer to New Jersey for off-loading. An open house at Station 8 this year housed the new Rescue 8 and the New Ladder 9. Past President Bill Frazer, the oldest living member was recognized. This year the Class “B” uniform was instituted for the EMS crews and Public Service events providing a professional image for Aetna.
In March of 2012, Aetna was in service at a motor vehicle crash on Pulaski Highway with entrapment when Aetna was dispatched for a working fire in Covered Bridge. Early on, a career firefighter fell thru a hole in the floor while battling the fire. A Mayday was declared and he was rescued with only minor burns & released back to duty. In October, Aetna responded to a bus crash on the interstate, which ended up being an MCI. In December 2012, Chief Rudd reported on a two alarm building fire at 92 Hobart Drive with heavy fire damage to the building.
In 2013 with Chief John Rudd and President George Robinson, the Department began celebrating its 125th year of “Service to Others” in Newark. Chief Rudd hosted the Delaware State Fire Chiefs in January 2013. In April, Station 10 hosted a motorcycle fund-raiser ride, and a portion of the proceeds were donated to the Wounded Warriors Project. On May 19th, the Memorial Day Parade in Newark had 125 members in attendance. In September, Aetna had 125 members participating in the DVFA parade in Dover. Aetna had the color guard participating at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Emmitsburg. On December 17th, 125 years of Service to Others was celebrated at Station 8 with a Chief’s Christmas Party.
During this year, Chief Rudd took command during a major storm. Damage was the result of a confirmed EF0 tornado which touched down in Robscott Manor, Yorkshire and Woodland Villages in June. Multiple agencies assisted with injuries but eight homes were condemned due to severe structural damage from winds and falling trees. Aetna assisted in a “Hero’s Welcome Home” for a USMC L/CPL returning from a tour in Afghanistan. The U of D UDECU program run by University students was turned over to the U of D Department of Public Safety. Aetna offered any help to field train their students. Several Aetna Officers and Career staff took the fire instructor class offered by the DSFS called the Blue Card Command class. This year, Chief Rudd worked with the EMS Deputy Chief Fardanesh and his staff in an outreach program to teach CPR to over 100 members of the public.