On September 6, 1936 in the small village
of Hockessin, Delaware, the Hockessin Supply Company
burned down, nearly taking the nearby property with it. Five men with strong visions
of Hockessin having its own fire company met in Charles Gormley’s store and
later adjourned to his house to further discuss the problem. The five men laid
plans for the new fire company and generated interest from the community.
The founders held their first official meeting on October 15, 1936 in the
Lamborn Library. At that meeting temporary officers were elected; President
Clarence Collins, Vice President Charles Gormley, Secretary Elmer Taylor,
Treasurer Robert Kelton, Surgeon Dr. Jess Selinkoff, and Financial Secretary
Clarence Highfield. Once other companies heard that Hockessin was forming a
fire company, Cranston Heights Fire Company offered to loan one of their fire
engines until Hockessin could purchase their own. A lot was purchased from the
Hockessin Community Club on November 27, 1936 to build a firehouse. They bought
the lot for $600.00.
On December 29, 1936 the first permanent slate of officers to include the
temporary officers were elected. Added were Fire Chief John Winners and 1st
Assistant Chief Charles Gormley. On July 13, 1937 John Winners resigned as Fire
Chief. Oliver Eastburn was then elected as the fire company’s second chief. In
August of the same year, the company purchased its first fire engine from Kennett
Square Fire Company. With the help of the company’s Ladies Auxiliary money was
put towards a new fire engine on May 2, 1938. The new Autocar 750 gpm pumper
didn’t arrive until 1941. This diesel fire engine was the first of its kind in
The year 1950 started a legacy that still exists today. The Hockessin Fire
Company elected M. Fred Roser to succeed the 12-year reign of Oliver Eastburn.
In 1952 the company purchased a Dodge Power Wagon brush truck, which was one
of the first of its type in the state of Delaware.
In 1957 the ambulance service was instituted along with the purchase of a fully
equipped Cadillac ambulance. The 1960s brought the expansion of the new
firehouse built in 1955. This expansion added administrative offices and the
Hockessin Memorial Hall. In 1971 the fire company’s second brush truck arrived.
The fire company put into service a 1971 GMC brush truck.
While responding to a house fire in 1972, members had to rely on their
intuition and training to save the house and their chief. As Chief M. Fred
Roser made his way into the house, which was under construction; he fell
through a hole in the floor. Chief Roser suffered a broken hip and cracked a
vertebra. Members were able to extract Chief Roser out of the basement and
contain the fire at the same time.
A year later, David P. Roser took over his father’s position as Fire Chief.
This brought the end to a twenty-three year era as fire Chief. 1977 brought the
arrival of a 1976 Autocar Heavy Rescue truck. This was the first of its kind in
the state. 1989 was a big year for the fire company. Fire Chief Emeritus M.
Fred Roser passed away. Hundreds attended the full fireman’s funeral. Chief
Emeritus Roser took his last ride on engine 19-2 to his final resting place.
Not long after the passing of Chief Emeritus M. Fred Roser, Hockessin was
hit by a tornado. Along with damaging many residents, the tornado destroyed Sanford School’s new gymnasium. The tornado’s
debris path was so intense, that firefighters had to park on Lancaster Pike and
walk to Sanford School.
The 1990s started off with the housing of Tower 19. The hundred-foot ladder
tower was put into service in May of 1990.
In early 1993, the Number 5 Mill at NVF was hit by fire. Firefighters had to
deal with extreme cold, snow and partial building collapses while fighting the
On February 6, 1996, the fire company responded to a motor vehicle crash
involving a bus. Little did the responding members know, that this would be the
most tragic day in the companies history. Upon arrival members realized the man
down in the road was one of their own, Jonathan “Fig” Newton. Fig left behind a wife, two daughters
and an unborn son.
1997 saw the company’s first 2400-gallon tanker and HMMV field/multi purpose
vehicle. With the century coming to an end Hockessin saw the completion of the
new firehouse and administrative offices.
With the closing of 2003 the fire company saw the end of Chief David P.
Roser tenure as Chief. He proudly served Hockessin with 31 years as the Chief.
He’ll continue to serve as Hockessin Fire Companies Chief Emeritus.
January 2004 James Sapp was elected as Hockessin Fire Company’s fifth Chief.
On January 2006, Mike Edison was elected the sixth Chief of the Hockessin
In January 2008, Drew Outten became the seventh Chief of the Hockessin Fire
Mike Perrone was elected the eighth Chief on January 2011. In June the
company receives its new Engine 19-5 with a CAFS system. On October 15 the
Hockessin Fire Company celebrated its 75th anniversary marking 75 years of
service to it’s community.
Today, just as years past, the officers and members are still committed to
protecting the lives and property of Hockessin.