On February 19, 1859, many invaluable papers were lost when the Harford County Courthouse was destroyed by fire. During these early years fire protection was considered a community effort. When the alarm was raised, members of the community would go to the scene of the fire with buckets and form a bucket brigade to extinguish the fire. Citizens of the community would also bring ladders, axes and other tools that might prove useful. Water sources were found where available. Anything from water troughs, wells, barrels, etc., were used as there was no water system with hydrants. With no water system or organized fire department, most buildings burned to the ground and were a total loss.
By 1890 the population of the village of Bel Air was 1,416 and growing. There were already five hotels, three blacksmith shops, two banks, seven physicians, one undertaker, three tanners, 34 lawyers and many independent businesses. Architects were hired to design not only public buildings as well as houses for the increasingly sophisticated and wealthy residents. These buildings needed protection from disastrous fires. And so begins the history of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.
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The BAVFC has a rich, well-detailed history. Browse the sections listed below for a full rundown of how we have evolved since those early days.
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