History of PACHVRS
Fire and Rescue Company 5 Fire and Rescue Company 21
Princess Anne Courthouse Fire and Volunteer Rescue Squad
Officially chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission, as the Princess Anne Courthouse Fire and Rescue Squad on November 24, 1947, The Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad was formed by 12 residents in April of 1947, when the area was still Princess Anne County. It was formed because of the need for the service in the area. The nearest Fire and Rescue station was at the oceanfront in what was then the Town of Virginia Beach. The Farmers and citizens that started forming the squad, made several requests to the state and the National Guard which were denied for a donation of a fire engine.
The original fire station was a small, old barn owned by Titus Sawyer off North Landing Road. The barn was only used to store the fire truck; there were no sleeping or living quarters.
In September 1948 Chief R.H. West created a committee to plan for and construct a new station at Princess Anne Courthouse. The committee members were:
F. W. Kellam, Chairman
Shortly after, the Princess Anne Courthouse Fire and Rescue Squad moved into a newer building in the courthouse complex. This building was located directly across the street for the modern day Shell Station and had two stories. The downstairs had two bays that were used to house the apparatus. The upstairs was used for meetings, sleeping, and living quarters, in addition, the fire station was also used for social functions, such as dances and parties. Directly behind the fire station was the County Jail. The jail was only manned with one jailer during the day, and one guard and one lieutenant at night. The volunteers from the fire station would routinely go over to the jail and assist the policemen with answering phones and basic help.
In 1950, On behalf of the department, Chief West purchased 7 helmets from the Richmond Rubber Co for $96.00;
5 black MSA regular style Fireman’s Helmets with Style 1 black shields. The black shields had a red background and a top arch with the letters PACH and a bottom block with the letters VFD ($68.00),
1 White MSA regular style Fireman’s Helmet with Style 8 white shield. The white shield had a red background and a top arch with the letters CAPT a center block with the letters PACH and a bottom block with the letters VFD ($14.00),
1 White MSA regular style Fireman’s Helmet with Style 8 white shield. The white shield had a red background and a top arch with the letters CHIEF a center block with the letters PACH and a bottom block with the letters VFD ($14.00).
The first ambulance, a used Cadillac Station wagon was also purchased in 1950. This vehicle did not have much of the necessary equipment on board, so the members had to work hard to stock and equip it.
Young Fire Equipment Company of Buffalo, New York built the first big engine. It was the first modern engine in Princess Anne County.
In 1963, Princess Anne County merged with the Town of Virginia Beach, to form the Independent City of Virginia Beach.
In 1968, the squad moved from this station into the “modern” station at 2461 Princess Anne Rd. This new modern station was built by the city for the Volunteers because the City needed the property that the Volunteers were located on to use as parking for the new Circuit Court Bldg.
Princess Anne Courthouse Fire and Rescue Squad has operated continuously from its current location at Bldg. 13 in the Municipal Center complex since 1968.
Not long after the merger, the city leaders decided that a paid fire service was needed. A single paid fireman was placed in each existing fire station. The rescue squad remained a volunteer service along with a few dedicated volunteer firefighters. After the merger, the Young Crusader fire engine was given to the Davis Corner Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad.
When the squad finally had an ambulance built for them, several members went to pick it up from the factory in Dallas, Texas. While driving it home, the back wheel came off on the interstate. A state police officer and a wrecker had to help them off the road.
In 1988 The Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad had 33 members who volunteered 3,800 hours for the City of Virginia Beach and the 4,500 families that lived in the primary response area.
In 1999, the squad recognized that there had been heavy growth in the Red Mill and Strawbridge areas of the city. Recognizing this fact The Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad opened a rescue substation to better serve the areas of Ocean Lakes and Red Mill.
In 2017 the squad is the third largest of the 10 all volunteer rescue squads in Virginia Beach. We have a membership that total 90 dedicated volunteers volunteering in excess of 40,000 hours annually operating four Advanced Life Support ambulances and one Special Events cart out of two stations and still serving a primary response area that encompasses approximately 1/3 of the city’s land mass (100 Sq Miles) and a population that is in excess of 40,000 families.