June 12, 2005


Washington, DC

Indian Head, Maryland

Central Division

The central division of the NDW Fire Department commenced operations in 1980, consolidating the fire and rescue services at Bolling Air Force Base, the Washington Navy Yard and the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC.

NDW Fire has mutual aid agreements with the District of Columbia Fire Department and the Prince George's County, Maryland, Fire Department.

Fire Station 1 - Bolling Air Force Base
Engine 41 and Truck 21
(There are no aircraft operations at Bolling)

Fire Station 2 - Washington Navy Yard
Engine 42

Fire Station 3 - Naval Research Laboratory
Engine 43 and Hazmat 43

From the Central Division's web site:

As directed in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Memorandum of 25 April 1977 Commandant, N.D.W acting for the Department of the Navy, and Commander 1185th Civil Engineering Group, acting for the Department of the Air Force, conducted a joint survey of fire protection and prevention services in the Washington Navy Yard, Anacostia Site, Bolling Air Force Base and Naval Research Laboratory areas, to determine the most efficient means of providing fire protection under a consolidated fire fighting agency.

Project procedures include review of past correspondence and current directives, determination of minimum fire protection requirements at the affected military bases, detailed assessment of the response capabilities of the existing fire departments, comparison of costs under present and consolidated management, and definition of an optimal organization.

The survey determined that it was both operationally and economically feasible to provide fire protection commensurate with the most stringent Navy and Air Force requirements, with a consolidated department . The recommended organization would be Navy administered and operated; civilian manned. Continued back-up assistance under a formal Mutual Aid Agreement would be required of the District of Columbia Fire Department.

The Consolidation of the fire department services was completed on 15 July 1980.

Bolling AFB History

From the Bolling AFB web site:

Located on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., Bolling is located in the nation’s capital. Bolling’s men and women proudly accept their responsibility as a showcase for the Air Force because of its proximity to the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and the White House.

The base officially opened July 1, 1918, and was named in honor of the first high-ranking Air Service officer killed in World War I, Col. Raynal C. Bolling, who died March 26, 1916.

Bolling’s early years chronicled the growth of the entire U.S. Air Force and served as a proving ground for the new Air Service as it spread its wings. Bolling Field also served as a research and testing ground for new aviation equipment and it’s first mission provided aerial defense of the capital and accommodated pilot proficiency.

Already well established as one of the world’s best aviation bases, Bolling rapidly grew during the years 1939 through 1945 as it met once again the challenge of a world war. The core units at Bolling at the beginning of 1939 were one housekeeping squadron, the base headquarters, the 14th Air Base Squadron and two air base maintenance squadrons -- the first and second staff squadrons.

For the remainder of World War II, Bolling served as a training and organization base for men and units going overseas and became the aerial gateway to the nation’s capital.

Because of airspace congestion around National Airport, fixed-wing flying activities left Bolling in 1962 for nearby Andrews Air Force Base. This meant Bolling’s role would change to that of a support base and a new era would begin.

Navy Yard and NRL History

From the Navy Yard's web site:

The Washington Navy Yard, authorized by the first Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert, in 1799, is the U.S. Navy's oldest shore establishment. It occupies land set aside by George Washington for use by the Federal Government along the Anacostia River. The original boundaries that were established in 1800, along 9th and M Streets SE, are still marked by a white brick wall, built in 1809 along with a guard house.

World War II found the Navy Yard as the largest naval ordnance plant in the world, with the weapons designed and built there used in every war in which the United States fought until the 1960s. Small components for optical systems and enormous 16-inch battleship guns were manufactured here. The Navy Yard was renamed the U.S. Naval Gun Factory in December 1945, and ordnance work was finally phased out in 1961. Three years later, on July 1, 1964, the activity was redesignated the Washington Navy Yard, and the deserted factory buildings began to be converted to office spaces.

From the Naval Research Lab web site:

NRL was the first modern research institution created within the U.S. Navy. It began operations at 11 a.m. on July 2, 1923. ... The laboratory has pioneered naval research into space, from atmospheric probes with captured V-2 rockets, through direction of the Vanguard project - America's first satellite program - to involvement in such projects as the Navy's Global Positioning System. ... Today, NRL is the Navy's lead laboratory in space systems research, fire research, tactical electronic warfare, microelectronic devices, and artificial intelligence.

Indian Head

From the NDW Western Area's web site:

Founded in 1890, the facility at Indian Head was the Navy's first established presence in southern Maryland. What began many years ago as a gun test facility on the Potomac River, has evolved and expanded to include numerous scientific and response-force missions serving all branches of the military: Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marines.

In May 2005, the web site dcmilitary.com reported:

Rep. Steny Hoyer, Maryland's 5th District Congressman and current Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, officially dedicated Indian Head's new fire engine last month.
Speaking in front of an assembled group of firefighters and officials from the Naval District Washington West Area, Hoyer said that the new fire truck represented a "commitment to the Navy and to the area."

"I am happy to be here today to see the results of the funds we were able to secure in last year's Defense Appropriations bill," Hoyer said.

"This new ladder truck will be an important addition to the equipment in service here at Indian Head, and will allow the department's 45 firefighters to also better serve not only the base but also the people who live and work in Charles County. Under the mutual aid agreement with the county, last year this station responded to more than 300 calls outside the gates of the base, making Chief (Jay) Thompson's firefighters a vital asset to the surrounding area of the base," he said.

The 13th term Democrat noted that the funding also addressed shortfalls projected for firefighting equipment at other NDW facilities as well, including Patuxent River, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Dahlgren Va. (where an identical truck was delivered).

"I am happy that we have been able to provide some relief for a number of installations through the Naval District Washington, and I am always proud to fight hard in support of our volunteer, career, civilian and federal firefighters. I will continue to champion increased funding for equipment, training and staffing, enhanced pay and benefits, and improved safety conditions for firefighters," he said.

The Mechanicsville resident was joined in the dedication by NDW fire chief Ed Stillwell and Bruce Poore and Joe Gronau, IAFF union officials who were involved with Hoyer in a recent caucus seeking increased benefits and safety concerns for federal firefighters.

"We are asking men and women serving our military installations as firefighters to do so with outdated and inadequate equipment," Hoyer pointed out, adding that the new truck replaced one that "is nearly 20 years old."

"I am disappointed that we have to fight for extra dollars to make sure we have adequate firefighting equipment to protect our military bases," he said. "This is a very specific example of an argument I have been making for sometime...that we are underfunding our military, even though the Pentagon will spend more than half a billion dollars this year."

The new truck is a 765-foot Pierce ladder-pumper. Together, with the Dahlgren truck and associated fire equipment, the NDW West Area benefit was estimated at $450,000.