History

Early Years:
In the year 1954 the people in the area of Gumboro realized a need, that need was for the establishment of a fire company. At that time there was very little that the community could do to save property in the event of a fire. If a fire should happen to break out in the Gumboro area, fire apparatus would have to respond from Millsboro, Delaware ten miles to the north and Pittsville, Maryland seven miles to the south; with this in mind the property usually would be totally destroyed by fire by the two companies arrival time.

The first meeting was held in the Gumboro School on December 2, 1954 for the purpose of organizing a fire company. That evening there were two committees formed, one to secure land to build a firehouse, this committee was comprised of Clinton Wooten, Robert Smith and Walter Short; and the other to build the firehouse comprised of Charles Jones, Earl Short and Preston Stephens. Walter Short was also appointed to start advertising and obtain pledges for the company. Preston Nibblett was elected Chairman.

Chairman Preston Nibblett opened the second meeting held in Gumboro School on December 9, 1954, at this meeting the members proceeded to organize and elect part of the officers. The company's first officers were: President James Murray, Recording secretary Robert Smith, and Treasurer Harry Cooper. That evening the membership dues to the new company was set at $2.00 per year. Also at this meeting a committee was appointed for the purpose of getting the company charter and incorporation; this committee was comprised of James Wharton, Clinton Wooten, and Lester Daisey. Also at this meeting the company purchased the land to build the firehouse for the sum of $800.00.

December 13, 1954 another meeting was held and Gumboro Fire Company had received its charter and Articles of Incorporation. Now that things were moving along another committee was formed for the purpose of getting fire trucks for the new company; this committee was comprised of: Preston Nibblett, James Wharton, Victor Baker and Clinton Wooten. Following the appointment of this committee line officers were elected; these are the first line officers: Fire Chief- Lester Daisey, Chief Engineer-Preston Nibblett, Assistant Chief Engineer- Maurice Daisey, Fire Recorder- Walter Short, Fire Police- Howard Moore, Albert Carey and Earl Short.

First Equipment:
January 5 1955, the fourth meeting of the Gumboro Fire Company was called and Chief Engineer Preston Nibblett appointed Calvin Tull, Albert Carey, John Downes, Victor Baker and Carmel Collins as assistants. Also Preston Nibblett, Maurice Daisey, Ray Jones, and Victor Baker were assigned to find a fire truck.

On January 20,1955, the company purchased a 1955 Dodge Pumper, the pumper would have a 500 gpm pump and a 750 gallon water tank, all for the cost of $5,700.00. Also at this time the company applied for membership in the Sussex County Fireman's Association. Gumboro Fire Company became a member of the Association on April 26,1955 when approved at the regular meeting held in Seaford, Delaware. May of 1955 Gumboro Fire Company was also accepted into the Delmarva Fireman's Association.

Before delivery of the new pumper, the company and its members purchased the chassis of a 1948 Chevrolet farm truck for the sum of $500.00 from Warren Motor Company on May 5,1955. The chassis was taken to Nibblett's Machine shop where it was fitted with a 1,150-gallon water tank, a Civil Defense 750 gpm water pump that was powered by a Chrysler engine and cooled by an Allis Chalmers tractor radiator donated by Frankford Volunteer Fire Company. Also donated by Milton Volunteer Fire Company was enough hose to get the truck into service. This engine eventually became designated 79-1. Before completion of 79-1 she responded to her first alarm of a car shed fire at the residence of Mr. Clayton Joseph. Legend has it that as Gumboro's engine entered the fire scene; by-standers would not clear a path for the engine to get through. At that time a hose was charged and water was sprayed on the crowd to open a hole for the engine to pass through. Upon returning to the station, the Fire Chief- Preston Nibblett resigned stating that, "He did not want to be put into a position to order such things done again." Milton Nibblett who served as Fire Chief of Gumboro for over twenty years replaced him. Until completion of the fire house 79-1 was housed at Milton Nibblett's garage along with the siren. To this day Gumboro Fire Company has the distinction of being the only Fire Company in the State of Delaware to have started with a homemade fire engine and still have it as a serviceable piece.

Firehouse Becomes Reality:
On July 21, 1955 at the regular meeting of the Fire Company, the president appointed a new building committee for the purpose of building a firehouse on the land purchased by the Fire Company; the committee consisted of: Robert Smith, Harry Cooper, Victor Baker, Preston Stephens and Charles Jones. By thanksgiving Gumboro Fire Company started holding its annual turkey and oyster supper in the newly completed firehouse. When built, the new firehouse had an engine bay, dining hall, kitchen and meeting room and is located on Route 26 in Gumboro.

In September of 1955 the company took delivery of its first newly manufactured engine. From that September through December the company was procuring different items and appliances for the new station.

Ambulance Service:
By 1958 Gumboro Fire Company realized the need to have an Ambulance service and acquired a 1949 Buick Ambulance from Westside Fire Company in Bivalve Maryland. All the while, the company started looking into the possibility of purchasing a new Ambulance. Finally in August of 1961 a brand new Pontiac Ambulance was purchased for the sum of $6,950.00. In 1962 Gumboro became listed through the Civil Defense program as a mobile hospital in the event of emergencies. By 1970 a new Ambulance needed to be purchased, so in January of 1971 a new 1970 Cadillac Ambulance was purchased for the total cost of $15,000.00; this piece is still owned by Gumboro Fire Company and next to 79-1 is the second oldest piece of equipment. This Ambulance also has the distinction of being one of two Cadillac Ambulances left in the state of Delaware.

From the foundation of the Gumboro Fire Company in 1954 to September of 1962, the only way that water could be obtained for filling the engines was from a dirt water hole it was decided that a well was needed and one was driven by Delmarva Well Drilling. Due to the growth of company members, it was thought that in December of 1966 that the firehouse be expanded. This expansion was completed in December of 1967 with addition of 2 engine bays, a meeting room and storage room.