HISTORY OF JOHN H. ENDERS
The fire service first started in 1883 when the Berryville Town Council purchased a horse drawn “hook and ladder truck” from a manufacturer in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
John H. Enders was born July 19, 1862, in Winchester Virginia. Mr. Enders moved to Berryville in 1892. Mr. Enders started the John H. Enders Funeral Home and was a funeral director and master furniture maker. Mr. Enders was the originator and loyal supporter of many carnivals and bazaars. John H. Enders saw a need for an organized fire department. In March 1900, “Captain John”, as he would become known, and the town council organized the Berryville Fire Department. His untiring efforts allowed the town to acquire the finest firefighting equipment. In 1926, with Captain John’s help the first piece of motorized fire apparatus was purchased, a 1926 Seagrave pumper. It was housed in Mr. Enders Funeral home. Mr. Enders was a resident of Berryville for just under 40 years. Captain John died Friday June 23, 1933 in Berryville at his home of a heart ailment. It was not until after his death that the Berryville Fire Department was named John H. Enders Fire Company. Many things were said by his peers in the newspaper at the time of his death. “No citizen in Clarke County is better known than Captain John”, “Always helped in a quiet way”, “People always had a high degree of respect for him”. Captain Johns son Charles J. Enders was born June 28, 1895 and was also a funeral director and a member of the fire company, he died August 10, 1989.
Members of the fire company served as honorary pallbearers.
In 1935 a Firehouse was built on East Main Street a couple of doors up from the John H. Enders Funeral Home. It has been used as offices for The Town of Berryville and its Police Department since 1958. A new four bay firehouse was built at 9 South Buckmarsh Street, which is the current location of the firehouse today. A 1938 Seagrave and a 1949 Mack pumper were brought up from the old building to the new building. This new four bay building would take care of the needs of the company for many years.
In 1958 a new Mack pumper was purchased. After many years of providing assistance to the local Red Cross using a station wagon ambulance to transport sick and injured people to the hospital a Rescue Squad was formed in 1962, and it became the John H. Enders Fire Company and Rescue Squad. A new ambulance was purchased. In 1963 an addition to the building was made for offices, bunk room for rescue duty crews, meeting room and kitchen. In 1965 another Mack pumper was ordered to replace the 1938 Seagrave. The rescue squad served the whole county and as calls grew so did the need for an additional ambulance. The members of the company purchased a new 1967 Chevrolet suburban and with the craftsmanship of carpenters, electricians, and mechanics designed and built a second ambulance. In 1971 a International Intern Ambulance was purchased from Clarke County Motors in Berryville to replace a worn out 1963 International ambulance. In 1976 a new state of the art Mack custom pumper with a five man canopy cab was purchased to replace the 1949 Mack. The 1949 Mack was sold and repurchased by the company several times. One of the members of the company purchased the Mack several years ago for $1,949.00. In 1977 a new Chevrolet van type ambulance was purchased to replace the suburban. In 1979 a new Springfield van type ambulance was purchased with a grant from the Virginia Rescue Squad assistance fund to replace the 1971 model. In 1980 a new Mack MB Pierce 1250 gallon Tanker/Pumper was purchased to replace the 1958 Mack pumper. 1984 a Ford Van McCoy-Miller ambulance was purchased to replace the 1977. In 1988 the company obtained the Counties first ladder truck, a 1967 Seagrave 100 foot tiller drawn aerial. This ladder truck was donated to the company by the Fairfax County, Virginia Fire & Rescue Department. Due to the increasing calls for ambulance assistance a third ambulance was added, a 1988 Chevrolet Type I walk-thru. This was the companies first box type ambulance. Currently a fleet of eleven vehicles are maintained for emergency response.
Seeing the need for additional space for new apparatus an addition was added in 1986 with five additional bay spaces, offices, social hall and large kitchen.
A large bell was used in the Firehouse on East Main street to call meetings together and for special occasions. The bell was moved several years ago to the firehouse on Buckmarsh Street. In 2002 a brick structure was built in the front of the station for the bell to be displayed along with two new flag poles.
A fire siren has been a long history of the fire company in notifying its members of calls. Originally the fire siren was on the roof of an apartment building on Main street that is currently Berryville Pharmacy. When the new firehouse was built at 9 South Buckmarsh Street the siren was moved to a pole outside the station. The siren is still used today to alert members and the public of an emergency. Many of the residents still admire the siren when it is sounded each Saturday at noon for a test. In 2002 one of the new residents having lived here one year complained about the siren. The citizens rallied behind the Company and Town Council to keep the siren. Washington’s Channel 5 News team came out to the meeting night and aired a very good segment with interviews of the citizens and members. It still sounds today and since then the complainant has moved out of the area.