Dorothy Volunteer Fire Company - Est. 1935


Saturday, May 25th

Contact Us Contact Us


History of the Dorothy Volunteer Fire Department
Selected excerpts from the article by: Robert C. Birch, Sr.

The Dorothy Volunteer Fire Company was established in 1935, after the community recognized the need for local fire protection in wake of a large chicken coop fire in June of that year. A large coop owned by Edmond Seelman burned, causing a large loss to his poultry business. Since there was no fire company in Dorothy, fire engines from Richland, East Vineland, Mays Landing, and Egg Harbor City responded to the fire, but by the time they arrived, the coop was a total loss.

After this fire, several local businessmen and citizens organized, and formed the Dorothy Volunteer Fire Company. They bought the first fire engine, a 1936 Chevrolet which was equipped with a 500 gallon tank, a 400 G.P.M. pump, hose, ax, and ladder. The truck was purchased from Bullock Chevrolet, of Vineland, the fire engine pump, tank, and equipment was purchased from the Philadelphia Fire Truck Works, all, for a total cost of $2,140.00

In the early years of the company, most of the fires involved chicken coops, forest fires, and chimney fires. Since most homes were heated with wood and coal stoves, these stoves were often a cause of fires. Lightning was another leading cause at the time.

The first Fire Chief was Otto Geyer, and the membership consisted of many well known family names of that era, such as, Barna, Bullock, Barnosky, Clemenson, Josephsen, Seelman, Sutherland and Weiss, to name a few.

Land and Building

During the June 1936 meeting, the membership moved to accept the donation of property for a firehouse, made by a Mr. Hanus. The land was a small plot of ground, with 60 feet frontage and 75 feet deep. It was located on South Jersey Ave. (Tuckahoe Rd.) where the Firehouse stands today. It was also moved to erect a building, 24 feet by 30 feet on the property. Over the years the building was modified to accommodate larger fire engines, this was done by jacking the building up and installing a new foundation. More land has been purchased around the firehouse building, and today we have a total of 5 acres.

In the early 1960s, an addition was placed on the rear of the original building as a meeting room. Then in 1975, another small garage bay was added to the rear of the building to house an ambulance. In 1985, a large addition was placed on the south side of the original building, with four bays, which now house equipment and fire gear. 

The building and grounds are marked today by a beautiful red brick sign, which was donated by the Dorothy Fire Ladies Auxiliary. This sign was erected in 1996, and is used to inform all who pass by, about fire company and community events.

Fire Engines over the Years
Over the past 62 years the company has purchased several fire engines, some are still in service, and some have been sold. The following is a listing of fire engines owned by the Dorothy Fire Company in the order they were purchased:

1936 Chevrolet - Philadelphia Fire Truck Works, 500 Gal. with 400 G.P.M. pump (Currently being Restored.)
1946 Former Fuel Truck Tanker, 1000 Gal.
1942 Chevrolet Army Fire Engine, 500 Gal.
1963 GMC - Hahn, 1000 Gal. with 750 G.P.M. pump
1949 International - Great Eastern, 500 Gal. with 500 G.P.M. pump
1973 Chevrolet, 1000 Gal. with 750 G.P.M. pump
1956 Dodge, Military 4-WD, Brush Truck, 250 Gal.
1993 Freightliner - KME, 1250 Gal. with 1250 G.P.M. pump (In Service)
2003 KME Pumper/Tanker, 2800 Gal. with 1500 G.P.M. pump (In Service)

Ambulance Service

For many years, the ambulance service in Dorothy was provided by the American Legion. In the early 1970s, the American Legion turned over it's 1966 Pontiac ambulance to the Dorothy Fire Company. At that time, the ambulance was stored in a shed behind Elwood and Jane Seelman's home, and the Dorothy Post Office. In 1975, a new dodge ambulance was purchased, and was too big for the shed, so an addition was placed on the back of the firehouse, and that housed the new "Rig" as it was called.

In 1979, a Chevrolet ambulance was purchased and served until 1987. Then in 1987 a new Chevrolet chassis was purchased, and the 1979 box style ambulance body was placed on it. The company also purchased a 1987 Chevrolet Rescue Truck, to carry the Jaws of Life tool and other rescue equipment. In 1997 a new Ford - Braun model ambulance was purchased and went into service in August of that year.  In 2003 a twin to 1997 Ford – Braun ambulance was purchased and placed in service.

Special Equipment

The fire company now has many other pieces of equipment that it uses to better serve the community. The following is a list of some of that equipment: Cardiac Defibrillator’s, Jaws of Life Rescue Tool, Portable Rams, Rescue Alive Ice and Water Rescue Unit with Cold water rescue suits.

Current Status of the Organization

As of 1997, the Dorothy Volunteer Fire Company had over 60 Active, Life, and Social members. Firefighters and EMTs are trained at the Atlantic County Fire Academy, and the Atlantic Community College. The company is dispatched from Buena District 11, and we are Station 12-7. At this time we have 2 Fire Engines, 2 EMS (Ambulance) Units, and 1 Rescue Truck. 

The area protected by the fire company is 12.12 sq. miles, and the area covered by our ambulance is 70 sq. miles. We are also the back up Fire Company to Estell Manor, and Milmay. Ambulance service is provided to Weymouth Twp. (Dorothy & Belcoville), Estell Manor, Buena Vista Twp. (Milmay Area), and portions of Maurice River Twp.

In February 1997, the Dorothy Firehouse was dedicated to our beloved Fire Chief, and friend, Elwood Seelman.

The 1993 Freightliner, Engine F 1272 was dedicated to Assistant Chief Robert Gibney.

The 2003 Freightliner, Pumper/Tanker F 1270 was dedicated to our late Life member Albert (Bub) Seelman.

Meetings are held on the second Monday of each month, and drills are held on the fourth Monday of each month.

  Dorothy Volunteer Fire Company
70 Tuckahoe Road
PO Box 227
Dorothy, NJ 08317
blue-eye design : redesigning web design