Welcome to Lake of the Woods Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company Inc.
Incorporated under Virginia law on August 23rd 1971 with a simple mission ” To aid in the protection and preservation of both life and property by maintaining a high degree of efficiency in both firefighting and first aid.” In addition to this simple purpose, the Company was also encouraged to the teaching of the best firefighting and first-aid methods to its members and to “secure and retain the full respect and confidence of the citizens of its community. Throughout the years since its incorporation LOW Fire & Rescue has maintained the level of professionalism necessary to provide the community with the protection and preservation as was stated from their very onset. In the years since our incorporation all this has been achieved in spades. With changes to the level of our equipment, number of personnel, required training need to serve, and even the very definition of what our community has become, LOW Fire & Rescue has been there for the community. Started by private developers, Boise Cascade Company, the Lake of the Woods was turned over to the private sector through an association, a fire service and rescue squad and the Lake of the Woods as we know it today was started. Even with the LOW Fire & Rescue just being started calls from across the region started almost immediately.
In November of 1971, the Orange County’s Supervisors voted to give just $5,000 annually to the LOW Fire & rescue Company for the services they provided to the entire County. Although that amount has grown many fold with last year’s figure at $88,000 the LOW Fire & Rescue Company continues to respond to hundreds of calls both within the Lake and throughout the County, as well as neighboring counties. Most of the “First Due” calls come from within the designated area of the Rapidan River on the north, the Spotsylvania line on the east just over Route 20 on the south, and on the west, Route 611 to Burr Hill and then to Route 692 and up to the Rapidan River. Some calls are farther away in the town of Orange where others, on a reciprocal basis, and depending on need are in either Spotsylvania or Culpeper Counties.
In 2001 the Rescue Squad responded to a record number of emergency calls; 463 with the Lake community and 416 elsewhere in Orange County. For the 7th year in a row the numbers of calls within the Lake community reached an all time high. The squad’s total of 1014 for all areas, while higher than the previous year’s calls of 943 did not set a record it did show the level of commitment to the surrounding community. In contrast, the LOW Fire Department responded to more calls outside of the Lake in 2001, 147 as compared to 87 within the Lake community. The total number of calls answered to by both Fire & Rescue was 12 times that from their first year. In 1996/1997 Orange County supplemented the all volunteer Fire & Rescue Company with paid professionals to aid in reducing the number of calls outside of the community.
At our beginning the company had 1 engine, a 32 year old truck that had been rebuilt and it’s 1 ambulance was, newer than the fire truck, was a 1969 station wagon in which rescue equipment had been installed. Shortly after acquiring these pieces of equipment others were added: 2 Mack fire trucks, one built in 1952 and the other in 1955. Today the fire department has equipment far less antiquated and with more variety in function. On the Rescue (EMS) side there are 3 ambulances and 1 response vehicle with the oldest ambulance being a 1995 unit. In addition to the vehicles mentioned above the company also owns a Hazardous Materials Trailer and a boat for water related rescues.
With 8 members at its beginning that came from the security for the Lake community it has grown into a combined volunteer force of over 150 members. This force is also supplemented by a paid group of 3 firefighter/medics who are on staff with the volunteers on a 24 hour / 7 day a week basis.
Over the years our name has changed. Originally, LOW Fire & Rescue we had a board of directors of 21 members including a president and chairman. Today the board consists of 3 At Large members, the Rescue Chief, the Fire Chief, a secretary, a treasurer, a vice president and president. One of the members of the board come from the general community. All are voted in on an annual basis with the exception of the president who is the previous year’s vice president. The position of chairman has not been filled since 1978. In the organization’s first year the president was Dick Prescott; the Fire Chief was Lee Lubore; the Rescue Captain was Clifford Ruffner; Bob Kitchen was president after the chairman’s position was terminated and held the position for 11 years.
The headquarters consisted of a 2 story fire building and a 1 story rescue building on land leased at token rent from the Lake of the Woods Association. As the need to expand became obvious and after on and off negotiations the Fire & Rescue organization purchased Sonny Washington’s property adjacent the originally leased property. This property is now the home of our new Firehouse/Building and where the present fire building has been converted to the dedicated Rescue Building. With the completion of the new Firehouse, an access path was incorporated to Route 3 East on the backside of the property, thereby relieving any possible traffic issues at the LOW main gate/entrance.
Annually donations are given to the Fire & Rescue Company with letters of thanks, I don’t know what we would do without you, etc. etc the LOW Fire & Rescue Company continues to service both the community where it’s roots came from as well as the surrounding area and counties with the sam e mission of preserving and protecting both life and property.