The next time you drive through the streets of Ashburn, Lansdowne and the Broadlands, try to imagine nothing but dairy
farms in place of the houses, town homes, businesses, shopping centers and parks. Imagine it is 1944 and you live
in Old Ashburn. One morning you hear the news that three children, left home alone, died in a fire. They
were playing with matches and in an attempt to hide from the fire, crawled under a bed and perished. Nearby neighbors
had tried to help, but did not have the equipment and training to save the children. Then in February, the
Ashburn School caught fire. It was time for action. Led by a Baptist minister, a small group of
citizens formed the Ashburn Volunteer Fire Company.
Since there was no firehouse, meetings were held in the old Calvary Baptist Church, the Masonic Lodge Hall
and the School House. By September 1945, fundraising began with a carnival behind the old Ashburn
Elementary School on Partlow Road. In November, the first fire truck, a 1929 open cab American-LaFrance pumper, was
purchased for $3,225.00 (today pumper costs start at $500,000.00). Since there was no firehouse, the
pumper was kept in Nelson Partlow’s shed during good weather, and in the winter it was kept in Charlie Fletcher’s
cow barn where the heat from the cows kept the truck from freezing. The company recorded 11 fire calls in 1946
and completed construction on the firehouse on Ashburn Road in 1947.
Eventually, rescue services were added and in 1995, the company changed its name to Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue
Department (AVFRD). In 2009, AVFRD also began responding to calls from Station 22 in Lansdowne. Today, AVFRD is
staffed with career personnel by day and volunteers by night, responding to more than 4,500 fire and rescue calls a
year. The times have changed, but AVFRD remains committed to the ideals of our founders. We are proud of our
diversity, dedication and professionalism in serving our community.