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Antietam Fire Company celebrates 200 years with street fair

September 15, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Antietam Fire Co. celebrated 200 years of firefighting Sunday by informing area residents about fire safety.

Volunteers organized a street fair at the fire station on Summit Avenue in Hagerstown that drew more than 500 people.

"If we make an impact on one person and prevent a tragedy, we've done our job today," said Antietam Capt. Jim Sprecher.

Volunteer firefighters were on hand offering tours of the station and equipment, talking about smoke alarms and even recruiting firefighters as young as 16.

Harold Semler, bicentennial chairman for the fire company and a 30-year volunteer, said he was pleased with the turnout and with the opportunity to inform residents about fire safety.

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Antietam Fire Co. organized in 1808 and was incorporated in May 1835. At that time, Hagerstown had five fire companies.

While some children were a bit scared of Smokey Bear, who was at Sunday's street fair, they were excited about wearing plastic red firefighter helmets and getting into a firetruck during the celebration.

Tamara Puffenberger of Hagerstown brought her daughter, Ashlynn Puffenberger, 7, to the event. Puffenberger's friend, Julie Kreit-Whitt, also of Hagerstown, brought her children, Olivia Whitt, 8, and Colin Whitt, 5.

Colin is a fan of firetrucks, and both girls said they also like the red engines.

Ashlynn said she likes the sirens.

All three children had bags of goodies they received at the fair and were wearing red helmets.

"They were really excited to come," Puffenberger said. "They wanted to see the fire station."

Food, a demonstration by a Hagerstown Police officer, fingerprint identification and car seat information also were available Sunday.

Semler said the fire company also will have a banquet for members Friday to celebrate the fire company's 200 years of service.

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