In 1918, fourteen men established the Halls Hill Volunteer Fire Department to protect this largely African American community. While all firefighters donned bulky fire-resistant clothes and wielded heavy tools, the members of Engine Company 8 also bore the heavy burden of official policy and tradition known as Jim Crow. The result was neglect and hostility from the white establishment.
Retired Battalion Chief of the Arlington County Fire Department, J. Dale Smith discusses the history of Firehouse 8 and interviews two of its oldest firefighters, Hartman Reed and his father, Jerome Smith.
Dale Smith is a veteran fire professional. He served thirty-one and a half years with the Arlington County Fire Department. He started his career assigned to fire station 8 in North Arlington. He served as a paramedic, Fire/EMS Lieutenant, Fire/EMS Captain, Deputy Fire Marshall, Staff Assistant to the Fire Chief, North and South Fire/EMS Battalion Chief, Planning Chief, and as the Logistics Chief. He has received numerous awards over his career including the Valor Award. He is currently writing a book on the history of Engine Company 8.
This event was part of the series of free monthly public events provided by the Arlington Historical Society. It was held via electronic means due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11, 2021.