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DC Fire and EMS Department celebrates 150 years of service

DC FEMS celebrated a milestone with its first parade in 25 years.

WASHINGTON — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired in September 2021. 

DC Fire and EMS Department (DC FEMS) celebrated 150 years of service to the nation's capital Saturday with a parade and a display of antique fire apparatus and other fire fighting gear.

DC FEMS began as volunteer fire companies between 1770 and 1860 and grew into a fully paid professional department in 1872. Today the department has nearly 1,900 members.  

Saturday's parade went down Constitution Avenue between 7th and 14th Streets Northwest. Following the parade, there was a muster display of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles for people to enjoy.  

The parade included fire service partners from across the District, Maryland and Virginia and featured a special tribute to the 101 fallen firefighters of the DC FEMS.

DC FEMS said the solemn display aimed to honor their ultimate sacrifice in keeping with our vow to never forget. The family of fallen DC Fire and EMS firefighter Anthony “Sauce” Phillips was present to talk about the importance of remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the community.

Phillips was one of two DC Fire and EMS firefighters who died in the line of duty after battling a town home fire in the 3400 block of Cherry Road in Northeast on May 30, 1999. Phillips’ wife and two sons, one, currently a student at Bowie State University in Prince George’s County and the other, now a member of the Arlington County Fire Department, were on hand to speak about that fateful day and the process of rebuilding their lives. 

If you want to learn more about the history of DCFEMS you can visit the department's museum at 439 New Jersey Avenue NW on the third floor of Engine 3 near Union Station in downtown D.C. It's advisable to call ahead at 202-673-1709 to arrange a tour.


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