History of Fairfields Volunteer Fire Department

1974 – Present

1974– Chief Warren Keyser elected.

  • Chief Bobby Jenkins
  • Chief Danny Ford
  • Chief Herbert Hammock
  • Chief John Sanford
  • Chief Jimmy Clegg
  • Chief Phillip Keyser

1990– A-6 Intruder BuNo. 159568 of VA-145, US Navy, on loan to the Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center in Maryland. Crashed August 15, 1990 in a soybean field near the junction of Routes 360 and 695, west of Burgess, Virginia, 35 miles south of the air test center. Doing routine flight control checks prior to a test flight.

During these checks, an weight in the back of the aircraft came loose and lodged in the flight controls. The aircraft became unflyable, the Bombardier/Navigator was ejected and the pilot killed in the crash. Captain Hazelrigg was the Chief Test Pilot of the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron at the time of the crash.

Captain Steve “Axel” Hazelrigg was the pilot and the hangar at Paxtuxent River is named in his honor. Lt William C. “Catfish” Davis was the bombardier/navigator, and he ejected, but was injured, sustaining a broken shoulder, arm and leg.

Fairfields and Callao responded to the incident. We were able to locate the navigator and secure him a Helicopter for medical evacuation. We also put out multiple field fires caused by the wreckage and then relinquished command to the Navy.

Deputy John W. Sanford Jr. had several loves in his life. He died early Sunday morning doing one of them.

Sanford, killed in the line of duty, had worked as a part-time deputy with the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office since 1994, said Sheriff Wayne Middleton. He worked a couple of shifts a week, usually weekends in the Northern Neck locality, but he didn’t do it for the money.
“It was almost like a hobby,” Middleton said. “He really enjoyed it.”
Sanford, 50, died when his Ford Crown Victoria cruiser collided head-on with another vehicle on
U.S. 360 a couple of miles west of Burgess just after midnight.
Northumberland has been mourning the loss of Sanford, a lifelong resident and volunteer firefighter who ran an auto repair shop near his Glebe Point home. Flags are flying at half-mast, and a flower memorial has been placed near the scorched asphalt where the wreck occurred about 75 miles east of Fredericksburg. “He never knew a stranger,” said wife Eleanor Sanford. “He’s gonna be missed by a lot of people.”

John and Eleanor met in 11th grade at Northumberland High, she said from a folding chair at the Fairfields Volunteer Fire Department’s Glebe Point station. They lost touch, but reconnected seven years ago when Eleanor dropped off her Mercury Marquis at John’s repair shop. They were married on the banks of the Mattaponi River. Sunday, the day he died, was their sixth wedding anniversary.
“He was too young to die,” Eleanor said as people drifted into the fire station to remember her husband.
Eleanor and John lived next door to the station, where the deputy was a volunteer firefighter for 32 years–another of his loves.
“He was our most dedicated fireman and had been forever,” said Chief Phillip Keyser. Sanford was the department’s assistant chief and a former chief. Eleanor said he bought the house next door to the Glebe Point station so he could be first on the truck, night or day.
Sanford’s colleagues at the fire department were faced with an emotional task Sunday morning–putting out the flames from the accident.

2010- Truck 50 was purchased in 2010 to replace Engine 58, a 1994 Freightliner. The department looks to replace an apparatus on a 20 year rotation, but because of rising costs due to stricter emissions requirements. It was determined that the department could potentially save $130,000 by purchasing in 2010 instead of 2014 while expanding capabilities by purchasing a 105’ rear mount aerial. The design matched that of Engine 52 and added the 105’
ladder to complete the Quint apparatus. The apparatus allows us to reach the big older homes along Main Street as well as some of the commercial buildings at Omega. The overall increase in safety of our firefighters at all calls was the over-riding factor in the purchase. The truck has been the busiest vehicle in the fleet since it was put in service and has assisted neighboring departments on mutual aid calls in and out of Northumberland County.

2010-Tiffany Yachts Fire- At 2:46 p.m. on February 2, 2010 the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting a major fire at Tiffany Yachts located on the Great Wicomico River near Burgess, Virginia. The caller advised for the fire department “to bring everything you got”. This desperate call was eventually answered by every fire department located in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Tiffany Yachts is a family owned custom boat building yard that has been in operation for over 80 years that specializes in one-of-a-kind yachts of up to 80 feet in length. The main boat building and repair shop was housed in a 150 foot by 80 foot wood frame building and numerous yachts in dry storage for the winter surrounded the building. The Fairfields Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched as well as automatic mutual aid from the Callao Volunteer Fire Department on the first alarm. Enroute to the Glebe Point station of the FVFD, which is located less than a mile from Tiffany Yachts, Chief Phillip Keyser of the FVFD observed heavy smoke and requested aid from the Kilmarnock Volunteer Fire Department. Engine 52 arrived on scene already through the roof.

An initial attack with a 2 1/2” hand line was initiated on side A which had a major exposure of a metal building containing a computer lathe as well as several yachts and the main residence of Tiffany Cockrell. This initial attack was complicated by the inability to shut off the power coming into the building which caused an overload and sever arcing of the overhead transformer and lines. As more manpower arrived on the scene, three 1 3/4” hand lines and an additional and this area of the County had none. Establishment of a reliable water supply became the main task at this time and the alarm went out to the surrounding areas for tankers.

This call was answered by the White Stone VFD, Upper Lancaster VFD, Richmond County VFD and Cople District VFD. In addition, Cople District responded with their fireboat. Two 3000 gallon dump tanks were set up on highway 200, which was closed to traffic and Engine 61 from Callao supplied Engine 52. At the height of the battle, sixteen tankers were on scene transporting water and over 100 firefighters. Fairfields Engine 55 was drafting from the Great Wicomico River near the Tipers Bridge about one-half mile away filling the tankers. Heavy smoke was visible over 12 miles lines had to be removed and an excavator was called in to assist with the collapsed structure. FVFD stayed on scene until 5:30 a.m. on February 3, 2010 containing hot spots. Tiffany Yachts has since been rebuilt as owner Randy Cockrell promised. The effort put forth by all of the departments contained the fire to the building of origin and limited damage to the boats surrounding the building. “Everybody worked really well together and once the water supply was established, things went very smoothly” said Chief Keyser.