WFD Statement on the Resignation of Director Robert McCoy

Please read the attached statement regarding the Westminster Fire Department’s stance on the resignation announcement of Fire and EMS Director Robert McCoy.

The Jacob Thompson’s Livery Stable Fire (4/9/1883)

Tragedy struck Westminster on April 9, 1883, when Jacob Thompson’s livery stable, which was on an alley behind West Main Street at the corner of John Street, went up in flames. Four men were playing cards in one of the carriages in the livery stable. They were using a candle, set on one of the seats, to provide light. A dispute arose when one man was accused of cheating. The accused grabbed the money and ran. The other men scuffled before taking off after the man with the money. In the scuffle, the candle was knocked over and started the fire. When caught, the men claimed they didn’t know the fire had started.

The alarm sounded about 11:30 p.m. By the time the firemen arrived, the stable was fully engulfed and a strong wind was spreading the flames to neighboring structures. At the time, Westminster had no city water supply and firemen fought the blaze with their chemical engine and water carried from nearby wells. The light of the fire was reportedly observable for a radius of 25 miles. The Gettysburg Compiler claimed a number of local residents saw the glow. The Hanover Spectator said “The light of the conflagration was so vivid and intense that it illuminated the whole of the Southwestern sky . . .”

By morning the fire had destroyed 16 houses, Grace Lutheran Church on Carroll Street, two manufactories, and eight stables. Seventeen families and thirteen businesses were left homeless. Total fire damage was estimated at $135,000. Two men who had been sleeping on the second floor of the stable where the fire began perished as did a number of horses and cattle.

To read the full account of the fire, go to the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America project at…/1883…/ed-1/seq-3/

Westminster Fire Department member Bob Ruby, 84

In Loving memory of Westminster Fire Department member Robert “Bob” Ruby, 1936-2021 (age 84.)

It is with deep regret and sadness that the men and women of the Westminster Fire Engine & Hose Co. No. 1 announce the death of Robert Willis Ruby, 84, of Westminster, who died Friday, January 22, 2021, at the Carroll Hospice Dove House in Westminster. At the time of his death he was surrounded by members of his Westminster Fire Department extended family.

Born August 5, 1936, in Manchester, MD, he was the son of George W. Ruby, and Ray Louise (Kiler) Ruby. His Mom predeceased him on May 23, 1992. He and his cousin, Dorothy Townshend, were raised by Bob’s Aunt Helen Charlotte Townshend and Uncle LaMar E. Townshend, of Manchester.

He was one of nine children. Bob had five sisters: Kathileen Cartzendafner of Littlestown, Pa., Judy M. Utz of Taneytown, Helen V. Crumbie of Westminster, and M. Ruthy Cook and Phyllis Harvey, both of Dallastown; and three brothers: Carroll L. Ruby of Finksburg, George R. Ruby of Tennessee and Phillip W. Ruby of Essex.  

He was the loving husband of Shirley Oursler (Beck) Ruby. Shirley and Bob were married on May 10, 1964 at Wesley Methodist Church. Shirley, an artist and a homemaker, was born March 19, 1943, in Baltimore. She was the daughter of Charles Francis and Grace Oursler Beck of Arcadia. Shirley died on October 8, 2001. After her death, Bob talked about his beloved Shirley and her accomplishments every day.

Bob graduated from Manchester High School in 1954. Bob served his community as a life member of both the Hampstead and Manchester Volunteer Fire Companies. He joined Manchester in 1955 and Hampstead in 1965.

He served overseas in the Army during the Cold War from1959 to 1961 as a Military Police Officer. After his Honorable Discharge he worked as an Information Systems Engineer in the defense industry.

After the death of his wife in 2001, and his retirement as a computer systems engineer and information analyst, he moved to Westminster in 2005 where he became an active member of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co, No. 1 in March 2006. At Westminster he served as treasurer, and a fire police officer. He chaired fundraising activities and was a steadfast Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) data entry administrator for many years. He earned the Westminster Fire Department President’s award for his service in 2007.

Bob was a lifelong accomplished numismatist. In addition to his many awards and accolades for his work as numismatist, he served as the past Vice President and President of the Maryland State Numismatic Association from October 1984 – October 1987. He was also a past president of the Carroll County Coin Club, the Baltimore Coin Club, and the Maryland Token and Medal Society.

Bob loved to travel and was an avid fan of movies – especially westerns. He was well-known at the fire station for being a keen card player.

Surviving are son Greg D. Ruby of Baltimore; cousin Dorothy Townshend and sister-in-law Barbara Beck.

Funeral services are incomplete at this time. Arrangements are entrusted to Fletcher’s Funeral Home and Westminster Fire Department Chaplain Kevin Dayhoff. A private family and firefighter inurnment ceremony will take place at a later date. A separate firefighter memorial service will take place at a later date. Due to COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic safety precautions – there will be no visitation.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. #1, 28 John Street, Westminster, MD 21157

Online condolences may be offered to the family at the Fletcher Funeral and Cremation Services, P.A. website 254 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157. 1-410-848-7575

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) “Committed to Serve, Committed to Care”


Remembering Our Own- Fireman Joseph G. Hahn

Honoring & Remembering Maryland Fallen Heroes.

Westminster VFC ~ Carroll County ~ Maryland

January 26,1931

At approximately 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 26, 1931, the Westminster Fire Engine & Hose Co.No.1 responded to the Oscar Hess residence, on Manchester State Road near Cranberry, for a gasoline stove explosion in the kitchen. The flames were quickly extinguished by the Westminster firemen. The kitchen was mostly destroyed from the blast, but the rest of the house was saved, having suffered only smoke damage and some broken window panes.

While the firemen were performing salvage and overhaul, Fireman Joseph G. Hahn suffered a heart attack and fell over. Before medical aid could be summoned, death occurred.

Fireman Joseph G. Hahn was 46 years old

The Westminster Fire Department announces the death of member Bob Ruby

January 22, 2021 Westminster, Md. – It is with deep sadness that the men and women of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 announces the passing of Westminster firefighter Bob Ruby.

Bob left this earth to be with his beloved wife Shirley Ruby at 6:47 p.m. Friday evening Jan. 22, 2021, at Dove House in Westminster. He was surrounded by a roomful of firefighters who never left his side for a second from the minute he arrived at Dove House and held his hands through his last breath of air.

Firefighters, first responders. EMS providers, correctional officers, dispatchers, and police officers are a family. We stand behind each other, we look after each other, and we never leave anyone behind.

May Bob Rest in Peace. Brother Bob – your watch is over we will take it from here, you duty is done here, God has your place in heaven.

Funeral arrangements for Bob Ruby will be announced next week as soon as they are available. Questions text – do not call. – Text Chaplain Dayhoff 410 259 6403

Please join me in a moment of prayer

O god of grace and glory, we remember our brother Bob Ruby. We thank you for giving him to us to know and to love as a companion in our pilgrimage on earth. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our firefighter community at this time.

Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us every day, Unseen, unheard, but always near, Still loved, still missed and very dear.

May memories of happy times sustain us, the support of family and friends comfort us, and may God’s love embrace you and your family and bring you peace.

Rest in paradise my friend. See you again someday. God be merciful to your good soul.

Thinking of you as you find peace during your journey and sending strength to your family as they mourn. I pray that peace will be found for all.


Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 Chaplain Kevin Dayhoff

Westminster Fire Department’s 2021 Big Money Drawing!

Click below to watch the 2021 Big Money Drawing. Click HERE for the full list of prize winners.  Thank you to everyone who has helped us by buying a ticket and to our event sponsors.

Holiday Surprise from St John’s Church

Shift Lt. Guy Garheart and his shift personnel were surprised today with a number of food and goodie packages for the holidays. Teresa Richardson delivered the packages on behalf of St John’s Church in Westminster. The Department is always grateful for the continued community support and extend our thanks to Teresa and the St John’s members.

Photo from Guy Garheart and WFD Facebook post

2020 Big Money Raffle draws winning tickets streaming live on July 30th

While it was a difficult decision, our Board decided to postpone the Big Money Raffle, which was scheduled for May 28, 2020, for the safety and wellbeing of our community during this unprecedented time.

On Thursday, July 30th at 7 PM we held a virtual event to draw the winning tickets. All winners will be notified and you can click here to see the list. You can replay the event here.

2020 Carroll County Public Safety Awards

Westminster Fire Department was pleased to be able to host the recording of the 2020 Virtual Public Safety Award message of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

Westminster Police Officer and Firefighter Elwood Kauffman, 88

Westminster Police Officer and Firefighter Elwood Kauffman, 88
John Elwood Kauffman October 6, 1931 – May 12, 2020

Friday, May 15, 2020 – by Westminster Fire Dept. Chaplain Kevin Dayhoff

It is with great sadness that the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 announces the passing of Westminster Fire Department Life Member Elwood Kauffman, 88. Kauffman passed away on Tuesday May 12, 2020.

  • At the family’s request, viewing will be on Friday, May 15, 2020 at the Westminster Fire Department at 28 John Street in Westminster Md. from 3:00 PM-5:00 PM. It will be a drive-through format.

Elwood was the beloved husband of Iris B. Kauffman, his wife of 35 years.

He served as a full time engineer for the Westminster Fire Department in the late 50’s – until 1959. He then worked for the Westminster and Howard County Police Departments.

He worked many years as a Deputy Md. State Fire Marshal FM-1 where he was an arson investigator in the Carroll and Howard County region. After his retirement from the Fire Marshal’s Office, Kaufman was a bailiff for Carroll County Circuit Court for over 12 years.

Kauffman was born in Carroll County on October 6, 1931 to the late Margaret Essich Kauffman and J. Ralph Kauffman.

He was a graduate of Westminster High School’s Class of 1949.

Kauffman was a former member of St. Benjamin’s Lutheran Church in Westminster. Upon moving to Plum Creek in Hanover, Pa, he attended Grace United Methodist in Hanover.

A drive-through visitation for Kauffman will be held on Friday, May 15, 2020 from 3 to 5 pm at Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company 1, 28 John Street, Westminster. Upon arrival, please remain in your vehicle and staff will direct you.

A private funeral service will be held at 11 am on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at Pritts Funeral Home & Chapel, 412 Washington Road, Westminster with Deacon Charles Barnhart, Jr. officiating.

Private Interment will follow at Meadow Branch Cemetery in Westminster. Although attendance at Elwood’s funeral service will be limited to immediate family, other guests are welcome to join virtually or by phone.