Calamity Jane Arrives in Cecil in 1953.

Calamity Jane, an all-purpose rescue truck, arrived in Cecil County late in 1953.  This special emergency vehicle was available for use in Cecil, Harford, and Kent counties. The truck had nearly 100 different types of extraction equipment, every imaginable tool, mechanical device and article needed when lives and property were endangered.

It was one of six heavy rescue vehicles Civil Defense stationed in various parts of Maryland.  The truck, a bright and shiny Reo with the familiar red-and blue symbols of CD on it was under the command of rescue squad Captain
W. Andrew Seth of Civil Defense.  John J. Ward, Jr. the chief of the agency said that while the truck was primarily here to “protect the community in the event of an air attack by a hostile power, it could used for any disaster which might occur.”

It had been manufactured by the Reo Motor Company of Lansing, MI. It was capable of carrying a crew of eight and traveling at a speed of about 55 miles per hour.  The manufactured called it a “combination Red Cross ambulance, fire truck and utility company trouble-shooter.”

A major explosion rocked Chestertown in 1954 when the Kent Manufacturing Company’s fireworks plant exploded.  The charred five acres of plant property, leveled buildings, and critically injured workers called for a massive emergency response, and calamity Jane, Cecil’s heavy rescue vehicle, rushed to the scene to provide aid.

CD clamity jane cecil whig dec 3 1953a

Calamity Jane, a Civil Defense Rescue Truck arrived in Cecil County in 1953. It was one of six CD vehicles stationed around the state. Source: Cecil Whig, Dec. 3, 1953

When an explosion charred five acres of the Kent Manufacturing Company Fireworks plant, the CD rescue truck responded.  John Farrell, John C. Cooke, and Andrew Seth, were the crew on the truck.  Source:  Cecil Democrat, July 22, 1954.

When an explosion charred five acres of the Kent Manufacturing Company Fireworks plant, the CD rescue truck responded. John Farrell, John C. Cooke, and Andrew Seth, were the crew on the truck. Source: Cecil Democrat, July 22, 1954.

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2 responses to “Calamity Jane Arrives in Cecil in 1953.

  1. Thanks for sharing Mike. I knew there had to be one in this area. Did it spend its whole life at Singerly?

    • Thanks Disaster Guy. Wonder what ever happened to the old piece. Kevin Farrell mentioned that at some point it was transferred to Charlestown Fire Company as rescue 571, but after that who knows?

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