The idea to form a fire department in the Brooke community came shortly after a large forest fire burned through much of the Brooke area. This fire occurred on March 25, 1963, and was started by a train in a field near Brooke Station. It burned all the way to Aquia Creek. An article published in the next day’s Free Lance Star stated that it burned approximately 1,000 acres of forest and fields. Although no houses were damaged, a total of seventeen outbuildings and barns were either destroyed or irreparably damaged. Given that Brooke had no fire department, mutual aid apparatus from as far away as Ladysmith had to be called to help extinguish the blaze. In all, a total of twenty suppression units responded from Falmouth, Quantico, Dumfries-Triangle, Ladysmith, Spotsylviania, and Fredericksburg. Air support, in the form of a helicopter from Quantico, responded to help the fire crews determine the direction of the fire spread. It was feared at one point that the Brookwood Nursing Home, also known as the Brooke Nursing Center, would be destroyed. Although no damage was done to the main building, two outbuildings were destroyed.
The whole Brooke community turned out to help fight the fire. Many of them feared that their homes would be destroyed. John McWhirt, the Chief Stafford County Forest Warden at the time of the fire, was quoted in the Free Lance Star article as saying that this fire “…was the worst forest fire I’ve ever seen”.
Not long after the fire, a group of men from Andrew Chapel Methodist Church formed a men’s club under the direction of the Reverend Clyde Dews. The main objective of this club was to determine how Brooke could start a fire department. Without the early leadership of Reverend Dews there would not be a Brooke Fire Department today. All of the early meetings were held at the Church until the firehouse was completed.
After a suitable site was located and leased, now owned, construction on a fire station for the Brooke community began in September 1963. The original, no-frills firehouse was constructed by the charter members of what would become the Brooke Fire Safety Association, the organization that operates to this day. Over the years, additions to the building have included office space, full service sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and the building itself has had additions built.
Though Brooke began as a community firehouse, the membership has expanded through the years to include personnel from not only Stafford County, but from many of the surrounding local jurisdictions, too. Operating Engine 5, Tanker 5, Brush 5, Fire Boat 5 and Medic/Ambulance 5, the proud men and women of the Brooke Volunteer Fire Department continue to add to the long, storied history through service, education, and community outreach.