Lost in the haze of time is the earliest memory of Tri-Towns Volunteer Fire Company. It is beyond the memories of our oldest citizens. At the time of the fire in 1876, when the Piedmont Square burned out, the only fire department in either Piedmont or Westernport, was a bucket brigade. Although the men worked diligently against the leaping flames, the center of Piedmont was wiped out, as the system was inadequate. From the disaster of the monstrous fire came the inspiraton to install more adequate equipment, this "The Little Giant." This was a chemical engine, worked by hand pumps, the first piece of apparatus ever brought into these municipalities. Some very definite sources show that Westernport's first real fire department organized October 8, 1881.
Another disastrous fire hit the Tri-Towns in 1890, and in June of that year, the Twin-Towns Mountaineer Fire Company was formed. This was a cooperative company, composed of citizens from both Westernport and Piedmont. They took their name, "The Mountaineers," from the inscription on the engine. By this time the "Little Giant" had the assistance of two engines of the Mountaineer type, the "Little Mountaineer", and the "Big Mountaineer. " The "Big Mountaineer" was a 48 man pump engine and it was the pride of the community. More than once it was taken to Keyser and to Cumberland when dangerous fires threatened those citites, and it always came home flying proud colors. The "Little Mountaineer" was a 32 man pump engine and it fought its last battle at the Sims' house fire, a fire which older citizens recall burned a hotel to the ground on the present site of the Hearald Printing House. Close to the end of the 19th Century a water system was installed, pumps were discarded and dependence was placed in gravity pressure only.
It as around 1904 that the Tri-Towns Fire Company was organized, continuing to use the apparatus left by its predecessors. In 1912 both fire companies were formally organized. Tri-Towns being February 15. It was through the energies of these two companies down through the years that today's companies are so well equipped and such well trained firefighters.