It’s Why We’re Here…
Some time after midnight on June 1, 1930 — 89 years ago today — fire broke out in the Moxley family home on Tulane Avenue in the Town of Glen Echo.
William Moxley, who had only one arm and worked as a night watchman at Glen Echo Park, escaped the fire by leaping from a second floor window, apparently planning to catch his wife and children as they followed.
But by the time fire engines arrived from other towns, the house had been largely destroyed, and Mr. Moxley’s wife, Sarah Katherine Glover Moxley (34), and the five Moxley children, George (15), Linda (11), Gordon (8), Eileen (5), and Bessie (3), had all perished. Mrs. Moxley was found near the upstairs window with her children huddled around her.
The story made national headlines, and local residents vowed never to allow a repeat of such a tragedy. As a direct result, they founded Glen Echo Fire Department in 1931.
On April 21, 1933, Conduit Road Fire Board was chartered by an Act of the Maryland Legislature to oversee the fledgling public safety organization (the former name of MacArthur Boulevard was Conduit Road, a reference to the large water pipes buried under the pavement).
Glen Echo Fire Department initially operated out of Glen Echo Town Hall. WPA funds were subsequently used to build a firehouse in the middle of Vassar Circle, and it opened in 1935.
In 1954, Glen Echo Fire Department moved to its present location at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Sangamore Road.
Following the fire, a new building was constructed on the Moxley home site, and that structure now houses the Irish Inn at Glen Echo.
Glen Echo Fire Department is still owned and operated by Conduit Road Fire Board, members of which are elected from the area between Western Avenue, River Road, Wilson Lane, and the Potomac River.
William Moxley died in 1960 and is buried beside his wife and children in Damascus, Maryland at the Montgomery United Methodist Church Cemetery.