In 1957, concerned citizens in the villages of Arcola and Pleasant Valley, in Loudoun County, came together with the local Lions Club to form a fire department. In those days the closest fire protection came from the villages of Chantilly to the east, over in Fairfax County, and to the west in the village of Aldie, in Loudoun County. At that time, Route 50 was still a country road, only two lanes wide. It would not be widened for another ten years or so. Dulles airport was still an idea that was 3 years away from breaking ground and 5 years away from opening. The area was very rural and full of dairy farms with a local population of approximately 100.
They held the first organizational meeting in a garage behind Paul Down’s house in Arcola across from the present firehouse. At this meeting, J. R. Cornelius, Sr. (Bob) was elected president. The first chief was Paul Downs; the first secretary, R.O. Bridges; and the first treasurer, Milton Sheppa. At the next meeting, Bob Cornelius decided that he would serve as vice-president and Martin Beasley became the new president. Thereafter meetings were held in the Arcola School until the construction of a firehouse. This made the ninth independent fire department to be organized in Loudoun County.
Since the citizens living in Arcola and Pleasant Valley Communities were too small to form their own fire departments individually, they united and combined the two names in order to form the Arcola-Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
The first lot to build the firehouse on was purchased from Paul Downs. During the planning stages of the organization two Members of the communities, Paul Downs and Martin Beasley, purchased property with the stipulation that they would sell this property to the fire department at cost plus interest with the idea that it would be repaid when the department determined that they could afford to purchase more property.
On October 4, 1957, a Zoning Permit was issued to Martin L. Beasley, for the Arcola-Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., to build a two story fire department house and meeting hall located on Lot #4, 100 ft. by 350 ft., in the Arcola Grove Subdivision. This parcel of land was also located in a Highman Agricultural District. The labor and materials for the fire department building were furnished by members of the department and by the community. Heavy construction equipment such as a crane, bulldozers were provided by area residents at no charge to the department.
The first piece of equipment purchased was a 1,250-gallon Tanker that cost $75.00 thru Civil Defense funding. This was stored in Shockley’s barn in Arcola until the completion of the firehouse, which was under construction at that time.
The second piece of equipment was a 1958 Ford 500 gallon per minute pumper purchased for $13,000 from American La France.
The third piece of equipment was a 1942 International ¾ ton weapons’ carrier which was made into a brush truck. The pumps and water storage tanks were hand made. This brush truck was sold to Round Hill Volunteer Fire Department in 1971.
The fourth piece was a Pontiac ambulance purchased from Bailey’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department in 1960.
The fifth piece of equipment purchased was a 1962 International Carryall Ambulance.
On July 27, 1965, the Loudoun County Planning Commission, granted a Permit to the Arcola Fire Department for an extension to the firehouse 12 ft. by 66 ft., one story, on a parcel of land containing ¾ acres, located on the east side of Highway Route Number 659 bounded by the property; of Downs on the north, Hutchinson on the east, Allison on the south, and Route 659 on the west, approximately ¾ mile North from Route 50 in Broad Run Magisterial District, and in a R-1 Zone as set forth on the Loudoun County Zoning Map.
In 1968 the department bought two adjoining lots to the fire department from Martin Beasley and Paul Downs under the agreement made during the organization of the department extending the department property to the adjacent Arcola school boundary.
The sixth piece of equipment purchased was a 1968 Dodge Power Wagon Brush truck.
In 1968, because of their great outstanding services and great dedication to the fire department, Martin Beasley and Paul Downs were made Honorary (Life) members of the department.
The seventh piece of equipment purchased was a 1969 Chevrolet Carryall ambulance, which was turned into a utility vehicle in January 1976, but was still equipped for use as a second ambulance.
On December 16, 1969, the State Highway Department used the hall for a public meeting to hear the pros and cons about making Route 50 a dual-lane highway.
In 1971 the department purchased a 1971 Ford/Ward LaFrance 1,000 gallon per minute pumper.
In 1973 the department purchased a 1973 Chevrolet 1200 gallon Tanker.
On October 12, 1973, a zoning permit was granted to the Arcola Fire Department and on October 15, 1973, a building permit was granted to Arcola-Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department along Route 659 for the station to construct the fire equipment repair garage. This building would become known as the Turkey Shoot.
The By-Laws were changed on November 12, 1973, to allow women to become members of the fire department. The first women members of the fire department were Betty Lynch, Peggy Lowe, and Marian Wimer, who all joined on June 10, 1974.
In 1975 the department purchased a 1975 Swab Ambulance.
In 1978 the department purchased a Jeep to improve firefighting capability in the many remote areas of the still rural area.
As equipment and items were needed, local businesses contributed substantial sums of money or services free of charge. Additionally, the members of the department raised monies by holding monthly turkey shoots and dances along with ham and oyster dinners.
In 1983, the Hahn pumper was purchased. This was the first custom cab fire apparatus purchased with seating for 4 fire fighters plus room for more on the rear step.
In 1989, a contract was placed for a 2nd Hahn pumper, however Hahn Apparatus folded in 1989, so the company scrambled to obtain a replacement for its aging 1971 pumper. The first Seagrave was purchased at the end of 1989.
In 1999 the second Seagrave was purchased. The company also greatly expanded the firehouse with a two bay addition with hose tower and sleeping accommodations on the second floor above the new engine bays.
On July 7, 1998, a natural gas explosion and fire destroyed a newly constructed residence in the South Riding community in Loudoun County. This incident led to the establishment of a substation for the APVVFD, known as station 19. A temporary firehouse would be constructed by the county in the form of a large tent for apparatus and trailers for offices and sleeping quarters. The 99 Seagrave would be housed at this new substation.
In 2005, we expanded our capabilities with the purchase of a combination piece, 2006 Spartan/Ferrara Rescue Engine.
In 2017, twin Seagrave pumpers were purchased.
Today we have a total of three ambulances, and two engines. We also have a number of ancillary vehicles that allow us to provide support to front-line operations in a variety of ways, amongst which are a brush truck, jeep, utility truck, plow truck, three EMS chase vehicles, and a gator. We also have a dedicated Support Services truck and a van to provide both support to ongoing operations as well as recruitment and retention services.