In November of 1969, 15-year-old Jesse Cobb became Roxana Volunteer Fire Company’s first junior member.
“My father was a charter member and I just kind of hung out with him going to the fire house,” Cobb said. “I kept bugging him about starting a junior fireman program and I guess they kind of kicked it around and finally they started one and I was the first junior fireman.”
And now, 46 years later, Cobb is still with Roxana company and he still loves it.
“It’s just something that gets in your blood. I’m in the fire rescue up at the Dover Speedway. I’ve been there for over 30 years and I help with training. It’s just something you enjoy, helping other people, because when the sirens go off, somebody needs help. It’s just something that gets into your blood and I’m still active in it today at 61 years old.”
Cobb holds another first in the department’s history as well.
“My wife was ambulance captain and I was deputy chief and we were the first line officers to get married in the company. There are so many memories there,” he said.
Cobb has seen the company go through a lot of growth and change throughout his time there.
“The growth of the community has been the big thing,” explained Cobb. “Getting the right equipment, the new equipment to serve our community. Before we just looked like a fire company for a rural area, with chicken houses, but now it’s like a resort area with a lot of townhouses and summer homes and a lot more traffic than we used to have. Our area has really grown and to try to keep up with the growing community has been a big challenge.”
Cobb said that he hopes the junior firefighter program stays strong, with incoming members sharing the same goals and commitment to the safety of the community.
“I’ve been on the board of directors before and one of the questions we ask is why do you want to be a firefighter. And most of them always give the answer that they want to help the community. There’s that and the excitement and willingness to help people.” Continued Cobb, “I hope for it to keep growing and keep the membership up. It’s hard to get members anymore. The ones we do have have a lot of enthusiasm but it seems like there used to be a lot more. I just hope it stays volunteer.”
Cobb noted that the fire training programs and the company have evolved from when he first joined.
“The first fire school I went to, they just had fire training but there was actually no facility. They used an aluminum building for a smoke house and we used a school to train on ladders,” recalled Cobb. “ It’s a whole lot different now from when I grew up. We didn’t have the money available like it is now; I just trying to keep the younger firemen on the right track, working with them.”
Cobb continues to remain active in the department and continues to respond to calls. He is exceedingly proud of his company and to be a part of its history.
“I’m just very proud to be associated with Roxana. It has been such a huge part of my life, something I would definitely do again,” Cobb stated.
Roxana Volunteer Fire Company will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary of service and support to the community, rain or shine, on Saturday, May 1. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a parade at noon, with over 50 fire apparatuses, along with other parade participants. The celebration will include food, fire safety demonstrations and even a moon bounce for the kids. Be sure to swing by and support a truly outstanding asset to our community.
Roxana Volunteer Fire Company is located at 35943 Zion Church Road, near the intersection of Route 17 and 20. For more information, visit or call (302) 436-2300.