Benjamin Wesley Cranford


Benjamin Wesley Cranford was the first Volunteer Firefighter killed in Prince George’s County, and in Memory of him, the Fire Services Building bears his name and along with Thomas Graves also killed in the line of duty. On October 25, 1930, while responding to a call for help from the Capitol Heights Fire Department, the company met with disaster on Forestville / Ritchie Road. While traveling, a motorist apparently heard the fire truck siren and pulled to the right of the road just as the fire truck was about to pass, the car pulled back to the center of the road in front of the truck. The driver, to avoid hitting the motorist, pulled to the left and hit a deep, sandy shoulder causing the driver to lose control. The truck overturned, pinning Captain Benjamin Wesley Cranford and Assistant Chief Wesley R. Kerr under the front running board. Captain Cranford was killed instantly and became the first county volunteer to die in the line of duty. Assistant Chief Kerr suffered several fractured ribs, a broken arm, and a knee injury which hospitalized him for more than a month. Fortunately, Chief McCormick, James Ridgely, Charles Kerr, and C. Earle Wyvill received only minor injuries.