|History of Community Fire Company No. 1|
It is impossible to know how many calls for help were answered, or how many loads of water were hauled over the years. The Fire Company has run banquets, bingo, picnics, strawberry & ice cream festivals, turkey shoots, and other social affairs and the bylaws have been revised numerous times. Our facilities have been used for meetings by different organizations including: Jordan Lodge Independent Order of Odd-Fellows, Schnecksville Grange, Pleasant Corner Encampment, Modern Woodsman of America, Keystone Patriotic Sons of America, Junior Order of Mechanics, Copeechan Fish & Game Club, Parkland Garden Club, Pa. Dept. of Highways, Schnecksville 4H Club, Vernon G. Kern Post 8344 V.F.W. and their ladies auxiliary.
At a fall meeting of the Odd-Fellows Lodge, it was decided that instead of building a hall for their lodge, the community needed a fire company. A group of men journeyed to Greenawalds Fire Company to get ideas on how to organize.
On January 17, citizens of North Whitehall Township attended a meeting in the two room schoolhouse to organize the fire company. A twenty-man committee was appointed to solicit funds and secure members. Community Fire Company No. 1 of North Whitehall Township was approved as the name of the organization. The committee on funds and members secured $1,300 in pledges and 115 members. On May 15, members approved the purchase of a Hahn Fire Truck for the price of $5,289. In June, the members decided to contact Oliver Gross and John Kern about a building lot, and later decided to accept the Oliver Gross lot for the token price of $1. A committee was appointed to investigate, draw up plans, and get prices on constructing a building. In July, a Ladies Auxiliary was begun, and was chartered in 1925. In October the plans of the building were presented. The President appointed a building committee and it was decided they would construct the building themselves. Howard Heinly was hired as the Construction Foreman at $1.10 an hour. Financing was done by borrowing the money from the members. The hauling and trucking was donated and done by Roy J. Kern and Trexler Orchards. The first fire alarm was secured and placed at Preston Holben's place of business.
The first fire recorded was at the Walberts Hotel on March 6. When our building was completed (at a cost of $18,600), the Company took out a mortgage of $14,000. On July 20, the Fire Company truck was involved in an accident while answering an alarm. In trying to avoid a PP&L truck pulling from the side of the road, the truck hit a culvert and Victor Gangwar was killed. The Odd-Fellows Lodge and the Schnecksville Grange started to meet on the second floor and to use the basement for their activities.
In May, considering the need for warnings of an air raid due to World War II, the Air Raid Wardens of this area purchased a siren, which was placed on the roof of the Fire Hall.
1944In February, the Fire Company invited the fire companies of upper Lehigh County to a meeting for the purpose of improving firefighting conditions in the County. This led to organizing the Lehigh County Volunteer Firemen's Association. In May, a committee was appointed to draw up specifications and secure bids on a new truck, which resulted in the purchase of a piece of Howe Fire Apparatus for $6,735. In November, the membership voted to purchase the J. P. Deibert property for $3,950, to provide more parking spaces.
1945The new fire truck was delivered in March and put into operation. The old truck was sold to Monroe Peter for $326.
1957A tank truck was purchased from the Wescosville Fire Company for $450. It was capable of hauling 1000 gallons of water. The Company decided to haul water to people with cisterns. The building was completed at a cost of just over $27,200.
1960A Scott air pack (self-contained breathing apparatus) was purchased and placed on the Dodge fire truck. In order to raise money, coin cards were distributed in the Schnecksville area. The effort yielded $1,617.
1963A 1932 Ford truck was received from the Lehigh Portland Cement Company. This year the area was plagued with barn fires. The men of the fire companies of North Whitehall Township patrolled and set up vigils in order to catch the person(s) responsible.
1964Because of the large number of new homes being built, more fire equipment was needed. A committee was appointed to draw up specifications and it was decided to buy a new Mack fire truck for $22,650. This truck still remains in service to the community.
1966A new phone system was installed to receive fire calls. The Company put phones in the homes of the fire police and the chief / assistant chiefs. An alarm could then be sounded by any one of these persons. On August 9, the company experienced the biggest and worst fire to date at the Trexler Orchards Packhouse, which was a complete loss. The fire alarm was answered by all the companies of Northern Lehigh County. Fire trucks were on duty from the start of the fire at approximately 5 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. the next day, and were called back at 10 a.m.
1967A 1500 gallon Dodge tank truck was purchased for $10,454.
1969The Lions Club donated a Scott air pack.
1972A new Mack Diesel tanker/pumper truck was delivered in the last week of November at a price of $43,650. Following major refurbishment in 1991 this truck remains our first out pumper on all highway related calls. The old water truck sold for $625.
1976On June 10, a new Mack tanker was delivered at a cost of $31,000 borrowed from Neffs National Bank.
1978The Dodge tanker was sold to Emerald Fire Company.
1979The land (about 9 acres) the Fire Company currently resides on was officially purchased from Charles J. Snelling for $51,518. The Company acquired a '74 International mini-pumper. This apparatus had been in service in the city of Philadelphia. It was modified only slightly for our use and served as a quick response vehicle. A fire at Zee's Hotel (AKA The Big 'O') destroyed the structure and caused the death of a tenant.
1981The Lions Club donated a Hurst Jaws-of-Life System that was specified to serve the entire region.
1987The old building was sold. An agreement of sale was signed for approximately 10 additional acres.
1988On June 28 an arson fire at the Ziegler Pallet Company in Ormrod required 16 straight hours of firefighting and assistance of 23 agencies to extinguish and investigate. Thousands of wooden pallets were lost, but over $1.5 million worth of adjacent property was protected and saved. September 17, was a day of great celebration as the new building and flagpole were dedicated the refurbished Rescue truck was housed and the building cornerstone was laid.
1990A contract was signed between the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Fire Company to answer emergency calls on the Turnpike.
1997The Company purchased a '97 Swab/International Rescue Truck for $195,000