Our History

 

 

In 1949, Clyde Kochel of the Friendship Fire Company #1 of Morgantown, PA approached George Flemming of Geigertown concerning starting a fire company in Geigertown due to the number of calls that the town was having.  The community placed the fire company idea to a vote.  Many people voted against the Fire Company, but it was voted in favor for by one vote. 

Friendship Fire Company #1, Morgantown gave the newly formed Fire Company their first apparatus with the understanding they would use the Friendship Fire Company #1 name.  Friendship Fire Company #1 of Geigertown was formed.

The newly formed company held their meetings in the local Community "Grange" Hall.  The first truck was housed in George McGinley's barn, which was located across from the post office.  In 1949 they purchased land where the firehouse sits today from Jim Zerr for a cost of $500.00.  Additional land was purchased from Charlie Schweitzer for $3,000.00; this is now the baseball field.  The charter members of the Fire Company had to sign their properties as collateral to Elverson National Bank to secure the loan to purchase the land.

The Fire Chief was Robert Pearson.  Unfortunately, there were no fire trucks to place on the road. 

The first call was the wagon shed at St Paul’s Methodist Church.  At this time the Fire Company did not have a Charter.  Chief McFarland of Morgantown responded and told the company to bring their fire truck without the Charter being complete.  

In 1951 the Charter was finally completed.  The membership dues were $1.00 a member.  They had 25 members to the company.  Today, six of these members are still with us.  They are: John Clingaman, George Fleming, John Fleming, Grant Moyer and Heber "Jake" McGowan - all still in the Geigertown area.  George Metzler is a resident of Florida now.

The first building was started in 1952 with Leon Moyer as the Chairman of the Building Committee.  When they were digging the footers, someone didn't want the building to be built.  They sabotaged the area by flooding it with water from a hose.

No one filed for a state permit to build the building and a work stoppage occurred after someone reported them not having a permit.  The second building was dedicated in 1953.  This is the date marker on our current building.  A few years later members voted down a social hall addition.  A garage was also added to the building.  The back section was built by Mel Bernstel.

The firefighters had no formal training in the beginning.  Chief McFarland of Morgantown provided what training they needed.  Many of the firefighters were GI's or Navy guys.  They used rotted hose that threw out water and poor equipment.

 

Today, the Fire Company which is situated right in the middle of Geigertown - has six trucks, and responds to an average of 200 calls per year.  By the way of mutual aid, we are called into neighboring townships and counties to assist in firefighting efforts.  In 2008 we were certified by the state as a QRS Service (Quick Response) which responds along with the local ambulance to ensure the quickest care possible.  This unit is staffed by medically trained volunteers who hold the title of EMT all the way up to a Nurse and Doctor. 

Our members are constantly attending training to better themselves in every aspect of the Fire/EMS field.  Our company is a member of the Berks County Tanker Taskforce, and the Neversink Mountain Brush Taskforce.  The company is always looking for new members, anyone interested is encouraged to call or stop by to sign up or get some more information. 

The Fire Company has many fund-raisers to help raise funds needed to purchase new vehicles, equipment and building maintenance.  Some of our fundrasiers are an AYCE Monthly Breakfast, held the first Sunday of each month, semi-annual basket bingo and hoagie sales, chicken barbeques, food stands at the Hay Creek Valley Fall Festival and Apple Festival, boot drives and many others.  Our renovated social hall is available for rent.  We also hold a free Easter Egg Hunt for the community each year.

Some of the famous fires/incidents

1958 - The Whitebear School House collapsed due to heavy snow.  They went through snow ruts to get to the building.  The roof ended up collapsing.  Water rolled off the roof into the bedroom and a boy died in his bed.

1960 - All of the land along the railroad tracks from Scarlet's Mill to Joanna Heights burned.  A bucket brigade was used to put out the fire when they ran out of water.


1987 - The flooding of Route 82 and the collapse of the bridge outside of Birdsboro.  A 1979 GMC Pumper went into the water after the bridge collapsed.  The truck was a total loss.  The firefighters were all OK. 

 

2002 – Armorcast Fire in Birdsboro 

 

2005 – Chemical Warehouse fire on Route 10

 

2005 – Barn Fire on Plow Road 

 

2007 – Kerns Hardware Fire in Honey Brook 

 

2010 – Green Hills Lake House Fire

 

Apparatus

Our first truck was a 1928 Hahn that was given to us by the Friendship Fire Company #1, Morgantown.  This truck was built in Hamburg, PA.  The truck had an open cab, solid tires, a four cycle walkashaw motor, and a gear pump with a vacuum booster.

Our first new fire truck that was purchased by the Fire Company was a 1956 Chevy Howe Pumper, 500 GPM pump with a 500 gallon booster tank.  This truck was fondly named "Old Red".  This truck was purchased from El-Mor Chevrolet.  The chassis cost $2800.00.  "Old Red" was purchased from the Company in 1999 by Dave Shirey.  The truck still remains in our community.

 

A 1960 Chevy Brush truck was then placed into service.  Birdsboro Steel built the tank on this truck.  This Chevy Apache 3/4 Ton, four wheel drive, six-cylinder four-speed was purchased from El-Mor Chevrolet.


The first tanker was constructed in 1969 with an 1800 gallon tank and a 250 GPM pump.  The tank was a used stainless steel milk tank.  During the flood of 1972, this truck was used to haul drinking water for two weeks in Birdsboro.  The water was pumped from the ponds at the Bethlehem Steel Company in Morgantown.  This truck came from El-Mor Chevrolet and was sold in 1999.

 

A 1976 Chevy Salisbury Brush unit with a 200 gallon tank and 250 GPM pump. (Out of Service, Sold)

 

A 1979 GMC Pumper with a 1000 GPM pump and a 750 gallon booster tank.  This unit was taken out of service following a road and bridge collapse on Route 82 during the flood conditions of September 8th, 1987.  The pumper was assisting Birdsboro Fire Company with pump details.  The unit was a total loss and a temporary replacement was purchased from Upper Milford Fire Co.  It was a 1965 GMC Hahn Pumper; this unit had a 750 GPM pump and a 800 gallon tank.  It was sold after the new Pumper was placed into service.  The truck cost $5,000.00


1989 FMC Pumper with a 1250 GPM pump and a 1000 gallon Booster tank.  This truck was purchased for $86,000.00 (Sold to White Sulphur Springs Fire Department in Montana in 2007)

1991 4-Guys Tanker with 1250 GPM pump and a 1900 Gallon tank.  This truck was originally purchased for $96,000.00.  In January, 2001, this truck was totaled after a vehicle accident in route to assist neighboring company, Gibraltar Fire Company with a structure fire.

 

A brush unit, a Dodge Power Wagon 4-wheel drive was donated by the Bureau of Forestry strictly for brush fires.  The original unit was returned to the Bureau and a 1986 Chevy Brush Truck was given in return. 
(1986 Brush in use)

 

A 2001 New Lexington Freightliner Tanker-Pumper replaced the 1991 Tanker.  This truck has a six-person cab with jump seats, 1900 Gallon water tank, 1250 GPM pump, 700' of 5" hose and a diesel generator.
(In use today)

A 1979 GMC 4-Guys Tanker was purchased from Honey Brook Fire Company in 1999.  This provided us with a 3,000 gallon tank and a 1,000 GPM pump (Sold to Lake Waccamaw Fire Department in South Carolina in 2007)

 

A 2004 Ford F550 4x4 Brush Truck was purchased to replace the 1976 Chevy Brush Unit.  This truck has 300 gallons of water, a 300GPM pump and foam system, rescue tools and QRS equipped.

A 2006 Ford 250 4x4, Utility. This truck is QRS certified and equipped with everything an ambulance carries, but lacks the ability to transport.  This unit is used to transport personnel, run EMS calls and responds to all calls as a command vehicle.

A 2004 Pierce Contender Engine.  This unit was purchased from a fire department in Texas to replace the 1989 Ford Engine.  The truck has a 1,000 gallon tank, 1,500gpm pump, Husky 10 Foam System, Hercules CAFs (Compressed Air Foam), and a set of heavy rescue tools and stabilization equipment.

A 1999/2004 Kenworth Tanker.  This truck was purchased from the Volente Fire Dept in Texas to replace the 1979 Tanker.  This truck is a modified 1999 Kenworth Road Tractor and was outfitted with a 2004 tank/pump by Osco.  The tank holds 3,200 gallons of water and pumps 1,000gpm.  The truck carries a large amount of hose and a 2,200 gallon porta-tank used to pool water during a fire.

 

 

 

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2014 Calls

Month  Calls
January 35 
February 37 
March 25 
April  
May  
June    
July  
August  
September  
October  
November  
December  
Total

97 

2013- 299 Calls