fire company

Fort Washington Fire Company

The Fort Washington Fire Company (FWFC) is responsible for providing fire protection services in Upper Dublin Township and surrounding communities, including the town of Fort Washington within Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

History

The story of the Fort Washington Fire Company begins on January 6, 1908, when the citizens of the area held a meeting and decided that a fire company was needed to protect the people, interests, and possessions of Upper Dublin and the surrounding communities. Citizens of the area held several meetings during that year. A temporary president, secretary, and treasurer were appointed. The company was created and anyone wishing to join had to pay a $1.00 initiation fee.

On February 3, 1908 the company nominated and elected a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and a board of directors consisting of six men. In September 1908, the first fire station was acquired. A barn was rented on the south side of Summit Avenue. On February 10, 1910 the permission was given to order the first firefighting equipment. The order was for . of hose, twelve buckets, two ladders, two hooks and two axes. According to records, the Fort Washington Fire Company put out its first fire on December 27, 1910.

In August 1914, a car was purchased to be transformed into a fire apparatus. The apparatus was a Pierce Arrow chassis with a body built by a local resident named Mr. Oberholtzer. The apparatus was to be painted a light maroon color. In October 1914, a 1910 Peerless automobile was purchased for conversion to a chemical engine. On Christmas day 1914, the company was called to assist Glenside with the Justice Lumber Yard Fire. In December 1919, a key figure was voted into the fire company, Arthur Haggar, whose family has been instrumental in the success of the fire company.

In April 1922, a new Ford Chemical engine was delivered. Money was raised for a new fire truck, and in 1927, the decision was made to purchase a Hahn pumper for $7150. In January 1928, a Seddon truck (built by Seddon Truck Company of Flourtown, PA) was purchased. The idea was to take the chemical truck and remount it on this chassis. The cost of the truck was $2500.

In 1937, the company began purchasing fire equipment from the Nat Alexander Company (fire equipment supplier). The relationship continues to this day. In 1939, the company ran a total of 38 fire calls. Today the company runs approximately 600 to 700 calls per year. In 1942, the eligible age for joining the fire company was lowered to 16 to compensate for the lack of men due to many enlisting in the armed services. In 1946, a memorial service was held for five members of the fire company who were killed defending our country during World War II. In September 1946, the fire company received a new Ford truck with a front mounted Hahn pump. December 1947 brought the finalization of the Relief Association. In the same year, the fire company fought the Wentz barn fire.

In March 1948, the Fire Police unit was formed. In April of that year, negotiations led to the purchase of the land that the present main station is located on. It is a 150' by 200' lot located across the street from the old firehouse on Summit Avenue. The lot was purchased for $3,000 from Mr. Mariotz. In September 1949, the President, also a charter member of the fire company, resigned his post. U. Grant Funk had been president of the fire company since 1910. In November, a dinner was held in his honor.

A new Mack fire truck was purchased in September 1950, for the price of $16,333.75. In 1951, the new Mack fire truck collided with a Horsham fire truck while responding to a house fire. In 1954, a new GMC fire truck was purchased for $9,500.00, with the Civil Defense paying $4,477.25 of the cost. In 1955, a new fire house was built, which serves as the present main station. The cost of the new firehouse was $104,000. In March 1956, the fire company received the second highest rating in the State for their entry in the National Fire Prevention contest. On June 12, 1958, a jet plane from the Willow Grove Naval Air Station crashed onto a property along Dillon Rd. During the late 1960s, a concerted effort was made to build a training grounds. This is now located about a mile (2 km)down the road from the present Burn Brae station.

In 1965, the fire company participated in the movie entitled "The Trouble With Angels" starring Haley Mills and Rosalind Russell. In September 1965, they appeared in Life Magazine.

In September 1971, the fire company received a new 75 ft (23 m) Mack Aerialscope In December of that same year, Chief George Haggar, chief of 17 years, announced he would not run for chief again. On June 3, 1972, a ceremony was held to dedicate the training grounds. In November, a new 1250 US gal/min (80 L/s) Mack pumper was delivered. During August 1974, the Burn Brae Station was completed and began servicing the community. On June 10, 1976, twin Mack 1250 US gal/min (80 L/s) pumpers were delivered and dedicated. These were the first trucks to be painted lime green, which consequently began the signature trademark of the company's apparatus for years to come.

Stations

The Fort Washington Fire Company operates from two fire stations:

Summit Ave. Station (88-A) is located in the old Fort Washington section of the township. This is the Main Station. It houses Rescue 88, Tower 88, Engine 88, Squad 88 and Traffic 88. This station has a recreation room, a large meeting room, a fully equipped kitchen, a conference room, and offices for the chief and administrative officers.

Burn Brae Station - (88-B) is located in the Dresher section of the township at the intersection of Susquehanna and Twining Roads. It houses Engine 88-1, Squad 88-1 and Special Service 88. It also houses a recreation room and a compressor for filling air bottles.

Memorial

The fire company has a memorial for all of fire fighters that have passed on outside of the Burn Brae Station. The memorial reads:

"THIS MONUMENT IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS OF THE FORT WASHINGTON FIRE COMPANY NO. 1 WHO HAVE ANSWERED THEIR LAST ALARM AND WHO HAVE PASSED ON TO US A TRADITION OF HONOR: SAVING AND SUSTAINING LIVES WITH UNCOMMON VALOR AND DEVOTION TO DUTY. DEDICATED SEPTEMBER 10, 1994"

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