Our first pumper L-R Edward H. Cole, Joseph Brooker, Frank Laklia
Like many communities of the early 1900's, fire protection in Pine Township consisted of caring neighbors and lots of buckets. After handling another fire with a bucket brigade like approach in 1921, a small group of men got together and decided it was time for something a little more organized. They established the Wexford Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 of the Township of Pine.
By 1922 the first members of the Wexford Volunteer Fire Company were able purchase the Company's first fire truck. These men accomplished this not through taxes or other government resources, but through their own donations and contributions. This truck, pictured above, was a 1922 Model T Ford. The Model T was an open cab style and was equipped with the latest firefighting technology at the time. It was equipped with three tanks with a total capacity of 110 gallons. These tanks contained water and soda acid. When needed for a fire, the water and soda acid were mixed. The chemical reaction generated enough pressure to fight the fire. Since there were no fire hydrants at the time, the firefighters looked for ponds or creeks to replenish water supplies.
The first Fire Chief, Joseph F. Brooker, recorded one of the first fires that the official Wexford Volunteer Fire Company attended. The location was on Perry Highway in Wexford at a house owned by A.F. Einhouse. The Chief reported that due to the quick response of the firefighters and the efficiency of the new Model T fire engine, they were able to contain the damage to about $100.
The first station was a wood garage behind member Herman Cole's home on Church Road. Shortly after the Fire Company leased property from the Brooker family to build a one bay garage. The building was constructed out of concrete blocks and had double-swinging doors. By 1951, the Fire Company had a fleet of three vehicles and a decision was made to expand the building. A two bay concrete garage complete with a kitchen and restrooms was constructed. Public water was not common to the area so the firefighters installed a cistern. This facility is what became the rental hall and where the meeting, kitchen and workout rooms are currently located. Many natives to the North Hills may remember attending a wedding or perhaps having their own wedding in the old fire hall.
In 1958, the Fire Company purchased a new Mack pumper, and a need for additional space was created. The land beside the existing building was purchased and a concrete block drive through garage was constructed. This is the current truck garage. This is when the existing garage was converted into meeting rooms.
Over the years the Wexford Volunteer Fire Company has expanded to match the rapid growth of the Township of Pine. We have built a substation on Babcock Boulevard near the turnpike bridge to cover the eastern part of the Township. An engine and tanker are also stationed at the Township building to provide complete station coverage for the Township and facilitate a better daylight response by Township employees who are also firefighters with the Fire Company. We have built a new main station at the corner of Wexford Road and North Chapel to continue to service the residents of the Township of Pine with quality emergency services. We have nine vehicles, which include; three engines, a 50-foot telescoping ladder/engine, a tanker, a brush truck, a rescue truck, a squad and a command vehicle. We also have an HUV with brush firefighting capabilities and a small boat for water rescues.
*History information adapted from, Township of Pine 1796-1996, by the Pine Township Historical Committee
County Wexford, Ireland - Wexford, PA Connection
Did you know that the Wexford area was originally settled by German and Irish immigrants? In the early 1800's, Ambrose Schaeffer from Baden-Baden, Germany and Martin Byrne from Wexford, Ireland were key settlers in the area, and did a lot of work to draw missionaries to the area. The first Catholic Mass was held at the log cabin of Martin Byrne, and Mr. Byrne became the first postmaster in the area. The local postal region was named Wexford, after Mr. Byrne's place of birth.
Several years ago, local historians and representatives from St. Alphonsus Church established a connection with County Wexford, Ireland. Marty McKinney, Sr., life member of the fire company, mentioned to Chief Tim Flaherty(At the time captain) the idea of establishing a link between the fire services. Through the Internet, Tim finally got around to finding contact information and after sending an email, Assistant Fire Officer Simon Geraghty replied in agreement of keeping in touch with our fire company.
According to Mr. Geraghty, there are 116,000 residents in County Wexford. Due to premier beaches and hotels, the population explodes to over 180,000 in the summer months. Fire protection is provided through five stations: Wexford (Headquarters), Enniscorthy, Gorey, New Ross and Bunclody. The service is made up of 65 paid-part time firefighters, a Chief, two Senior Assistant Chiefs, and two Assistant Chiefs and an Assistant Fire Officer.