Garrettford Drexel Hill Fire Company was first organized in
January of 1907 as the Garrettford Fire Company. It started
when a group of concerned citizens met in Summer's Hall on
the second floor of the old Scott's Market, now the WaWa,
at Burmont and Garrett. On April 12, 1907 the first firefighting
equipment was purchased by the fire company, two Babcock Extinguishers.
In 1908 the fire company applied for a charter. The charter
was received on April 24, 1908. Also in 1908 the fire company
purchased the Mission Building from the Garrettford Baptist
Church. This building was located at Edmonds Avenue and Randolph
Street; the fire company is still at this location.
1910 the fire company obtained the first fire alerting system.
It was a locomotive wheel donated by the Baldwin Locomotive
Works. This wheel was struck with a hammer to alert the members
that there was a fire. In 1911 a hand drawn hose cart was
purchased to go along with the ever-expanding water and fire
hydrant system being installed in the area. In 1913 a Mack
fire truck was purchased, the first motorized apparatus for
the fire company. In 1919 the first pumper was delivered to
the fire company.
| It was a 750-gallon
per minute (GPM) Seagrave engine. This truck, which was
nicknamed "Old Bertha", proudly
served the community until 1953. Also in 1919 the community
was expanding rapidly. To reflect this expansion the fire
company also expanded its name and became known as the
Garrettford Drexel Hill Fire Company.
1920's and 30's were a slow period in our company's history.
In 1929 our present firehouse was built. In 1934 tragedy struck
the Garrettford Drexel Hill Fire Company. James Verner, the
chief of the fire company, was killed while directing fire-fighting
operations. Mr. Verner had served as chief since 1913. Chief
Verner's death was the first and only line of duty death to
strike the Garrettford Drexel Hill Fire Company. In 1937 the
fire company purchased a Ford/Buffalo pumper. This truck served
the fire company until 1960.
truck then went on to serve the Fair Acres Geriatric Center,
in Lima Pennsylvania. The "Old Ford" as it is
now know, was reacquired by the fire company and has been
restored by the membership. The truck is now used for public
relations and fire prevention programs.
World War II the community and the fire company were growing.
The fire company received its first ladder truck a 1948
Seagrave. 1948 also saw the delivery of a Diamond T rescue
truck. In 1953 the fire company placed in service a 750
GPM Seagrave engine. In 1956 a new member of the fire company
arrived. The company's first dog named "Belle". "Belle" served
the fire company until 1969. In 1957 to match our growing
apparatus roster, a fourth bay was added to the firehouse.
1960's saw the expansion and improvement of our apparatus
fleet. In 1960 a 750 GPM Seagrave engine was placed in
service and served until being taken out of service in
1996. In 1965 a 1000 GPM Seagrave engine was placed in
service and served until 1987. Also in 1965 a Ford rescue
truck was placed in service, replacing the 1948 Diamond
T. In 1968 a new dog-named "Smokey" joined the
membership. In 1969 a
100' ladder truck was placed in service. When originally placed
in service this truck had both front and rear wheel steering.
The driver turned the rear wheels by using foot pedals. This
system proved to be a problem and was removed from the truck.The
1970's did not see much in the way of major events for the
fire company. The 1980's did bring about more apparatus changes
and two new dogs.
1981 a GMC/ Pierce rescue truck and a GMC/Sutphen tactical
unit were placed in service. Also in 1981 "Smokey"
passed away. "Smokey II" joined the company in 1981
but fell to an untimely death. "Chief", "Smokey
II"'s replacement arrived in 1981 and served until 1993.
In 1984 the Hurst "Jaws of Life" were placed in
service on the rescue truck. In 1987 a 1250 GPM Seagrave
engine was placed in service.
1990's brought about several more changes to the fire company.
The first major change to the original firehouse since the
addition of the fourth bay occurred when the apparatus room
floor needed to be replaced. The replacement of the floor
caused the removal of the bowling lanes from the basement
and had the apparatus in a plastic tent in the parking lot
for several months. This upgrade of the floor allowed us to
modernize the apparatus fleet in 1996 and 1997.
1996 the company placed in service a 1500 GPM Seagrave engine
and a 100' Seagrave ladder truck with a 1250 GPM pump. In
1997 the fire company placed in service a Freightliner/PL
Custom rescue truck, replacing the 1981 unit.
history of the Garrettford Drexel Hill Fire Company is long
and distinguished. The members of the fire company will
proudly serve the community in the future and continue to
add to this history.