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History

DoylestownFire Co. No. 1
AN ABBREVIATED HISTORY
by Mrs. Harry l (Judy) McCann and F.William Cope

The earliest recorded fire for our vicinity was in 1809, when David Kirkbridge’s farmhouse was destroyed. But it wasn’t until after the fire at Crispin Blackfan’s house on East State Street, in 1822, that action to organize fire fighting began in earnest. The Doylestown Fire Engine Company held its organizational meeting in January 1825, and a subsequent issue of the Patriot reported that an engine and equipment were ready for any emergency. Unfortunately,this organization was short lived and was succeeded by the Friendship Fire Co. By the fall of 1845, Friendship’s assets had been transferred to the Borough as they too had become defunct. in 1868, the Doylestown Engine Co. formed and accepted the new No.1 fire engine, leather hose and cart,and equipment from the Borough.

Our present organization, Doylestown Fire Company No. 1, was originally organized August 4,1879, with 25 charter members. This company also went through a reorganization.A new constitution and by-laws were adopted in October, 1893, and, by year’s end, a new ladder wagon was ordered. Our articles of incorporation were approved by the county court on January 14, 1895, and we have continued to serve the community ever since.

The land for our firehouse on Shewell Avenue was purchased in 1900, only two years after the street opened. Plans for the Fire House were drawn by Oscar Martin, a Doylestown architect, during the spring of 1902, and the cornerstone laid on August 20. Our house warming was held on January 26, 1903. The project cost just over $8000 including plumbing, heating, gas lights, and fire bell.

Early firefighting equipment consisted of horse drawn wagons, ladders and hooks,horses, and buckets and a lot of manpower. The engine in use during the late 1840’s required at least eight men to work the hand pump. If a fire scene was nearby, the firefighters would sometimes pull the equipment by hand rather than take the time to harness a horse. Some of our old firefighting apparatuses were donated to the Bucks County Historical Societyand are housed at the Mercer Museum, in Doylestown.

Horse drawn equipment was slowly phased out in the early years of the 1900’s. Our first motorized apparatus was a 1914 Simplex chemical truck. The second was an auto-pumper that was placed in service in early 1915. The pumper was capable of 500 gallons per minute and was manufactured by the Waterous Company.Both trucks were built up locally by John Rufe & Sons. Today, our modern pumpers are capable of 2000 gallons per minute and are still equipped with Waterous pumps.

In 1923 we purchased our third motor-driven fire truck, an Ahrens-Fox, capable ofpumping 1000 gallons of water per minute, for $13,400; a new pumper now can cost over $375,000 fully equipped. Our “Fox” is still in our inventory and can still pump 1000 gallons a minute all day long.

Other trucks have come and gone over the years as we have continued to upgrade our capabilities.One to note is the 1938 Hale Fire Truck that is still owned locally by the Tilley family. It served operationally with us for more than 30 years and joins us at parades and other fire company events.

In 1950, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Doylestown Fire Company was formed to financially assist and aid the fire company. Their fund raising activities include pancake breakfasts, catering dinners, and a Christmas bazaar. In 1994, “Ladies” was dropped from their organizational name. The Auxiliary operates a canteen step-van capable of serving meals at major fires and disaster scenes, and provides day-to-day help around the fire house.

A major change in fire fighting communications came about in 1955 when the company acquired the first mobile radios. Our base station went “on-the-air” with the call letters KGD-655, and two of our trucks received mobile radios. Today all of our apparatus have radios in them.

Looking to the future, as the rural nature of the area surrounding Doylestown continued to be developed, the company graciously accepted donations of land on Warden Road from Mr. George Hart and Mr. and Mrs. David Burpee. Our Warden Road Station, Station 79, was dedicated September 9, 1978, and operates as our second, first-out station.

Fire fighting and rescue work has become a family tradition with many of our volunteers.Today, we have second, third and a few fourth generation members in the Company . Our membership is limited to 70 active members, including ten positions for fire police. We also have a life member category to honor those members who have faithfully volunteered their time to our cause for more than 25 years. our total membership of some 135 unpaid volunteers,include active, life, and auxiliary members, stands ready to respond at a moment’s notice any time of day or night, in the proud tradition of American volunteerism.

Sources:
1. Doylestown Fire Co. No. 1 Records.
2. Wilma Rezer, 1981, Doylestown Fire Co. #1 and Its progress1825-1914.
3. W.W., Davis, Circa 1902, History of Doylestown, Old and New.

Past Presidents
1895-97
H.P. Beerer
1898-23
Henry A. James
1924-25
Wilson H. Swartley
1927-44
W. Carlisle Hobensack
1945-57
Harold Hellyer, Sr.
1958-59
George S. Werts
1960-66
Frank W. Cope
1967-70
Edward J. Miller
1971-76
Harry L. McCann
1977
Oliver A. Groman, Sr.
1978-82
John E. Connard
1983-87
William J. Happ, Jr.
1988-92
Joseph C. Stough
1993-1997
John C. Cope
1997-2004
Edward Boshell
2005
W. Andrew McPherson
2006-2014
F. William Cope
2015
Jay Fetterolf

 

Past Chiefs

1895-99
W. Harry Smith
1900-08
John Donnelley
1909-35
Daniel G. Fretz
1936-40
 Frank Stover
1941-42
Jay Richar
1943-45
Clarence Irwin
1946
Eral Wismer
1946-47
Jay Richar
1948-51
John Gwinner
1952-60
Joseph W. Howe
1961-67
Arthure H. Schmell
1968-69
Walter M. Carwithen, Jr.
1970-74
Carl L. Hall
1975-76
Bruce Wiley
1977
Carl L. Hall
1978
Bruce Wiley
1979-81
Donald L. Tilley
1982-83
Samuel W. Cramer, Sr.
1984-85
Donald L. Tilley
1986-1995
Stephen L. Walther
1996-1997
Samuel Cramer, Jr.
1998-2000
Douglas Tilley
2000-2001
James Shepard
2001-2004
Michael Wood
2005 – 2011
Dennis Loux, Jr.
2012-2013
John Edward Truman
2014- Present
Samuel Cramer, Jr.

Fire Fighter of the Year

1971
Bill Happ
1972
Ed Scarbourough
1973
Wilmer Lownes
1974
Sam Cramer, Sr.
1975
Carl Hall
1976
Art Schmell
1977
Jim Bingler
1978
Rick Lake
1979
Ron Bellerby
1980
Ollie Groman, Sr.
1981
Frank Preedy
1982
Terry Morris
1983
Jack Connard
1984
Bill Funk
1985
Steve Walther
1986
Jay Stough
1987
Mark Hamilton
1988
Joe Howe
1989
Samuel Cramer, Jr.
1990
John Cope
1991
Arn Young
1992
Ed Truman
1993
Mike Wood
1994
Jim Shepard, Sr.
1995
Denny Loux, Sr.
1996
 Boyd “Bud” Baughman
1997
Norman Reed 
1998
 Bill Cope
1999
Bill Price
2000
Jay Fetterolf
2001
James Dengler
2002
Dennis Loux, Jr.
2003
Paul Kreuter
2004
Ed Boshell
2005
Brett Morris
2006
George Erb
2007
Aaron Soldavin
2008
James F. Shepard
2009
Lori Westover
2010

2011
Jeffrey Kennedy
2012
Chris Morris
2013
Dan Kline
2014
Kevin Morris

Auxiliary Past Presidents

1950-52
Bearie  Beck
1953
Viola Brown
1954
HelenNotaranni
1955
Loretta Irwin
1956-57
Wary Howe
1958
Susan Swartley
1959-60
Mary Howe
1961-62
Susan Swartley
1963-64
Peg Means
1965-66
Terry Funk
1967-68
Irene Braznock
1969-70
Viola Brown
1971-72
Nancy Smith
1973-74
Irene Braznock
1975-76
Emma Worthington
1977-78
Muriel Phy
1979-80
Sarah Bellerby
1981-82
Muriel Phy
1983-84
Emilie Wojciechowicz
1985-86
Mary Jane Mimms
1987-88
Martha Groman
1989
Betty Cramer
1990-91
Martha Groman
1992-93
Cindy Walther
1994-1995
Barbarjean Williams
1996-1997
Cindy Walther 
1998-1999
Barbarajean Williams
2000-
Muriel Phy
2001-2003
Donna Loux
2004-
Barbarajean Williams