Minersville Fire Department

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Independent Company History

Independent Hose Company History:

 The Independent Hose Company of Minersville was organized May 1, 1869 after the Civil War. It was organized by a group of interested citizens who were concerned about fire protection in their neighborhood. Numbered among this group were the following:

  • John Mohan                Terrence Quinn               Andrew J. Shilthorn

  • Terrence Mohan         Patrick O'Boyle               James F. Donahue

  • Edward Torney          William McElroy              James Feeney

  • William Canfield        Stephen Bradley             John F. McVeigh

  • William S. Jenkins    Thomas Wilson               Bernard Dunn

  • James Maher            Thomas O'Neill               John Boyle

  • Conrad McGee         Thomas Quinn                Thomas Ferguson

  • H. A, Kear                  William Matthews Jr.      J. M. Quinn

  • James King               Isaac Jenkins                 Patrick Doolin

  • William Shortie        Daniel Shields                George Fisher

  • Robert Carter          Matthias Feeney             Patrick Duffy      Henry Reese

  • James Dempsey    Hugh Connery               Charlies McCauley

 It was not until September 23,1884, that our company was officiating chartered & became an authorized fire fighting organization.Their first meeting was held May 3rd, 1869 in the public house of Henry Reese. At that meeting, Terrance J. Quinn was chosen President, William Matthews, Jr., Treasurer, and H. J. Mohan, Secretary.

 Then on June 3, 1869 a committee consisting of Henry Reese, H. A. Kear, J. F. McVeigh, Thomas Jones, and Terrance Quinn successfully circulated a petition to property holders of the Borough to solicit their aid and influence toward organizing the fire company permanently.

 A four wheel hose carriage was purchased in March of 1870 at a cost of $300.00 and housed in a rented building owned by D. A. Jones, located in the fourth ward. The rental for the building, $40.00 annually was paid by the Borough Council, beginning an obligation with council which council has fulfilled down to the present time.

 Later, on May 20th, 1874, a property committee was appointed with full authority to negotiate the purchase of the ground which served as our home until 1984. The ground was purchased from the Andrew Brennan Estate for $650.00. Work on the new hall was completed September 1892 at a cost of $1,000.00. In 1913, the new building was successfully expanded at a total cost of $2,632.25.

 Initially, two classes of membership were permitted - those 21 years of age and older who were active members and fought fires and those 18 to 21 years who were social or contributing members who were not permitted to fight fires or vote on the affairs of the company. Today, full membership is permitted at 18 years of age.

 Along about September 1895, A committee of three - M. J. McGuri, Julius Oberlies and John Baerman - was appointed to look into the firemen's relief law enacted by the state legislature. This group merged November 1901 with the existing fire association group, that had worked with Borough Council Fire Committee, forming the present Minersville Firemen's Relief Association.

 The year 1910 also saw the installation of the electric fire alarm system we know today. Earlier, firemen were summoned by a bull whistle located atop the old power plant and later by a steam whistle installed on Rensello Factory.

 Parades were part of a firemen's life; old times turned out in full uniform on May 30th at the request of Captain G. L. Lawrence post 17 G.A.R. and on July 4th at the invitation of the Sunday school union and Patriotic Order Sons of America. Members also turned out in white shirts, dark pants, dark ties, and black armband to march in the funeral cortege of deceased fellow members.

 The original four wheeled hose carriage remained in active duty until 1921 when it was replaced by the "Blue Bird" which was a chemical apparatus manufactured by the Maccar People. In 193, A Han pumper capable of delivering 500 gallons of water per minute, replaced the "Blue Bird". This piece of equipment, costing $8,500.00 served the company well and wasn't retired until 1958. In 1957, a Peter Pirsch unit mounted on a G.M.C. Chassis was purchased & delivered in 1958 at a cost of $14,500.00.

 It was quite evident in the 1970's the company was outgrowing its present quarters and a decision was made to explore expanding the present building or seek a new location. After reviewing all the options available, the committee recommended the purchase of the properties across the street from the present quarters. This action was completed in 1976 and in 1977 the membership, itself, toiled to tear the properties down and prepare the property for eventual construction of the present quarters.

 The membership felt that with the talented individuals in the company the construction of the building could be undertaking by the membership itself. So, except for some specialized areas of the building, construction was started in 1982, completed in the fall of 1983, and dedicated in June, 1984. The total cost of the project was approximately $110,000.00. The membership was proud of the fact that their fundraising efforts over the years permitted this to pay cash for this project.

 The 70's not only had the company looking to provide new quarters but also to streamline its operation. In 1972, the company purchased a mobile radio system for the fire truck and in 1973, a base station and two hand held units were purchased which have contributed to the efficient operation of the company.

 With quarters expanded it was decided in 1985 to appoijt a committee to review replacement of the 1958 G.M.C. and in October of 1986, an order was placed with Seagrave Fire Apparatus Company for a new unit at a cost of $143,000.00. This unit was received in September of 1987, placed in service in December 1987 and housed in June of 1988.

 This brings us up to the present and is indicative to the progress made by the company since it began over 100 years ago.

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