York Township Fire Department "We Strive to Save"
THE BEGINNING February 10, 1913, a group of citizens from Spry met in the Old School to discuss the organizing of a Fire Company and to obtain the proper equipment for the same. The meeting was organized by electing Samuel F. Kreidler as President, John A. Keech as secretary, and Franklin R. Sprenkle as treasurer. Mr. Faust of the York Manufacturing Company Fire Department and Mr. Waltman of York were also present and addressed the meeting.
The President appointed AJ Spahr, Elmer Markey, and John Sayers to solicit membersfor the new department. On February 17, 1913 a meeting was called to order at the band hall, and it was decided to name the company Goodwill Fire Company of Spry. A Constitution and By-Laws were then adopted. By March 24, 1913, it was decided to buy a rebuilt Howe machine and 300 feet of cotton hose. The cost of the machine was $600.
On March 31, 1913, a charter was applied for and a committee was appointed to purchase ground for a fire hall. The amount in the treasury was $36.31. The first alarm was sounded on April 26, 1913, and the fire was under control when the fire company arrived.
On September 13, 1913, the motto "WE STRIVE TO SAVE" was adopted and M.J. Deardorff was elected foreman of the company.
On March 9, 1914, a lot was purchased from Charles Ness for the purpose of erecting a fire hall. It was decided to build 18x30 that would be 12 feet high and Wagman Brothers were the low bidders on the brick work. Members were allowed to work out their subscription (membership) at $.14 per hour. The cost of building was $624.45, including the cost of a bell at $34.15. The first meeting held in the new building was July 6, 1914. The first time the bell rang was for a chimney fire at the home of Barbara Hovis.
Then, September 5, 1927, a contract was awarded to C.F. Deller for a new fire hall at a cost of $8,150.00. This was the fire hall located at 2422 South Queen Street (1 block south of the current building). The two story building maintained an apparatus room on the main floor with a meeting room upstairs. The first piece of equipment housed in the new building was a 1929 Chevy Hand Pumper which was horse drawn until 1930. On, March 23, 1931, a Fireman's Relief Organization was formed.
On April 5, 1943, permission was given to install the first siren on the fire hall. An American La France Pumper was purchased for the sum of $500.00 on July 5, 1943. In 1947, a Diamond T. Engine 19-1 was purchased. A new Oren Pumper was delivered on December 6, 1948, at a price of $9,658.30.
The Fire Company purchased a used Dodge service truck for $662.25 and a portable pump for $432.06 on March 5, 1951. On August 15, 1952, a new Oren Pumper was delivered at the cost of $12,865.50. CONTINUED GROWTH
In 1954, the company, realizing the need for more fire fighting equipment and proper housing, appointed a committee to search for a new location. By February 17, 1967, the Lehman property at 2318 South Queen Street was purchased for the amount of $10,900.00. On October 13, 1967, the property of Edith Blankenstein was purchased for $950.00 for additional parking space. A building committee was appointed in 1970, consisting of Lester Kreidler, Stewart Warner, Russell Meckley, Ralph Houser and all officers of the company. On April 12, 1970, the building contract for the new fire hall was awarded to Markey Builders. Ground breaking was held on Sunday April 18, 1971. On December 13, 1971, the cornerstone was laid and the new quarters was occupied on March 20, 1972, and dedicated on September 9, 1972. This building contained the headquarters for the police department and the township offices.
The first radio equipment was purchased in 1955 for the amount of $697.50. The township donated the first fire chief car in 1974. This was a township police cruiser car. Numerous company members and donations of countless persons began the car's restoration work. Carl Dull was fire chief with Dale Slenker as assistant chief.
The fire company joined with other companies of York County in one central system where all emergency calls were received. Each fire company was given a station number and York Township was given Station #19. The engines and the rescue and brush trucks we also given this number, plus another number or letter to identify each piece of equipment.
Before County Control, Grantley activated the siren for the York Township Department. The call number was KG677 unit. The engine numbers were 120, 121, 122, and 125. Prior to Grantley, Fire Chief Russell Meckley answered all calls and his wife Mary called each active fireman by phone. Many times Bill Ferree would close his service station to answer fire calls.
Wilbur Hartman was the oldest active member of the fire department until his death on March 22, 1995. "Wib" was the recording secretary for forty years.
The 56 original members of Goodwill Fire Company were: John W. Sayers, Maurice Deardorff, Edward Landis, John Weitkamp, A.J. Spahr, Frank Sprenkle, George A. Snyder, William Hildebrand, Edward Hildebrand, Jacob Falkenstine, Lawrence Conway, M. C. Ness, William Landis, William Welsh, John L. Keech, David Markey, Opie L. Stoner, Moses Aubel, Charles Giest, Albert Hovis, Elmer Lentz, H. S. Neff, Harvey Sechrist, Howard Warner, John Ness, Curtis Snyder, Jacob Flory, John Striebig, Irvin Hildebrand, William Weitkamp, William Conway, John Schmidt, John Kornbau, Paul Snyder, William Markey, Harry Stabley, Francis Weiser, Albert Winters, William Burns, J. C., Weitkamp, Edward Flory, Allen Slenker, Jacob Hovis, Charles Wambaugh, Reuben Brenner, Levi Stump, Jeremiah Lentz, H. Clinton Leader, Henry Landis, Amos Grim, Harry Pifer, Spurgeon Hovis, James F. Grove, George H. Parr, Harry Stump and Henry Wineka. RESCUE SERVICE HISTORY During the years before the rescue truck, the fire department responded to accidents and other rescue operations with the department's service truck. The service truck, which had a minimal amount of rescue tools, could perform the rescue operations needed at the time. In 1974, due to the increasing number of accidents and various types of rescues, the department felt that a specialized piece of equipment was needed to perform rescue operations.
In September 1974, at a regular meeting of the fire company, a motion was made to purchase a Met-Ed Utility Truck with a boom and winch from Douglas Equipment and Supply Company for $3,000.00. The truck was painted to the fire company's traditional red and white color scheme by Kelly Body Company. The grill and bumper was sent to be chrome plated in Baltimore, Maryland. A mobile radio, lights and siren were installed, and the truck was loaded with numerous hand tools, giving the rescue truck a good start. Through the following years self-contained breathing apparatus, a K-12 saw, an acetylene torch, first aid and safety equipment, a port-a-power, a com-a-long and numerous other extrication and rescue tools were added.
In 1979, a Lukas Rescue Tool for the purpose of extrication during rescue operations was purchased for $8,000.00. This purchase was made possible through donations made by concerned citizens and businessmen of the township. In November of the same year the fire company's ladies auxiliary donated $4,000.00 towards purchase of the rescue tool.
Due to many emergency calls, engine mileage and lack of room, it was decided by the fire department members to upgrade its well-used 1962 Ford/Pitman Rescue Truck. In 1984, a truck committee of ten members was established for the purpose of discussion, planning and saving of funds for a new rescue truck. In October 1986 at a regular meeting of the fire department, it was approved by the members to accept the committee's proposal to purchase a new rescue truck.
The new rescue truck consisted of a 1987 four door Autocar Chassis with a Cummins L-10 diesel engine purchased from Snyder Auto Service. The rescue body was built by Steeldraulic Products, Inc. of Waynesboro, Pa., and the boom and winch assembly from the former rescue truck was refurbished and remounted on the new chassis by Brodbeck's Utility Equipment Repair, a local firm. The firedepartment's members spent many dedicated hours installing lights, radios, ziamatic seats, framework for the undercab compartments, framework for the boom support, generator and other necessary equipment to save the fire company $25,000.00. In addition to the new truck, an electric Lukas Pump, Lukas Rams, electric cord reels, air bags, air cascade system, quartz lights and a ladder pipe were purchased and installed on the truck. The refurbished and remounted boom, in addition to its normal rescue operations, has been especially fitted for use as a lighting tower and waterpipe operations. The truck is also equipped with sufficient medical supplies to allow medical personnel to begin patient treatment and stabilization. The rescue truck with its newly purchased equipment cost the fire company $152,000.00; however, this price does not include equipment that was transferred from the former rescue truck.