|Past Fire Chiefs of the Central Fire Co.|
|John (Had) Missimer
|Theodore Feltenberger Jr.
A BRIEF HISTORY -CENTRAL FIRE COMPANY OF LAURELDALE
The Central Fire Company was organized on February 9, 1917 and has the distinction of being the first organization in Laureldale. Their first meeting was held at the Center Square Hotel on the north west corner of Kutztown Road and Bellevue Avenue.
On June 1, 1917 the founders purchased two lots at the corner of Montclare Avenue and Park Place for $400.00. Many people volunteered and worked on the project. A contractor was later hired to complete the fire company building for a total cost was $1,200.00. One year later the building was ready and a dedication ceremony was held in September 1918.
The first apparatus was a second-hand Ford fire truck which was purchased in April 1919 for $1,850.00. The demand for fire protection grew and in November, 1924 the fire hail was expanded to provide room for an additional fire engine. In January 1927 a 450 gallon Hahn Pumper truck was purchased at a cost approximating $5,100.00. This fire apparatus was rebuilt in 1938 at a cost of $2,050.00. Unfortunately the truck was in an accident a few months latter at Fifth Street Highway and Bellevue Avenues and was so heavily damaged that a new 500 gallon Hahn triple combination pumper was purchased to replace it. No one was seriously hurt in the accident. The new apparatus was housed on May 20. 1939. In 1939-1940 a membership drive brought in the largest increase in members since the inception of the company.
During World War II, the Central Fire Company manned a control tower for air-raid alarms twenty four hours a day. Many of its members served in the armed forces while those at home took an active part in Civilian Defense activities. At night when the air raid siren was blown as a warning, the air raid wardens would walk around their designated area to check to see that no lights could be seen. After World War II ended, construction on an addition to the building began in 1947 and was completed in January, 1948. The cost of this building was $45,000.00 and provided two bowling alleys, a cooling system. a bar and a kitchen. In May, 1954 the social quarters were completely air conditioned for an additional cost of $9,000.00.
In January 1952 a new American-LaFrance 750 gallon pumper was ordered at a cost of $16,760.00. To upgrade their vehicles, two way radios were installed in all mobile units including the fire chief’s car in order that they could be in touch with the home base fire company at all times. A ceremony for housing the Amencan-LaFrance pumper was held on August 7, 1954 when a parade was held. The following persons took part in the ceremony: The Hon. Harold A Yetzer. Hon. Frank W. Ruth, Burgess Dominic Manzella, Rev. Mark Trexler and the Rev. Samuel Givier. Jr. Members of the Housing Committee included: John Seidel, Theodore C. Feltenberger both Jr. and Sr., George, Richard, Fred, and Ronald Feltenberger plus Vince O’Brien. The treasurer was Ehrin Boldt.
In 1961 a new Ford fire truck which cost $5,936.60 was purchased to replace the 1943 truck. However the truck they received was actually a 1962 model Ford 850 super duty truck. The truck was purchased from Heffner Ford Company and the Palm Body Works changed the tank from the old truck to the new one.
Between 1955 and 1964 the Central Fire Company added fire fighting equipment by purchasing a self contained breathing apparatus, Scott Air Packs and extra air tanks for the fire fighters. A new Hale portable pumper was purchased and the old one was overhauled.
In April, 1963 a Hale pump was installed in the Ford truck along with ten door compartments and the entire truck was repainted. This cost $9,981.60.
In October, 1963 a building project added an engine room and club quarters to the facility costing $143,000.00. The Muhlenberg Lions Club contacted the Central Fire Company to ask if they would house a 1961 Cadillac Ambulance. The fire company agreed and the Lions Club obtained a charter to operate an ambulance service in Muhlenberg Township which began January 1, 1964. The ambulance was kept at the fire house for ten years. The Ambulance Association moved to a new building at 835 Bellevue Avenue. The bowling alleys at the fire company were becoming obsolete as commercial bowling alleys became popular. The bowling alleys were removed and the space was renovated into much needed office and storage areas.
As the population of Laureldale increased so did the demand for adequate fire protection. In 1984 a Hahn tank truck was purchased and in 1992 a KME pumper tank truck was added to the fleet. The members of the Central Fire Company participate in fund raising by providing Sunday morning breakfast, Friday and Saturday evening dinners plus other activities. The latest undertaking in 2003 was the purchase of a new KME pumper truck obtained for around $250,000.00.
A new state of the art Ken Key Tab system was installed in the social quarters in the fall of 2003.The Central Fire Company remains a free standing organization of the community. They provide many services including, first and foremost fire fighting with the latest equipment available. Our volunteers participate wherever a fire may be inmiinent as in car accidents, chinmeys smoldering, and assist in teaching children and adults about fire safety. Laureldale is fortunate in having these dedicated persons who oversee the operations of the fire company and especially the fire fighters and fire police who are willing to attend fire fighting classes and risk their lives to help others.