Fort Washington Fire Company
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Total Incident Stats

Total Incidents
2024 2023 2022 2021
56 53 69 54
46 53 59 56
49 51 51 64
72 72 70 40
63 61 58 57
76 50 66 62
66 80 59
49 55 57
61 51 200
76 60 61
67 52 64
51 66 62
362 710 737 828

Box Alarm Dispatches
2024 2023 2022 2021
47 (12) 100 (20) 85 (17) 85

Working Fires
2024 2023 2022 2014
8 (3) 10 (1) 14 (2) 24

Vehicle Rescues
2024 2023 2022 2021
4 5 9 5

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October 5, 2015
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Visitors Today
Jul 20, 2024
341

Fire Company History

The Fort Washington Fire Company No. 1 was formed in 1908 for the purpose of protecting Fort Washington, Upper Dublin Township, and the surrounding areas from fire. From that time, there have been many hardships and trying experiences, which were all overcome.

The first meeting of the fire company was held on January 6, 1908, on Bethlehem Pike at what was called the Junior Order of American Mechanics Building. The fire company had been organized in response to the fire hazards in the area, including a large steel mill in what is now the Fort Washington office park that had already been the site of several fires. Anyone wishing to join had to pay a $1 initiation fee. A temporary president, secretary, and treasurer were appointed.

On February 3, 1908, the company nominated and elected a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and a six-man board of directors. In September of 1908, a barn was rented from Mr. George Bodenstein on the south side of Summit Avenue to serve as the first fire station. Midvale Steel donated a steel tire ring to be used to alert the members of a fire call.

During the early years, there was not a lot of money to go around. The fire company had to rely on the generosity of prominent local residents, along with fundraisers such as socials, pig roasts and ice cream sales.

On February 10, 1910, the company ordered its first firefighting equipment, consisting of 500 feet of hose, twelve buckets, two ladders, two hooks, and two axes.

According to records, the Fort Washington Fire Company put out its first fire on December 27, 1910.

In 1913, the fire chief petitioned the water company to install a fire hydrant at Summit Avenue and Spring Avenue. The fire company had to pay for the hydrant.

In August of 1914, a car was purchased to be transformed into a fire apparatus. The apparatus was a Pierce Arrow chassis with a body built by a local resident named Mr. Oberholtzer. The apparatus was to be painted a light maroon color. In October of 1914, a 1910 Peerless automobile was purchased for conversion to a chemical engine.

On Christmas day, 1914, the company was called to assist Glenside with the Justice Lumber Yard Fire.

In November  1917, the membership decided to waive dues for any member serving in WWI.

In December  1919, a key figure was voted into the fire company: Arthur Haggar. The Haggar family has been extremely instrumental in the success of the fire company over the years.

In April 1922, a new Ford Chemical engine was delivered. In the same year, the company also began looking for a site for a regular fire house to be built. Mr. George Wallace purchased the site on Summit Avenue from Mr. Bodenstein for $1,000 and donated the land to the fire company. Mr. James was awarded the contract for the new firehouse at a cost of roughly $6,000.

In 1927, the decision was made to purchase a Hahn pumper for $7150. In January 1928, the company purchased a Seddon truck, built by Seddon Truck Company of Flourtown, PA. The idea was to take the chemical truck and remount it on this chassis. The cost of the truck was $2500.

In 1939, the fire company ran a total of 38 fire calls, a far cry from today, when we run approximately 800 calls per year. The fire company struggled with the loss of many of its members during WWII and depended on a small group of older members to keep the company going. In 1942, the minimum age for joining the fire company was lowered to sixteen. In 1946, a memorial service was held for five members of the fire company who were killed in the war.

In September of 1946, the fire company received a new Ford truck with a front mounted Hahn pump.

December of 1947 brought the finalization of the Relief Association. In the same year, the fire company fought the Wentz barn fire and was in service for sixteen hours.

The Fire Police unit was formed in March 1948. In April of that year, negotiations led to the purchase of the land that the company’s previous main station was located on. It is a 150′ by 200′ lot located across the street from the old firehouse on Summit Avenue. This lot was purchased for $3,000 from Mr. Mariotz.

In September of 1949, President U. G. Funk, also a charter member of the fire company, resigned his post, which he had held since 1910. A dinner was held in his honor in November of that year.

A new Mack fire truck was purchased in September of 1950, for the price of $16,333.75. In 1951, the new Mack fire truck collided with a Horsham fire truck while responding to a house fire. In 1954, a new GMC fire truck was purchased for $9,500.00, with the Civil Defense paying $4,477.25 of the cost.

In 1955, a new fire house was built, which served as our main station until 2012, when the new firehouse was completed. The cost of the firehouse was $104,000. That same year, George Haggar became fire chief and would go on to be the longest tenured chief in the company’s history, serving until 1971.

March of 1956 brought a huge honor for the fire company when we received the second highest rating in the state for our entry in the National Fire Prevention contest. Also in 1956, the fire company responded to a train wreck and fire along the Trenton Cut-Off.

                                      

On June 12, 1958, a jet plane from the Willow Grove Naval Air Station crashed onto a property along Dillon Rd, killing the pilot. The plane came so close to striking a home that it ripped off the rain gutters.

In 1965, the fire company participated in the movie “The Trouble with Angels”, starring Haley Mills and Rosalind Russell, which was filmed at St. Mary’s Villa. In September of 1965, we appeared in Life Magazine.

During the late 1960s, a concerted effort was made to build a training facility for the company. Chief George Haggar approached township officials about acquiring a piece of land in the township for this purpose. A piece of land on Twining Road about a mile down the road from our present Burn Brae station was secured, and the volunteers spent countless hours clearing out overgrown trees and brush to make the facility what is today

In September of 1971, the fire company received a new 75′ Mack Aerial-Scope, our first ever ladder truck. In December of the same year, Chief George Haggar, chief of 17 years, announced he would not run for chief again. On June 3, 1972, a formal ceremony was held to officially dedicate the training grounds, built solely by the members of the fire company and something of which we are extremely proud of. In November, a new 1250 GPM Mack pumper was delivered.

During August of 1974, the Burn Brae Station was completed and began servicing the community. This was the result of growing development on the East side of the Township and the need for better coverage in that section of town. On June 10, 1976, twin Mack 1250 GPM pumpers were delivered and dedicated. These were the first trucks to be painted lime green, which is now the fire company standard.

The 1980s saw the replacement of several apparatus as well as one of the most significant fires in our history on June 16, 1986, when the Trinity Episcopal Church caught fire. Initial Fort Washington crews attempted an interior attack, but had to rapidly evacuate the church due to the extent of the fire. Dozens of area fire companies assisted and laid supply lines several miles down Bethlehem Pike to the Bent Elbo.

In 1994, the memorial at the Burn Brae station was dedicated. It lists the names of all of our members who are no longer with us. 1996 brought the remnants of hurricane Fran, which resulted in approximately 10 inches of rain in a 2 hour period. Fort Washington members responded to numerous calls for rescues, fires, and everything in between. This event led to the acquisition of our boats, updates to operating guidelines and the training of our members in water rescue operations.

The new millennium brought increased training requirements, several new apparatus, and the celebration of our 100th anniversary in 2008 with a party for all members on the Battleship New Jersey on the Delaware River. In 2008, we also received the Upper Dublin medal for outstanding community organization.

The next major event in the Company’s history was the construction of a new main fire station on Fort Washington Avenue. After several years of planning, a ground breaking ceremony was held in 2010 at the new site at 1245 Fort Washington Avenue. In February 2012, we formally moved into the facility. We marked the occasion by opening a time capsule at the Summit Avenue Station and all of the members and their families walked from the old firehouse to the new firehouse. Several long-time members were given the honor of closing the bay doors one last time. Fittingly, we received a fire call just prior to closing the old firehouse and received a call as soon as the trucks were pulled into the new firehouse.

In 2016, major renovation of our Burn Brae Station took place, which created more storage space and modernized the station with shower and bunk facilities.

We are proud to say that we now have 2 modern and fully equipped fire stations to serve the community.

 

As the new decade gets underway, we are again focusing on our future by working on plans for 3 new apparatus in the next several years, which will allow us to continue to provide top notch fire services. 

The future of the Fort Washington Fire Company is bright and we continue to honor the traditions and lessons of the past, while ensuring that we remain progressive and train our members to a high level, so they are able to best serve the residents and visitors to Upper Dublin Township and our surrounding communities.

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Fort Washington Fire Company No. 1
1245 Fort Washington Avenue
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Emergency Dial 911
Non-Emergency: 215-646-2555
Station Fax: 215-283-9981
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