Bridgeville Fire Co. celebrates 100th

By Lynn R. Parks

The Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month. Saturday, Dec. 19, the company will host a parade followed by an open house at the fire hall on Market Street. As part of the open house, the company's new storage building behind the fire hall will be open. Antique equipment, including the department's 1936 REO Speedwagon fire engine, will be on display. Steve McCarron, vice president of the company, said that antique fire equipment will also be on display in the fire hall. Refreshments will be served. The fire company traces its roots back to Dec. 14, 1909, when 63 men, all residents of Bridgeville, met in the old Opera House on Market Street and volunteered to join a town fire company. Their names are recorded on the first page of an old cloth day book, on the front of which someone has written "Fire Company" and which is still in the possession of the department. The book also records that on the day of that first meeting, the men agreed to meet three days later, on Dec. 17, 1909, to form an organization. Three among them were selected to go out into the community to solicit additional volunteers. On Dec. 17, as promised, the men gathered again. They elected officers president, C. P. Swain; vice president, George E. Willin; secretary, H. L. Cannon; and treasurer, Ira Lewis and a fire chief, H.W. Viven, and appointed committees to draft bylaws and come up with finances.

A year later, on Dec. 29, 1910, plans for the company's first building on William Street were approved. Cost of construction was $1,100. That building is now home to the Bridgeville Historical Society's museum. The department's first piece of equipment, a hose cart, is on display in the lobby of the current fire house. The original fire house was sold in 1928 and a building was constructed on Market Street, at the site of the current fire hall. Today, the fire company has 60 active volunteer members and two paid emergency medical technicians. Last year, they responded to 285 fire calls and 850 calls for the ambulance. McCarron said that as the population of Bridgeville grows, so does the number of times citizens call for help. Ambulance calls in particular "are picking up steadily," he said.

For your information The Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company will celebrate its 100th anniversary Saturday, Dec. 19. A parade will start at 1 p.m. and will march down Main and Market streets. An open house will follow at the fire hall on Market Street. For details, call 337-7272.

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