Monday November 7, 1904 was a cool autumn day. That was the day that the news broke that the Red Hill horse bazaar stable was on fire. The citizens of Red Hill immediately went into action to take on the first major fire of the newly formed borough. A bucket brigade, formed by many volunteers, proved to be inadequate. Many of the volunteers were injured fighting the flames before the fire burned itself out.
There was a realization that a fire company was needed to serve this two year old borough. With the blessings of the Red Hill founding fathers, The Hancock Chemical Fire Engine Company of Red Hill was formed in November 1904, and incorporated two years later or November 12, 1906.
With the guiding hand of the Hancock Fire Company of Norristown, Red Hill Fire Company’s “mother company”, Lucian Miller a prominent cigar manufacturer and the town’s first burgess, was elected the first President of the new volunteer firefighters and John P. Kline, Millers business partner and borough secretary, assumed the office of treasurer. The other original officers elected just eight days after the big fire were: John Vonderheide, vice president and chief; John M. Pflieger, recording secretary; Charles W. Seasholtz, financial secretary; Robert E Jackson, C.B. Brey and Owen W. Schwartz, trustees. The organization was guided by the Hancock Fire Company of Norristown. Sixty two men showed there interest in becoming members at the first meeting which was held in the L.B. Miller Cigar Factory.
The first fire hall building, built by John P. Kline, was located at 358-360 Main Street. Dedication of this building was made with the Hancock Fire Company on August 5, 1905. The first hall building was shared with a restaurant and housed a horse-drawn chemical unit, Red Hills first piece of fire fighting equipment. On January 10, 1907 this piece of equipment and the volunteers were called to extinguish a minor fire caused by an overheated stove pipe.
Our 1923 Haun Truck outfitted as a pumper, is one of the few pictures that has survived over the years. It features not only a beautiful truck but also pictured sitting in the drivers seat is Elmer M. Royer, one of the Hancock Chemical Fire Engine Company of Red Hill Charter members.
On January 6, 1923, the horse-drawn chemical unit was replaced by a Hahn truck outfitted as a pumper with two chemical tanks. Over the years this organization added a 1938 Autocar 500 gallon tanker and an International ¾ ton emergency truck.
On the date of June 24th 1923, the Hancock Chemical Fire Engine Company of Red Hill name was simply changed to the Red Hill Fire Company.
The Ladies Auxiliary, organized about 1932, has been an active unit and down through the years has given the fire company valued support. The ladies demonstrated their approval of the then new building project in 1970, by making a contribution of $5,000.00 to help meet its final cost. Through the years the Ladies Auxiliary has continued to support the Red Hill Fire Company by way of a monthly donation to the Red Hill Fire Company Engine Room.
There was a celebration on October 25, 1934 to dedicate the Fire Company’s second home. This home included space for equipment, grill room, meeting room and second floor assembly hall and kitchen. As the company grew, so did the need for a new building with additional space and facilities.
Sometime around 1951 the Red Hill Fire Company acquired our 1951 Maxim 750 gallon pumper which we owned until being sold in the summer of 2010.
The Red Hill Fire Company at one time was known as “The Dog House” which explains the slogan on the front page. Not only just for the reason that we were a station full of Mack trucks, but also the station is where most men would go when they were in “The Dog House” with there wives.
In 1970, the company moved to its third home, at 82 East 5th Street in the borough which would prove to be an efficient home for about thirty five years. This new home included a larger equipment / engine room, tool and repair shop, office and lounge for the firefighters and QRS personnel along with a banquet hall facility, kitchen and grillroom / bar. Currently the Red Hill Fire Company Social Club and banquet hall still operate out of this facility.
In 2006 the Red Hill Fire Company moved to its current location at 71 East 4th Street in the borough. Our new facility is a beautiful seven bay station with ten offices that serve as officers quarters. One Engineers “Clean Room” used primarily as electrical maintenance room. One “Dirty Room” which is primarily used as a welding and fabrication room, a men’s and women’s bunk room, a full kitchen and day room, classroom, and the chiefs office which is also utilized as a conference room.
Today, the Red Hill Fire Company apparatus consists of:
- 1993/2011 Refurbished Pierce Lance Squirt Pumper(Squirt 71)
- 1997 / 2012 Pierce Lance Rescue / Pumper (Squad 71)
- 2006 Ford F-350 Swab body (QRS 71)
- 1993 Ford F-350 Ambulance Body (Utility 71)
- 1986 Chevy Pick-up (Field 71)
- 2002 McKee Craft (Marine 71)
- 2011 Zodiac (Marine 71-1)
- 1990 10 Ft. Hallmark Trailer (Special Service 71)