About the North Irwin Volunteer Fire Company
The North Irwin Volunteer Fire Company is a 100% volunteer fire company located in North Irwin, Pennsylvania on the corner of Broadway Avenue and 2nd Street, protecting around 850 residents of the community. The Department's mission is to provide fire protection, rescue, and emergency medical assistance to the Borough of North Irwin and its citizen's lives, as well as mutual aid to neighboring communities surrounding the Borough. The department is a 501(c)(3) company, relying on grants and fundraisers to purchase such things as fire apparatus, equipment and personal protective gear.
On February 27, 1921, a group of North Irwin residents who, recognizing the need for fire protection within the borough, met in the Eureka Club Building for the purpose of organizing the Borough's first Fire Company.
At this meeting the Company was organized and the following officers were elected: John Hensler, President; Thomas Harrison, Vice President; Mathias Yost, Recording Secretary; Andrew Kosko, Corresponding Secretary; Harry Pringle Jr, Treasurer; John Caroll, Chief; Thomas Steel, Assistant Chief; Michael Shea, Captain.
On October 6, 1921, the meeting was changed to basement of the North Irwin School Building. It was on that date the company became active and commenced negotiations for the purchase of fire-fighting apparatus. The first fire equipment, buckets and ladders purchased February 2, 1922 was followed by the purchase of six two-gallon soda acid tanks. On July 23, 1923 the Company bought two 50 gallon Apex chemical tanks, each mounted on a two wheel chassis. A building for housing was erected by the borough on Second Street and was opened on November 5, 1925.
Following an interval of inactivity, the company was re-organized on September 22, 1930. By this time, the need for motorized equipment was well established, and consequently, the Company devoted considerable time discussing means of obtaining this equipment. As a result of this endeavor, On April 4, 1935, the Company was able to purchase its first motor driven apparatus, an American LaFrance pumper for $4200.00. The original equipment included a 100 gallon booster tank, a 500 GPM gear driven pump, and a hose bed capable of carrying 1000 feet of hose.
The purchase of the pumper was the first sizeable financial obligation of the Company and served to strengthen the organization considerably. Realizing that hard work and dedication would be needed to keep the Company active, many members spent a large part of their time raising money with activities such as street fairs.
One of the largest ventures was the Old Home week and Firemen's Jubilee held from June 10th thru June 15th, 1935. Held under the backing of the Fire Company, the week was highlighted by the dedication of the new school building and included other events such as concerts, performances, and a fireman's parade.
In 1940, North Irwin Volunteer Fire Company followed the leading of many other local fire department and obtained a license to conduct a social club in the building near Second Street. The social club opened on November 11, 1940 and was a huge success. The club attracted many new associate members, but also new active members.
The Company continued to grow and to keep up with the times the company decided to look around for a new quarters. The vacant Helman's Bakery Company on the corner of Broadway and Second Street offered perfect facilities for the growing company. The building was acquired on September 8, 1943 off of the First National Bank of Irwin. Immediately plans to enlarge and renovate the building were developed and accepted.
Financially, it was realized that much volunteer work would be required to make the project practical. Members gave hours of their time performing work such as reinforcing the building with steel beams to finish up the carpentry work required for the cove lighting and horseshoe bar on the first floor. With a few exceptions, most of work on the building was done by volunteers. The building officially opened May 1, 1948. The building not only provided adequate facilities for the company to function, but provided the North Irwin Women's Club and Borough Council a place to meet in the upstairs banquet hall.
In 1958, the first motor driven piece was replaced by a 1948 enclosed cab American LaFrance purchased from Cresson Volunteer Fire Company. A major accomplishment of the company occurred in 1963 when the final payment of the mortgage, followed by the purchase of a 1963 Ford van style truck which was placed into service as the squad truck on June 12, 1963.
The later part of the 1960's also proved productive with the official opening of the Bowling Lanes in May 1965; and the purchase of a 1957 American LaFrance pumper off the Brownsville Volunteer Fire Company in July of 1968.
The 1963 Ford was converted into an Air Truck in 1977 and sparked new life into the company. On September 3, 1976, the arrival of North Irwin's first brand new pumper, which became the pride of the Company. The 1977 Mack Pumper was equipped with 1000 gallons of water and a 1000 GPM pump, powered by a 300 Maxidyne engine. The original double door garage was replaced by a single door garage in November of 1980.
With the cost of maintain the 1963 Ford Air Truck becoming to much, the company replaced it in 1985 with a C-60 Series GMC chassis with a Marion Body. The larger truck, with more compartment space and a bigger cascade system would be better used at fire scenes. The 1957 American LaFrance was replaced in 1990 after 22 years of service with a 1990 E-One Ford Pumper. With a 1250 GPM pump and a 500 gallon booster tank, it quickly became the truck of choice for quick attacks in North Irwin Borough.
In the early 1990's the bowling lanes became popular with children as the lanes upgraded to Cosmic Bowling. This proved a great fundraising tool for the fire company. In 1995 a new international chassis was purchased to replaced the wore down GMC chassis on the air truck.
In 1995 the Borough's Centennial Celebration occurred during the week of June 4th thru June 10th. The Westmoreland County 60th Annual Convention was held in conjunction with the celebration. Activities included a fireman's parade, week long fair, water battle, and a fireman's picnic at Oak Hollow Park during parade line up.
In December of 1997 the company shipped out the 1977 Mack Pumper to be refurbished. This refurbishment included a new automatic transmission, and a larger body for more compartment space. After 120 days, the truck returned to the garage to take its place as the first out engine.
In 1998 as part of the Westmoreland County EMS Council's project, the company received and placed into service an Automatic External Defibrillator. Improving, once again, the quality of Emergency Service the company provides to the Borough residents.
In 2000, ever-growing technology brought on the acquisition of the thermal imaging camera.
In 2002, a new addition on to the existing garage provided the department with more room to house equipment and apparatus. In 2003, the planned remodeling of the Social club was initiated and completed shortly after commencing of the remodeling process.