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Nesquehoning Hose Co. #1

Nesquehoning Hose Co. #1 was organized in 1908 and a substantial firehouse was built in 1911 at the corner of Center and School streets, also known as the "Five Points." They had 50 members, a 1908 Mack truck and a horse-drawn hose reel with 2000 feet of 2 1/2 inch hose. Whistle on locomotives at timber plane was used as town fire alarm. In 1930 they had 200 members, 1 Hahn pumper and hose truck with350 gpm pump, 1200 feet of 2 1/2 inch hose, 1 Hahn hook and ladder and chemical truck, two 60 gal. chemical tanks, 212 ft. of ladders, 800 feet of 2 1/2 inch hose in reverse. Alarm given by siren at firehouse, Gamewell system with9 boxes. In 1995 the fire company acquired a 4 acre lot on East Catawissa St. and built a large picnic grove, with pavilion, cook house, bathrooms and a large band stage. This is where the fire company holds its annual home coming festival. In 1997 the fire company built a new building to house the fire equipment and ambulances.

Fire Chiefs

John McArdle
Bernie Gogal  1975-1992
Jimmy Kishbaugh 1955-1975
Charles Bonner
Smokey Marsden
Edward L. Mulligan l908

The following are newspaper articles about Nesquehoning Hose Co. #1 and fires in Nesquehoning.

April 11-1891 An alarming fire broke out in a block of houses occupied by four families on Railroad Street at about 12:30 o’clock Thursday evening. The fire originated in the back part of the building occupied by Jenkin E. Jenkins. Two members of this family, the father and son, have been confined to the house for some time, the former being ill for many months, and the latter abed on account of injuries received in the mines one-week ago. The father seeing the reflection of the flames aroused the family, who barely escaped with their lives, passing the afflicted through a window, receiving slight burns by so doing. The building is one of the oldest on this street and the handsome new building recently erected by John Verdon was embossed by the flames and though the most daring efforts were made by our gallant fire laddies, it was all in vain. The main object then became to save the adjoining buildings and those on the opposite side of the street, several of which were ablaze at the same time, which somewhat baffled the daring workers. By knocking out the ends of the burning buildings and a goodly force in the bucket brigade, they finally gained a victory and saved a solid square from the vengeance of the greedy flames. The whole town was aroused by the dismal cry of fire and the ringing of the large bell on the M. E. Church. Fortunately it was a perfectly still night, not a breath of air stirring, or the efforts of the bucket brigade would have been jeered at by the scaling flames and the west end of Nesquehoning would have been wrapped in one entire sheet of fire. The large building was occupied by J. E. Jenkins, Martin Fahey, George Moyers and William Jenkins and was the property of the latter, no insurance. The new block had not yet been tenanted and was the property of John Verdon, was insured, possibly to its full value. The tenants of the former building lost most of their furniture and clothing, some escaping with nothing but the scanty clothing hastily thrown on. The scene presented was the most excitable ever witnessed in a small village, several blocks of houses ablaze, mothers carrying little children to neighboring houses, furniture and clothing from all the buildings piled promiscuously in the street, huge red sheets of the raging flames reaching toward the adjoining buildings and the sparks shooting high in to the air presented a frontier aspect which shall long be remembered. At about 4 o’clock in the morning, the fire having abated, we considered the victory was ours and the rest of the village safe. All who had homes left in the square commenced to remove from the street again into their homes and a cordial welcome was extended by kind friends and relatives to those who were unfortunate. Several slight accidents occurred during the blaze, none, however are considered very serious.

August 15-1891 The dismal fire alarm echoed through our village at an early hour on Wednesday evening and for the first in a long time the whole village was assembled in the west part of town. A brisk fire broke out in a kitchen adjoining one of the large blocks in Butler’s old ward, occupied by Hugh Coll. The bucket brigade was on hand with its usual promptness, and after a brief struggle succeeded in subduing the flames, which were rapidly communicating to the adjoining buildings. This is the most dreaded part of town for a fire, as water is scarce and almost two squared away. Tenants should be very cautious.

November 2, l907 Nesquehoning Has a Fire. John Verdon Loses a Double Dwelling. A double dwelling at Nesquehoning owned by John Verdon and occupied on the one side be Trebot Victor and on the other by John Skudochic was burned to the ground at l on Tuesday afternoon. Verdon’s loss is $l,500. The tenants got their household goods out of the building, and will have only such loss as was created by handing. The house was located at the extreme western end of the main street of the town. The fire started at a few minutes past l2 o’clock on the second floor of Victor’s side. In a few moments several hundred Nesquehoningites had gathered but were without fire apparatus. The furniture’s was bustled out in a short time. A bucket brigade kept down the flames as much as possible and did very heroic work in saving the adjoining building, a very fine double dwelling immediately adjoining the burning one on the east.

April 25, l908 The Panther Creek Valley Water Supply Company is planting fireplugs at convenient places along its water main throughout the town.

May 2, l908 The organization of a Fire Company is next in order now that the town has fireplugs and an abundant water supply.

May 23, l908 It is expected that the meeting of citizens to be held tomorrow evening to arrange for the purchase of fire fighting apparatus will be largely attended. Every property owner should try to be on hand.

July 25, l908 The Nesquehoning Citizens Association has bought 500 feet of fire hose and a hose carriage from the Eureka Hose Company of Philadelphia, which are expected to arrive on Saturday.

August l5,l908 Edward L. Mulligan has been chosen chief of the Nesquehoning Hose Company. The company’s new hose has arrived and was tested last Friday. The fireplugs of this town have a terrific force. It required six men to hold the hose so as to direct the stream of water.

July l0, l909 The next great event in Nesquehoning will be a three days’ firemen’s fair and festival, by the Nesquehoning Hose Company, to raise $3,500 with which to build a hose house. The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company has given the site, and the people of the town will do the rest. $3,500 is a big amount, if you don’t say it quick; but Nesquehoning is going to say it quick. Watch for the details. Every one in Carbon County is interested. The Nesquehoning Hose Company is the youngest in the county.

July l7, l909 The Nesquehoning Hose Company proposes to raise money enough to build a hose house and the project is now under full swing. It embraces a three day’s fair and festival, which is to open on Labor Day, September 6, with a grand firemen’s demonstration, to which every fire company and labor organization in Mauch Chunk, Tamaqua and intervening towns will be invited. On that evening there will be a supper and the fair and festival is to follow on the two succeeding evenings. There will be dancing each evening. Two committees of young ladies have been appointed to solicit funds for the hose house. The first consists of Adelle Morgan, Sarah McCaffrey, Lulu Wagner and Mary Halpin. The young lady who collects the largest amount of cast will be given a diamond ring, and the second largest a gold bracelet. The second committee is composed of Cora Washburne, Veronica Bechtel and Susie Ochran. The lady in this committee who collects the largest amount of cash will receive a gold watch, and the next largest a gold locket.

September ll-l909 LABOR DAY AT NESQUEHONING Fire Companies, Societies and Bands Made a Fine Show- Base Ball, Speech-making, Dancing and Other Amusements Made Up a Fine Program-Firemen’s Carnival to Continue Three Days. A happy jostling crowd of over 5,000 people lined the gaily decorated streets of Nesquehoning Monday afternoon at the opening of the big Firemen’s carnival at Marsden Park, by which the Nesquehoning Hose Company, No.1, Carbon county’s "baby" fire company, hopes to raise money enough to build a hose house. The people of the town fairly outdid themselves in the preparations for this event. The decorations are exceptionally fine. There is scarcely a residence that is not profusely decorated, and evidently hundreds of dollars have been spent for flags, bunting, Chinese lanterns and other decorations. The Fairview Hill Drum Corps. of East Mauch Chunk, was the first of the visiting fire companies to arrive. The Lansford Company, with its hook and ladder truck, drawn by a fine pair of grays, and led by the Lansford Band, came next. Others soon followed and by 3:30 the street parade which was to mark the opening of the carnival, was in motion. The Marion Hose Company, of Mauch Chunk, were late in arriving owing to a blockade on the trolley at Mauch Chunk, caused by a mob of over 500 people who were scrambling for seats in cars that were already crowded. The line formed on School Street, alongside of which Marsden Park is located, with its right resting on Center Street and the line extending down School to Catawissa, and west on Catawissa to a point beyond Buss’ Hotel. The route of the parade was west on Center to Holland, down Holland to Catawissa, east to Hazard, up Hazard to Center, west on Center to Marsden Park, and it moved in the following order: M.O. Morgan, Chief Marshall - Ralph Corby, Edward L. Mulligan, Assistant Marshalls.

First Division. Reception committee and speakers in carriages. Mauch Chunk Band - Marion Hose Company, Mauch Chunk - Phoenix Hose Co., Mauch Chunk - Fairview Hill Drum Corps, East Mauch Chunk – Fairview Hill Hose Company, East Mauch Chunk – Onoko Hose Company, East Mauch Chunk – Lansford Fire Company – Coaldale Automobile Hose Co

Second Division. Lansford Band – Hibernian Benevolent Association Nesquehoning – Wm. Maurer Cadets, Nesquehoning - Knights of Pythias, Nesquehoning - P.O.S. of A., Drum Corps, Lansford – P.O.S. of A., Drill Corps, Lansford – P.O.S. of A., Nesquehoning.

Third Division. St.John’s Slavish Society, Nesquehoning – St. Nicholas Slavish Society, Nesquehoning -

St. Mauro Di Galizio Society. Little Italy – Court Sons of Columbus, No. 348, Little Italy.

Fantastic Division. Hacklebernie Darktown Division – Hauto Woman’s Suffragists – Nesquehoning Hose Company No. 1 .

Two carriages appeared in the line. In the first were Michael Mulligan, Alonzo F. Corby, W. R. Watkins and Levi Marsden, and in the second were Dr. W. C. Neumiller and Fire Chief William Brennan, of Lansford. The drilling of the P.O.S. of A. Drill Corps, of Lansford, and of William Maurer’s Cadets, of Nesquehoning were heartily applauded all along the line of the parade. Tony Malaska was marshall of the Slavish Societies, of Little Italy, and Louis Nardozza commanded Court No 348, Sons of Columbus a society of Little Italy not yet one month old, which had nearly 50 men in line and made an excellent appearance. Squire W. R. Watkins was the orator of the day and spoke from the veranda of the George Fisher residence on Center Street. His remarks were often applauded. He first alluded to the significance of Labor Day and asked the people of all classed to honor the labor man and unite with him in making his home safe, comfortable and happy. He next, in behalf of the people of Nesquehoning thanked the officials of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company for the many courtesies their town was receiving from the company, and in conclusion, he urged the people of Nesquehoning to he brave and manly; rely on themselves, not upon others, and not rest content with only a Hose House, but continue in the good work until the town of Nesquehoning occupied the very first rank in the towns of Carbon County.

September l3,l910 The town should have more fire plugs and have them placed at every corner, was evident when the fire broke out in Fabran’s stable Saturday noon, destroying the entire building and contents. John W. Corby while coming from work was the first to see the flames, gave the alarm and by extraordinary efforts, succeeded in rescuing a valuable cow. When the firemen arrived two minutes later they were greatly handicapped, as no fireplug within two blocks could be located. A connection was made at the corner of Railroad St and Griffith’s Lane, over two squares away. After this connection the hose which measured 500 feet was 75 feet short of reaching the fire. The fire laddies did excellent work in saving the adjoining buildings. The matter of placing plugs o n every corner should be attended to at once.

November l l9l0 A BIG BLAZE. Nesquehoning Breaker Damaged by Fire Last Night. Fire of unknown origin was discovered in the engine house connected with the mud or scraper line attached to the Nesquehoning new breaker at 9:30 Friday night doing damage to the extent of $5,000. The fire was observed by employees working at the breaker, but it had made good progress before being detected. An alarm was promptly given and the colliery whistle sounded. Soon hundreds of people rushed to the scene, including all the local Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company officials. In the meantime the breaker employees worked valiantly to suppress the vigorous flames, but were handicapped on account of a lack of hose. Nesquehoning Hose Company was quick to respond and rendered efficient service. There was an abundance of water, but not enough hose and particularly the kind to fit the colliery water main connections. However, the firemen directed their attention and efforts towards preventing the flames from communicating to adjoining property and finally, after a few hours-hard work, succeeded in confining it to the scraper line and eventually extinguishing it. The scraper line was badly damaged and will require several weeks work to repair. In the meantime it will be detached from the breaker and operations continued at the breaker

November 25, l9l0 On Tuesday evening a public meeting of members of the hose company and citizens will be held in the high school auditorium for the purpose of taking definite action on the question of building a hose house. A lot has been purchased, but all that remains to make the company complete is a hose house. It is understood that the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company will contribute a generous sum to this purpose.

1911 The Company had 50 members, a 1908 Mack truck and a horse-drawn hose reel with 2000 feet of 2 ½ inch hose. Whistle on locomotives at timber plane was used as the town fire alarm.

April l4,l9ll Contractors Thomas Bros. have a force of carpenters busily engaged in the frame work for the new Hose Co building

June-30-1911 Thrilling fire at Nesquehoning. Fire occurred in the house of John Hartzal at 11 o’clock last night, resulting in the total destruction of one half of the double block owned by Levi Marsden, and for a time it looked as though the building was doomed to destruction, but the prompt response and energetic work of Nesquehoning recently organized Fire Department prevented what might have been a serious blaze. It was caused by the explosion of a kerosene lamp. Four children were in the upper story at the time and Mrs. Hertzal carried three of them down the stairway with their garments afire. Chas. Richards rescued the fourth child. Mrs. Hartzal’s aged father, who was asleep on a sofa in the kitchen, was rescued by J.W. Norwood. His clothing was afire and he was severely burned on the right leg.

September l7, l912 Hose Company had dance, Music by Kouffman’s orchestra.

September 27,1912 The recent fair and festival held by Nesquehoning Hose Co. No.1 was a decided success, socially and financially, and the company extends its profound thanks to all who assisted in making it the grand success that it was. The following statement was issued by Charles Ronemus, secretary, and Al T. Jenkins, treasurer:

Receipts.
Spinning Wheel..................96.00
Supper and Frankfurters......47.90
Dance...............................74.60
Refreshments...................118.90
Machines.........................121.50
Large Cake.........................6.15
Small Cakes.......................5.20
Umbrella............................6.66
Ice Cream.......................110.20
Candy..............................18.23
Sugar...............................14.25
Private Collections..............48.70
Total..............................$668.29

Expenditures
Orchestra....................26.20
Rex.............................l.35
John W. Corby..............4.0l
William Morgans.............25
Richard Brown..............5.00
C. J. Bechtel.................l.69
Charles Mulhall...........47.40
Richards and Phillips....5.30
Levi Marsden..............22.20
John Griffith................2.25
Machine Hire...............l8.00
Total........................l33.65

Bills outstanding and unpaid, Thomas Brothers and Panther Valley Light Co.

June 7,l913 Our progressive and public spirited hose company has organized a band to be known as Nesquehoning Hose Company No. l Band. It will start with a membership of 25,all having instruments. The first rehearsal will be held Wed. evening. All our citizens are pleased over this enterprise on the part of our hose company and will gladly support the band. Samuel Leslie will be the leader of the new band.

June l4,l9l3 An overheated stove caused a fire in the kitchen of the home of Metro Bench at ll o’clock last night . The kitchen was destroyed but the house was saved by the good work of the Nesquehoning Hose Company who made a quick response.

June l9,l913 The new hook and ladder truck for the local Hose Company has arrived and the fire laddies are proud of the vehicle. It is what they badly needed. The new band is progressing very favorably. They practice every Monday and Wednesday evening. Every body is pleased to hear the strains of the band music.

June 20,l913 Ben Branch, president of the Hose Co., is a delegate to the Four County Firemen’s Association convention at Easton. The band came out last night and serenaded the town. They played very well, making a good impression, and the community greatly appreciated the musical treat by its own town band.

July 5,1916 Dick Edwards and John M. Doak are soliciting funds for the purchase of a chemical engine for the local Hose Company. All know the necessity of this indispensable adjunct of a fire company. In many cases it extinguishes a blaze before the fire fighters arrive on the scene and prevents costly conflagrations. Being for such a worthy purpose it is to be hoped the public will contribute generously.

July 26,1916 The carnival for the benefit of the Hose Company August 15 is eagerly awaited. It will continue for five days. First class attractions have been engaged.

August 15,1916 All citizens are asked to decorate for the firemen’s carnival. Hang out a flag and show the visitors your loyalty and patriotism. Condolence resolutions by the Nesquehoning Hose Company No.1. Whereas it pleased the Almighty Chief of the Universe, on August 9th 1916, to take from our midst by death our late Brother Thomas J. Campbell, who was always interested in our company’s advancement and who always labored valiantly and heroically to place it in the very front rank of the Fire Companies of this neighborhood, therefore be it resolved: That we, its members in its behalf and in behalf of all its members, deeply deplore and regret the severance of the ties which bound us and our departed brother so closely together , both in the common cause of protection to home and in our intercourse with each other socially. That we hereby extend to his bereaved family our sympathy in their affection. That our charted be draped in mourning, that this resolution be published in the public press, and that a copy of it be presented to his widow. Also that this resolution be spread on our minutes and a copy of the same be framed and posted in our assembly room. Edward Ronemus, William Bechtel, Walter Watkins, Committee.

August 16,1916 The firemen’s carnival opened last night and was a huge success. Tonight the feature will be the baby’s parade. All the children will participate. Music by the Boys Band of Seek. The dancing is a feature. Every night there will be complete change of program. The attractions are numerous and up to date. The firemen will appreciate your support. The carnival is for the benefit of a worthy cause, the purchase of a chemical engine for the Hose Company.

August 17,1916 The firemen’s carnival is now in full swing. The interest increases nightly. Last night was the biggest yet. Tonight promises to be a hummer. The band concerts are a feature and the dance a big attraction. Many visitors were present last night but the indications point to a larger number being present tonight. A big firemen’s parade will be held tonight in connection with the firemen’s carnival. Music will be furnished by the Lansford Band, and the band will be accompanied by several hundred people. Last night’s parade was a beauty. It was a baby parade and many of the little ones were all dolled up for the occasion. Charles Bell won first prize. His subject was preparedness interpreted by two little Uncle Sam’s carrying rifles and hauling a cannon attached to the carriage. There were many pretty floats in line.

August 19,1916 The parade last night was a picturesque and a most successful one. The old maids and bachelors were a feature. They wore uniforms as old as the hills. Some were imported from England and Wales a century ago. Master Albert Reabold, of Hacklebernie, was a winner as Charley Chaplin. Music was furnished by the Summit Hill Boys Band. A big parade will be held this evening at 6 o’clock in connection with the Firemen’s Carnival. It will be a combination of all the societies and individuals who have paraded this week. A special feature will be a hunters division. They will be in hunting togs, with guns, dogs, foxes and ground hogs. Every town in the county will be represented. Music will be furnished by the Mahanoy City band.

August 25,1916 In the diamond ring contest for the benefit of the Hose Co., J.M. Doak was a winner over Dick Edwards, the former collecting $910 and the latter $382

October 20,1916 The Hose Company is considering bids on a chemical engine and will shortly award the contract.

October 26,1916 At a meeting of the hose company last night the contract for the furnishing of a combination truck and chemical auto was awarded to N.G.Drumheller, of Lansford, for $4,500 who will furnish a Mack truck within 90 days.

January 27,1917 Hose Co. No. 1 received its combination hose truck and chemical engine last night from the Mack Car Co. It is a beauty and is being admired by everybody. It has all the modern appliances and up to date in every respect and will prove a prompt and formidable factor in the suppression of fires which it is hoped it will never be called upon to extinguish.

February 3,1917 The new chemical engine was tested yesterday on a huge bon fire in the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company stable yard and proved a success. A line of hose was attached to a water plug as a precautionary means. Allie Reese was holding the nozzle the water was turned on and Allie did some impossible acrobatic stunts. It requires three men to handle the nozzle.

February 22,1917 At a meeting of the Hose Co. on Tuesday night the following board of engineers for the new chemical engine was appointed: Lewis Marsden, William Bechtel, Dr. J.H. Behler. They are to have control of the chemical along with the chief engineer. The following chauffeurs were appointed but must qualify before being accepted: John C. and Ralph Corby, Clarence Marsden, Joseph Gover, Ed Meaney, Morris Granger, Barnet Thomas, Ralph Simmons resigned on account of moving to Lehighton. His name will be kept on the books as an honorary member. George Thomas was elected to succeed him. Several of the chosen candidates for the operation of the chemical engine have begun to qualify. All propose to deliver the goods. It is gratifying that there is a sufficient number of them, as in case of fire one of the number at least will be on the job.

March 8,1917 At a meeting of the Hose Co. No.1 on Tuesday night, a check was received to the amount of $500 from E.E. Ludlow, vice president of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company to be applied towards the purchase of the new chemical engine. A vote of thanks was extended Mr. Ludlow for his generosity. The vote was only an outward manifestation of the feelings of the members. Words couldn’t express their appreciation of the big kind act of the donor. They are simply elated. Not only the members of the hose company, but the entire community as well feels the same sense of gratitude to Mr. Ludlow. It has been an inspiration to them to redouble their efforts and energy towards liquidating the debt incurred by the purchase of the chemical engine, which is the town’s greatest asset in the time of peril from fire.

April 1,1918 The Hose Co. Band paraded town today and played triumphant selections in honor of 8 hour day.

September 5, 1922 Disastrous fire lays bakery in ruins at Nesquehoning. At 3:30 a.m. today the citizens of Nesquehoning were awakened by cries of fire and on discovering the location of the conflagration to be the Heffelfinger bakery situated in the Corby building, a part of which has been recently remodeled, to be used as a meat market by William Corby. This part of the building suffered the least from the effects of the fire and water. The bake house is a mass of ruins and was completely gutted by terrific streams of water playing on it from all directions. About the first to discover the fire and give the alarm were the citizens of New Columbus who alarmed the whole town by firing revolver shots. With the hose carriage they possess they hurried to the scene and worked valiantly at the back of the building. Nesquehoning Fire Co. confined their best efforts to the front of the Corby home and willing hands helped to carry furniture and valuables to a place of safety. It is rumored that cooking oil used for frying doughnuts became ignited and started the blaze which gained headway in a surprisingly short time. With the large number of brave fire fighters and the excellent pressure of the water system, it was easily seen that the fire would soon be checked although of a very stubborn nature. Miss Lottie Corby and brother William reside in the home and their nephew Thomas Davis who was just discharged from the Hazleton Hospital yesterday spent the night there. Miss Corby became hysterical and was conveyed to the home of Wesley Norwood across the street. The little fellow was considerably upset and had to be given over to the care of solicitous friends. The Kuntzweiler property to the East of the burning structure was in great danger of taking fire, but the splendid efforts of the fire fighters kept the flames from spreading further. How ever the Methodist Church which towers above the ruined building to the West suffered greatly, the eaves having caught fire from the soaring tongue of flame. So intense was the heat that the leaded portions of the memorial windows melted and ran down the inside of the church proper. It is a blessing that the church is of brick construction else it would have been a prey to the conflagration because of its proximity. Much sympathy is being expressed for the Heffelfinger family who recently purchased the bakery. They came here from Fogelsville a few months ago where they were completely burned out and saved only a sewing machine from the wreckage. What little furniture they now possess was given them by kind neighbors and friends. It is the third fire for a them to have suffered, and the Kuntzweiler family have had the same misfortune. The Heffelfingers have made many warm friends by their square and upright dealing and the sympathy of the entire community goes out to them. They have eight children. Mr. Heffelfinger had but little insurance to cover his portion of the loss but the Corby brothers have considerable insurance to recoup them for the heavy loss they sustained, their loss being estimated at $8,000, and Mr. Heffelfinger’s at $4,000 partially covered by insurance. The bakery was one of the finest in the region. Calls were sent to the American Hotel, Mauch Chunk, for assistance and also to Lansford. Teddy Dermott raced to Nesquehoning in his machine and witnessed the excellent work of the fire fighters with the aid of water and chemicals and deemed outside help unnecessary, and was directed to cancel the call for local aid, which he did. However, the Lansford fire department came on record time and their efforts were deeply appreciated by everybody. This is the second time Lansford has hurried to the aid of Nesquehoning firemen fighting a blaze at the bakery. Hundreds of people were on the scene clad in nightclothes and make shifts. Too much praise cannot be given the firemen, friends and all who assisted in any manner. The Corby furniture had been nearly all carried out and suffered none the least being replaced in the building before the fire apparatus left.

May 5, 1928 C.F. Marsden and Roy Mohrbach have been selected as delegates to represent the Nesquehoning Hose Company at the coming convention of the Four-County Fireman’s Association at Allentown on May 19. The local firemen are also making elaborate preparations for the street carnival to be held on Hose House Square next month.

May 8,1928 Hose Company Gets Demonstration. The Nesquehoning Hose Company, seeking to improve the fire protection of the town, was given a very thorough demonstration of Saturday afternoon of the work that can be accomplished by a triple-combination pumper, hose and chemical truck of 600-gallon capacity and 105-horse power motor. It was sent here for the trial by the Hahn Motor Company, Hamburg under the supervision of these representatives: T.H.Spangler, salesman, and Edward O’Connell, mechanic, John Terry, assistant chief of the American Fire Company, of Lansford, was also present. For the Nesquehoning hosemen, President Charles P. Bonner, Secretary Roy Mohrback and C.E. Marsden conducted affairs very capably. Bill Horn and Ed McGinley Jr. were the hardy hosemen. The terminal points of the tests were the plug located fronting Chas. H. Reese’s on Catawissa St., between Almond and Douglass and High and Douglass, with these results: First test—Using one inch nozzle, plug pressure 120 lbs., 1200 feet of hose-natural pressure at nozzle, 25 pounds, at 155 gallon per minute; pump pressure at nozzle, 74 pounds at 265 gallon per minute; plug pressure at High and Douglass, 41 lbs., ?90 gallons per minute. Second Test – Same points, three fourth inch nozzle-natural pressure 50 lbs., pump pressure, 144 lbs., 2nd test at High and Douglass plug, natural pressure 71 pounds. Third Test—At Reese’s, 100 foot line, one and three-fourth inch nozzle, natural pressure, 44 pounds, 603 gallon per minute; pumper, 83 pound ?50 gallons per minute. Fourth test—At Reese’s, 3 ¾ in. nozzles, 3 lines- pump pressure at nozzle No.1 150 pounds; nozzle No 2 150 pounds; nozzle No 3 161 pounds; total capacity 750 gallons per minute. Fifth Test—At Hauto Storage Plant—Drawing from dam at ten foot lift, 1 ¾ inch nozzle, 76 pounds pressure, 760 gallons per minute. An additional series of tests were arranged to be taken at High and Douglass Sts., but due to the fact that there is but a four-inch main on that thoroughfare, the pumper could not be operated at its full capacity. The apparatus also given a good stiff endurance run over the State Highway towards Lansford.

May 19,1928 A large turn out of the Hose Company accompanied by the High School Boys band left this morning to participate in the fireman’s parade in Allentown.

June 12, 1928 The Nesquehoning Hose Company opens a five-night carnival at the Five Points street intersection fronting the hose house. The affair is being personally conducted by the fire fighters and all the proceeds will be used to good advantage in helping to place the company on a basis where it properly belongs. So make sure to visit the scene of festivity and entertainment and help the good cause along by active and generous participation.

January 9,1929 Fire Destroys Handsome New Parochial School At Nesquehoning –Loss of $75,000.

The handsome and newly built parochial school of the Sacred Heart parish, Nesquehoning, was completely ruined and destroyed by a fire which broke out in the basement of the building about 5 p.m. or an hour after school was dismissed yesterday. The damage is estimated at $75,000 covered by about 60 per cent insurance. When smoke was seen issuing from the basement an alarm was given and Nesquehoning Hose Company promptly responded. Lansford, Summit Hill, Coaldale and Mauch Chunk fire departments also rushed to the scene with their fire fighting apparatus. In a short time powerful streams of water were pouring on the angry, leaping flames, but the fire was a stubborn one and about the time it was being gotten under control, water lessened and handicapped the firemen in their valiant work. Mr. Rhodes, Supt. of the Water Company, directed the turning on the auxiliary reservoir, after which there was an abundance of water, but meanwhile the fire had spent its force. Happening on the coldest day of the season the firemen were subjected to severe physical suffering. As the water poured on the fire it was converted into crystals of ice. Never was such gallant work performed by firemen. Many were overcome by smoke and had to be carried from their activities within the fire raging structure. Lansford department was the only one equipped with masks and employed them to advantage. Fearing the spread of the flames to adjacent buildings water was poured on them as a precautionary measure, but fortunately none became ignited. The school building stood within 30 feet of the Sacred Heart Church on side and the Sisters of Mercy house on the other side. None was affected or damaged. Rev. Joseph L. O’Connor, rector who built the school at great sacrifice in many ways particularly his health, has been ill for some time, and was so affected by the fire as to require medical aid. He was greatly shocked by the visitation of the fire. The school was built only a few years ago. It represented the last letter in a modern school. It was being paid by assessments on the parishioners. There was a large mortgage on it. Like Father O’Connor they made every sacrifice to pay for it and their great loss under the circumstances can be appreciated. Arrangements are being made to provide temporary quarters for the school children. The two firemen who were hurt were Joe Garland, of Coaldale, coach of the Blue Stars Football team, Mauch Chunk and Johnny Black, a Summit Hill fireman. Both fire fighters slipped on icy roods and fell to the ground. James Boyle, Summit Hill, in attempting to leap on the Summit Hill fire company truck, made a misstep and his foot was run over by a wheel and severely injured. Charles Frace, Summit Hill, was injured by a collapsing ladder and his face burnt. The Diligent Hose Co. ambulance, Mauch Chunk, was summoned to the scene of the fire at 6:50 p.m. to assist in a possible emergency, and when William Black, of Summit Hill was injured he was conveyed in the ambulance to a physician’s office. The ambulance was in charge of Messrs. Witherich, Depuy ,Kemmerle, Enzian and Harter. The ambulance was kept on the scene until 9:30 p.m. on orders from Fire Chief Marsden and Dr. McDonald. The ambulance committee wishes to thank the ladies of Nesquehoning who so kindly furnished them with hot water for the ambulance and for various other favors shown. The Marion Hose Co. engine remained on the scene until 10 p.m. It rendered effective service. Today it returned to Nesquehoning for the frozen hose used. The definite cause of the fire is unknown, but it is supposed to be due to crossed or defective wiring. Investigation by Nesquehoning firemen today indicated that the fire started near a fuse. Residents claim to have seen electric lights flicker when the fire started.

January 11,1929 A largely attended meeting of citizens of Nesquehoning was held last night for the purpose of better equipping its fire department. The outgrowth of the disastrous fire at the Sacred Heart parochial school. It was decided to assess every citizen $1 per month and arrangements will be made to have it collected by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. In this way a sum sufficient to purchase the pumper will be realized. It is expected that about $15,000 can be raised. The best the company now has is a chemical engine. The following committee was appointed to arrange for the collections: Patrick Hartneady, Harry J. Steventon, Tim Boyle, Thomas Morgan, and Joseph Watson.

January 25,1929 Nesquehoning Hose Company will hold its annual ball tonight at the High School Auditorium. Music will be furnished by Nick Nickol’s renowned music masters featuring their dreamy waltzes and snappy peppy fox trots. The admission will be 50 cents to all. This is always the feature dance of the season. It attracts lovers of the ferpsickorean from all parts. The fact that Nick Nickols’ music wizards will play will be an extra incentive to an overflow crowd. Along with it being the dance of the season it is for a most worthy cause, the benefit of the Hose Company which is working hard to secure better and more efficient fire fighting apparatus. All roads lead to the Nesquehoning Hose Company dance tonight.

May 21,1929 The Nesquehoning Fire Company committee appointed to inspect fire trucks, has completed its work and will report in favor of a Hahn pumper, chemical and city service truck at a cost of $15,000 at a special meeting to be held Thursday night. It is capable of pumping 750 gallons of water per minute and impressed the committee as being the best of the various apparatus demonstrated.

May 24,1929 Nesquehoning Hose Company ordered a triple combination fire truck from the Hahn Motor Truck Company, Allentown, at its meeting last night. It is to cost $15,000. A carnival will be held to aid in raising the necessary money starting tomorrow and closing on the evening of Memorial Day, May 30. It is proposed also to make improvements to its building. This company has the confidence of the public and will have no difficulty in raising the fund.

June 24,1929 Prizewinners at four-county parade. Company with the largest number of men in line, prize $50, won by the Nesquehoning Hose Company No.1, whose accompanying band was the Nesquehoning School Band, a group of fifty five boys and girls.

November 19,1929 Nesquehoning Hose Company has decided to donate its old hose and chemical truck to the New Columbus Hose Company. The Nesquehoning Company has received its new pumperer but the ladder truck hasn’t arrived as yet, but is expected within a week. With this new equipment and the donation of the old apparatus to New Columbus, that section will be well protected against fire.

 

1930 In 1930 the Company had 200 members, 1 Hahn pumper and hose truck with 350 gpm. Pump, 1200 feet of 2 ½ inch hose, 1 Hahn hook and ladder and chemical truck, two 60 gallon chemical tanks, 212 feet of ladders, 800 feet of 2 ½ inch hose in reverse. Alarm given by siren at firehouse, Gamewell system with 9 boxes.

December 13,1940 A lumber shed owned by John Cerchiara, contractor, near Nesquehoning high school stadium, was threatened by fire Wednesday night but the blaze was quickly extinguished by Nesquehoning and New Columbus firemen. It is believed that someone threw a lighted cigarette which ignited gasoline stored in the shed. One of the doors in the building apparently forced open, leads to the belief that a thief was on the property and started the fire.

February 6,1941 One of the big social events of the year will be the 13th annual ball of the Nesquehoning Fire Company tomorrow. Nearly a capacity number of tickets have been sold. They were eagerly bought because of the great protection and assistance that the Fire Company has been to the community. Music will be furnished by the orchestra of Billy Jones, which assures inspiring dance music.

April 21,1941 Three homes damaged by fire at Nesquehoning. Miss Catherine E. Corkill, of Allentown, formerly of town is the owner of two homes that were gutted by fire and a third that was damaged in Nesquehoning on Saturday afternoon. The residence of Mrs. Mae Conway on W. Catawissa St. was gutted while the house of John Fegarty was damaged. Another house in the row occupied by John Lewis, was undamaged. A dog in the Conway house was burned to death. The fire started in the Conway residence and spread to the Jones house. No one was home in either at the time. The Nesquehoning and New Columbus fire companies were aided by the Lansford fire company.

January 17, 1949 Officers of the Nesquehoning Hose Company; David Jones, financial secretary; James Kishbaugh, president, and Martin McFadden, Jr., secretary. Charles P. Bonner, fire chief; John K. Morgan and Robert Auge, trustees; Lawrence Lowry, assistant chief, and Thomas Williams, vice-president. Andrew Stockmal, treasurer; John Coniglio, assistant chief.

December 5,1952 Raymond Bonner, Nesquehoning, who is well known locally, last night was nominated president of the Nesquehoning Fire Company. Other nominees are: Peter Mikolayczyk and Harry James, vice-president; Martin McFadden, Jr., recording secretary; David Jones financial secretary; Andrew Stockmal, Treasurer; Charles P. Bonner, fire chief; Joseph Fedorcha, First assistant fire chief; George Lazorchick, second assistant fire chief. Trustees with three to be elected were nominated as follows: George Thomas, John Hager, John Tout, Rodney Grimm and Sylvester Collura. Elections will be conducted at the next meeting of the company. Howard Bond, Sylvester Collura and Rodney Grimm were appointed auditors. Martin McFadden Jr., John Tout and Raymond Bonner were named delegates to the Carbon County Firemen’s Convention.

February 17,1953 The complete interior of the Kaijay Pants Company factory located at 44 W. Catawissa St Nesquehoning was gutted by fire today which had its inception at 2:30 p.m. The complete interior and rear of the building, formerly the Newton Theatre, was ravished by the flames which were still being fought late this afternoon by firemen from Nesquehoning, Lansford, Mauch Chunk and Lehighton. Last to leave the burning building after seeing that all the girls were in safety was Harry Koplin, 67, of Hazleton, proprietor of the mill. Mr. Koplin indicated that the building is partly covered by insurance, and estimated that 10,000 garments consisting of slacks and shorts were consumed by the fire. The building is owned by O. Jim Newton, who occupies an apartment on the second floor of the adjoining property, Threatened with the flames was the Newton Drug Store which is immediately adjoining the factory and three other business places, a novelty shop owned by Mrs. Laura Watkins, a restaurant conducted by Mr. Stevenson and Shutack’s Drug Store. The plant employs approximately 75 female workers. The origin of the blaze is undetermined. It was believed to have started in the rear of the building Charles Bonner, the Nesquehoning Fire Chief, was threatened with injury while fighting the blaze from the roof when his leg crashed through the eave of the structure. Fellow firemen, however, succeeded in freeing him and he sustained no injuries. The new aerial truck of the Lehighton Fire Dept. played a major role in bringing the blaze under control.

July 22,1953 A public meeting of Nesquehoning citizens will be held Thursday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. , it was announced today by Charles Bonner, fire chief, who is a prime mover in the plan to procure new and modern fire fighting equipment in that community through matching funds provided by the federal government’s Civilian Defense program. The Nesquehoning Hose Company is launching a drive to raise $15,000 in matching funds, the government having already allocated $7,500 in matching funds, the government t having already allocated $7,700 toward the procurement of this new and badly-needed equipment. The equipment sought includes one 750-gallon pumper and one fully – equipped rescue truck. If the citizens of the township will recall the afternoon of February 18,1953, when a portion of Nesquehoning was destroyed by fire, they will respond enthusiastically to this plea, Mr. Bonner points out. The equipment needed to combat that blaze in the principal business district of the town was lacking, he adds, pointing out it was necessary to procure it from neighboring towns. The purpose of the July 23 meeting is to stimulate the interest of the township’s residents in the fire department and to encourage an active participation on the part of one and all in this drive for funds to realize a long-standing need. Plans for ways and means of conducting the drive will be discussed at the meeting. All citizens who are interested in the protection of their homes and families, therefore, are urged to attend and lend their assistance to this worthwhile civic project. Serving with Mr. Bonner on the committee are: David Jones, secretary; Andrew Stockmal, Treasurer; George M. Thomas, Martin McFadden, Jr., and John Pathroff.

July 24,1953 Nesquehoning residents will be asked to contribute $1 a month for a one – year period to support the plan to purchase new and modern fire-fighting equipment in that community, it was announced last night by Fire Chief Charles Bonner, chairman of the fund-raising campaign, following a meeting of interested citizens in the Nesquehoning Hose Company headquarters. An estimated $15,000 is needed to procure a 750-gallon pumper and a new rescue truck. The campaign will begin August l. All adults of the community, therefore, will be asked to give the dollar a month. Pledge cards will be prepared and distributed by solicitors, whose names will be released in the very near future. Mr. Bonner announced he would confer with officials of the WMWA, requesting a payroll check-off system in the mining operations. An effort will be made to have other business places in the community work on a similar check-off plan with their employees. Confident that the people of Nesquehoning will support the drive, Mr. Bonner pointed to the progressive strides made by the citizenry in recent years, making Nesquehoning the most progressive community in this area.

August 3, 1953 There will be a meeting of Nesquehoning Hose Co. Equipment Fund Committee at the Nesquehoning Hose Co. tonight at 7 p.m. The town will be divided into sections and canvassing will begin this week. All wage earners are asked to sign a pledge card to pay $1 per month for a period of one year. Nesquehoning now enjoys a low insurance rate and in order to hold it we must keep up our equipment. As you know, fire respects no one; it strikes when least expected. The loss of life and property from fire has been very high this year. So let us get together and put this drive across so the Nesquehoning Hose Co. will be second to none when it comes to a fire fighting Co. Members of the Committee are: Charles P. Bonner, Chairman; David Jones, Secretary; Andrew Stockmal, Treasurer; George M.Thomas, Martin McFadden Jr., John Patroff, George Lazorchick, John Marouchoc, Joseph Zrinsky, Harold Billig, Rodney Grimm, Michael Choley, John Coniglio, William McLaughlin, John Knox Jr., Steve Patroff, John McCann, Raymond Bonner, William Norwood, Robert Taney, Howard Bond, Joseph Tout, John Barachie, Stanley Porambo, John Marczyk,Peter Kopie, Peter Makolajczyk, Erwin Hawk, John Hager, James Kishbaugh, William E. Marsden, Joseph Gazdick, Charles McGorry, Michael Kordilla, Jerome Vaina, Leon Parone, Joseph Sterzen, Michael Guy, Roderick Bliss Jr., Sylvester Collura, Edwin Becker, John Nalesnik, George Mikovich. Also a committee from the Kay J. Pants Factory, Vera Sportswear Factory, and Norann Mfg. Company Dress Factory.

April 21, 1954 A handsome piece of new fire-fighting equipment rolled down the highway from Nesquehoning to Lehighton this afternoon with its destination the Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital in the latter community. The bright, shiny red piece of apparatus is the new $15,000 American LaFrance pumper purchased by the good citizens of Nesquehoning for their volunteer fire company, and was delivered to the community yesterday. Today’s run to Lehighton was more than a "shakedown trip"; it was planned to give a firsthand view of the new vehicle to a Nesquehoning citizen who has been largely responsible for the addition of this modern machine to the volunteer organization’s equipment. That man is Charlie Bonner, popular Township fire chief, who is hospitalized in Lehighton with a broken shoulder blade, fractured ribs and a back injury, all received when he fought the town’s most recent blaze which occurred on the evening of April 12 in St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church. During that fire, Chief Bonner entered the smoke-filled building and in moving about to better fight the blaze tumbled down a flight of steps. His injuries resulted from that fall and he is still a patient at Ganden Huetten, where his condition is steadily improving. Charlie Bonner is a veteran fireman in Nesquehoning and his primary interest in the community had been the safety and welfare of his fellow citizens and their property. Realizing that his firefighting colleagues were unnecessarily operating with obsolete equipment, he spearheaded a drive some months ago, to improve their lot with new and modern equipment, The new pumper is the first tangible result of that drive, completed through the cooperation of the fire company, the Township Board of Supervisors and the citizens of the community who donated generously during the drive for funds. To repay slightly the efforts of Mr. Bonner in his campaign to modernize the equipment of the Nesquehoning department, his colleagues arranged to have the new pumper driven directly to the hospital where he can feast his eyes on his pride and joy. Hospital officials arranged this afternoon to place the Chief in a wheelchair and he was transported through the corridors to the ramp at the hospital entrance where he was given this treat. The firemen then proceeded, with the pumper, to the Parryville Dam where it was scheduled to undergo exhaustive tests to pass the qualifications established by the Board of Fire Underwriters. The new pumper is equipped with a 300-gallon water tank and is capable of pumping 750 gallons of water per minute. Other modern equipment aboard includes foamite containers and wet-water devices. The pumper and a new $9,400 rescue truck which has also been ordered in the modernization program and which will arrive in the near future were purchased under the civil defense program, through which the federal government pays half the cost of new equipment. The balance of the funds was raised through popular subscription among the residents of Nesquehoning. Prior to the acquisition of the new pumper, the company operated with a 25-year-old pumper and an outmoded hook and ladder truck. The pumper arrived yesterday from Long Island City and was driven by Malcolm Egan, a representative of the LaFrance company, who will remain in Nesquehoning several days to acquaint the local firemen with the proper operation of the new piece of equipment. Assisting Chief Bonner in arranging the details of the campaign through which the money for the equipment was raised were Secretary David Jones and Treasurer Andrew Stockmal.

June 23,1984 The Nesquehoning Hose Co. No 1 dedicated a 1983 Mack midliner pumper truck in conjunction with a parade and block party. About 13 fire companies from Schuylkill, Carbon and Lehigh counties were represented at the parade. The new truck, purchased by the borough last August for $91,000, will replace a 1951 LaFrance truck, which was in need or repairs. Taking part in the dedication ceremony were Joseph Gogal and Joseph Fedorcha, the two oldest members of the company, who smashed a bottle of champagne on the bumper of the truck. Nesquehoning Mayor Frank Jacobs, in speaking on the town’s firemen, said he knows of no more dedicated group than the volunteer firemen. He said borough council took the advice of the company members and developed a long-range plan which allowed for the purchase of the truck and for more equipment in the future. Trophies, donated by Fedorcha, were presented to Fire Chief Bernard Gogal and Assistant Fire Chief Michael Kravelk, in appreciation of their services. All fire companies taking part in the parade-received trophies. The parade started from the Nesquehoning Recreation Center, went down Catawissa Street and ended at the Fire Company on Railroad and School Streets. The Rev. Robert Williams, pastor of Zion’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, gave the invocation, and the Rev. John Chizmar, rector of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, gave the benediction. Companies taking part in the parade were Springside Fire Co. of Slatington South Ward and Citizens Fire Co. No.1, both of Tamaqua, American Fire Co. of Lansford, Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Co., Penn Forest Township Volunteer Fire Co., Citizens Fire Co No.1 of Weatherly, Engine Co. No.2 of Lehighton, Tamaqua Rescue Unit, West End Co. No.2 of Palmerton, Hauto Volunteer Fire Co., Diligent Fire Co. No. 1 of Summit Hill, Coaldale Fire Co. No. 1 and its rescue unit, and the Ryan Township Fire Co.

May 15, 1992 Mike Kravelk becomes the borough's first fire commissioner. Bernie Gogal, fire chief since 1975 resigns and John McArdle takes over the position.

 

June 1, 1998 NESQUEHONING FIREFIGHTERS TURN ON THE WATERWORKS
* THE DEDICATION OF NEW FIRE STATION BRINGS TEARS OF JOY FROM VOLUNTEERS AND FAMILIES.


Nesquehoning Hose Company No. 1 dedicated its new fire station Saturday with wailing sirens, flashing lights, a brass band and more than a few tears. The dedication ceremony followed a parade of borough firefighters and fire and rescue vehicles from surrounding municipalities. The marchers were accompanied down Catawissa Street by the smartly turned-out Smyrna (Del.) Fire Company Band.

The ceremony included Nesquehoning Hose Company officials, borough councilmen, Mayor Joseph Staivecki, Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Dave Smith, Carbon County commissioners Charles Getz, John Mogilski and Tom Gerhard, state Rep. Keith McCall, whose 122nd District includes Nesquehoning, and Weatherly lawyer Cindy Ray, assistant to state Sen. James J. Rhoades, who also attended.

Jack Miller was master of ceremonies.

Borough Fire Commissioner Mike Kravelk, overcome by emotion as he spoke of the sacrifices made by families to support volunteer firefighters, especially through the four-year building project, brought the crowd to a standing ovation. Kravelk wept as he spoke of the long hours spent in training, maintaining equipment and fighting fires. "All of this is time-consuming, and our dedicated members and their families have been very understanding," he said. "I know my family has put up with a lot of missed meals and late-night sessions ... and I'm sure that's the rule in all our members' homes. But as I said before, we do what we must do, and we do it well."

State Fire Commissioner Smith also brought tears to a few eyes as he spoke of the day he realized that the everyday people he knew as a 6-year-old were also the volunteer firefighters who saved his life. It was January 1955, and he was on the third floor of an old wooden schoolhouse that caught fire. "The oiled floors, wood wainscoting and the old lathe-and-plaster construction went up like a match," he said. He recalled the owner of a small grocery store, the man who ran a vegetable market, the neighborhood butcher, the owner of the local pub.

"I recognized their names. I saw them in our community," Smith said. "But until that day, I never really realized who they were, because they got all 248 of us out of that building. They came when the siren sounded; they came when we were scared to death. "And that day I realized they were something more important than the guy down the street: They were my heroes."

Nesquehoning's heroes, the men and women who fight fires and carefully planned how to build and pay for their new firehouse, proudly showed off the fruit of their labors. Construction of the $400,000 building, on the east end of Catawissa Street, began in September. The four-bay firehouse includes a 60-foot-by-80-foot engine room and a sizable hall, said fire company President Mark Stromelo.

The company, founded in 1908, borrowed the money. A low-interest state loan provided $100,000, and the rest came from Heritage National Bank.

Members anticipate years of fund-raisers to pay off the loans.

"We'll do whatever it takes," said Fire Chief John P. McArdle, "spaghetti dinners ... lots of spaghetti dinners."

 

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