Sadsburyville Fire Company No. 1

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History of the Sadsburyville Fire Company, Organized 100 Years Ago
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By Fire Chief Adam Grossman
March 15, 2018

The Sadsburyville Fire Company was organized on March 15th, 1918, during the troubled days of the First World War. It has every right to call itself “Company No. 1” because it was the first fire company in Chester County, and perhaps in the state of Pennsylvania, to be organized in a small rural village.

Two disastrous fires early in 1918, one of which could have destroyed much of the town had it not been for the Parkesburg and Coatesville Fire Departments, alerted the residents that the need for some form of local fire protection. A Meeting of the leading residents of the village was held on March 15th at the home of Norman G. Martin at which time $300.00 was raised and a decision made to proceed with the organization of a fire company.

At another meeting at the home of Mr. Martin on March 26th, a permanent organization was effected with John C. Schober as President; Ivan S. Morris as Secretary and Harry J. Marsh as Treasurer. At the same time it was decided to purchase a 1923 Ford Model-T chemical fire engine consisting of two 35 gallon chemical tanks on a two-wheel cart to cost approximately $425.00. At a later meeting arrangements were made to house the new apparatus in Mr. Schober’s Barn.

At a meeting held at the Sadsbury Grange Hall on May 7, 1918, a constitution and by-laws were adopted for the Sadsburyville Fire Company No. 1. They provided that anyone over 16 years of age was eligible for membership and dues were fixed at 50 cents a year for male members and 25 cents a year for female members. Wilson E. Toland was elected Vice-President, Wade H. Berry, Fire Chief and Frank C. Johnson Assistant Chief.

The new engine arrived in early September and it was formally housed in the Schober barn with appropriate ceremonies. Fire drills were started at once to teach the members of the company how to use the new machine. A fire alarm consisting of a large round iron gong was set up on the lot at the southeast corner of Lincoln Highway and Wilmington Road. Unfortunately the gong sounded, and the company was called out to a fire at the home of Mrs. Margarette Rice before the training drills were completed.

The President of the company, Mr. Schober, attempted to recharge a chemical tank without first relieving the pressure of the former charge, with the result that his eyebrows were singed and his derby hat was blown twenty feet up in the air. The experience gained of improper operations of the chemical tank, but also demonstrated that some other means of transporting the engine on long distance was desirable.

During the next few years the company continued its pioneer development. The transportation problem was solved by hooking the apparatus to Chief Beery’s automobile for long distance runs. The fire alarm system was improved by placing a telephone in Chief Berry’s bed room. The lady members of the company made themselves very useful at regular meetings of the company, and sending cards and flowers to the sick. Within less then a year the company had 153 active members.

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Sadsburyville Fire
Company No. 1
P.O. Box 72
Sadsburyville, PA 19369

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Station 31: (610) 857-9332
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