Fire Company History

                             About the Name "Lingohocken"

The village of Wycombe where the main station is located was built in the 1890's when the railroad came through. The founders wanted to name it "Lingohocken" which was the Lenni Lenape Indian name for the area. It meant "pleasant land" which was quite apt, but the post office would not allow it since there was a Wingohocking station in Philadelphia, about 30 miles away and they sounded too much alike. So the founders chose  Wycombe instead. When the fire company was formed in 1913, they kept the Lenni Lenape name of "Lingohocken" which at the time was also the name of a farm owned by one of the founders.

 

                   Building Their Own Firehouse

               (Reprinted from the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine May 28, 1950)

One day last winter, the volunteer Lingohocken Fire Company No.1 at Wycombe, Bucks County, found itself in a situation more troublesome than a three- alarm blaze. Its 35 members and three pieces of firefighting apparatus had been evicted from their firehouse. Now, instead of saving a building, the company had to erect one.

But a new firehouse would cost $25,000, and the company had only $8,000. "Lingohocken", J. Edward Samsel, president of the company, had said means "pleasant land" in the language of the Lenni Lenape Indians, who used to live around here. "It won't be too pleasant if we have to fold up and have no fire protection. Something must be done - in a hurry." Since then, many things have been done - and swiftly. Wycombe's new firehouse is in the final stages of construction. The 250 residnets of the area are building it themselves.They are building it of materials obtained at cost or less - and with their own equipment. Though the building represents an outlay of $8,000, its actual money value is thrice that.

"Thousands of Manhours"

"But we don't think of it in terms of cash value," says Samsel. "We say it is worth thousands of manhours freely given by the residents." Each Saturday and Sunday since April 1, dozens of men and women have worked on the building - excavating, sawing, nailing, hammering, painting. During the week, masons have laid the cinder blocks that makeup the walls, assisted by a different pair of volunteer workers every day. In some capacity, nearly everyone in the area has gotten into the act. The end product is a 73-by-42 foot structure, containing a 59-by42 foot engine room, a 19-by-17 foot kitchen, and reception, storage and heater rooms. "the biggest little firehouse in Bucks County," Wycombites say.

Company 35 years Old

Since its inception 35 years ago, the Lingohocken Company had made its headquarters in a building on the lumberyard property of Albert J. Thompson, a founder. From there it had fought fires within a seven-mile radius of Wycombe, going farther afield now and then to assist fire companies in nearby Doylestown and Newtown. Thompson died a few years ago. When his estate was settled recently, the lumber yard was sold. That was when Lingohocken's troubles began. The new owner of the yard declined to rent the old firehouse building to the company for a nominal fee. "There we were," says Samsel, "with three fire trucks, 35 men - and no home."

The firemen had $6,000 in their treasury. The women's auxiliary had $2,000 - proceeds from chicken suppers, cake sales and parties. Then William L. Fleming, former president of the company went to work. The owner of a machine shop awarded the Navy "E" for production of aircraft rudder hinges during the war, he revised and simplified the building plans. "If we can get the materials at cost, and do the construction work ourselves," he said, "we can build a $25,000 firehouse for $8,000." At first Fleming's estimate seemed overly optimistic. Even without labor costs, the $8,000 wouldn't pay for the project. Fleming was appointed building supervisor. Allan Thompson, who succeeded his father as treasurer of the company on his return from World War II, was named assistant. With April 1 set as the date for the beginning of construction, Fleming and Thompson approached manufacturers and distributors of materials.

Other Contributors

A planning mill in Doylestown agreed to supply the bulk of building materials at cost. An oil company, desiring to begin operations in the Wycombe area, volunteered through its Newtown distributor, to supply an oil heating plant and labor to install it. A Lancaster door manufacturer authorized its Trenton agency to install overhead doors at cost as a practical advertisement. Harry Price, a Wycombe builder, agreed to put in the foundation footings. Other local firms supplied sand, stone and concrete. Still others provided trucks. When construction began, practically the entire community turned out to help. It has been helping ever since. When the fire whistle blows on Saturday and Sunday mornings, everybody heads for the new building, where construction foreman Howard Reed, a Wycombe carpenter, sets up work schedules. Women in overalls paint window frames. Fire Chief Alfred Ervin and Linford Fleming, Assistant Chief, take charge of the roofing detail. Members of the auxiliary serve coffee, sandwiches and homemade pies.

During the weeks of wall building, Joey Bradfield and William Graham, Pineville masons, laid the blocks. Each section of the Wycombe "fire district" was charged with providing the masons with assistants - two a day. One week, Thomas Marshall, a Pineville farmer, set out to supply his district's quota of 12 workers. He made only 14 phone calls to get a dozen.

One Gets Up at 3 A.M. 

One of the volunteers, William E. Smith, had to get up a 3 A.M. to do his farm chores before reporting to the firehouse. "I'd be mighty unhappy if our place caught on fire at 3 A.M. and the firemen wouldn't get up," he remarked. Some men who couldn't work themselves supplied wages to hire substitutes. A landscaper, unable to get time off to work at the firehouse, told his boss about the project. So the firehouse plot will be landscaped free. The cornerstone of the firehouse was laid April 15. The lone surviving founder of the company, 82-year-old Edward Kirk, helped begin a new era by adding a bit of mortar.

Wycombe is proud of its new firehouse. But it is proudest of the two signs erected in front of the building. On them appear the names of firms which have contributed materials and individuals who have worked to create a monument to community spirit. "We figured one sign would be sufficient" says George Trivellini, who letters the names. "But it wasn't. Everybody is doing something."

 

 

  YEAR BY YEAR HISTORY OF THE COMPANY

 

1913-1922

In the beginning…

In the early 1900’s, Wrightstown Township was a farming community made up by a number of villages.  Wycombe was one of those villages, with a school, railroad station and electric trolley, lumber and coal yard, shops, homes, a newspaper known as the Wycombe Herald and its own Bell Telephone office.  Given the area’s burgeoning activity and commerce, the businessmen, residents and farmers saw the need and initiated the organization of a volunteer fire company.  Prior to that, Doylestown and Newtown responded calls to Wrightstown.

 

The community was firmly in support of the new fire company and began raising money through various means, including a dance that was held in Pineville, PA

 

By mid-November the Constitution and By-Laws were adopted.  The By-Laws as written in 1913 were discriminatory and reflective of the times.  Later By-Laws dropped the “white male” requirement to “any person” and in the 1930’s the Company elected its first female firefighter, Alberta Sickle “Bert” Murray and Chris Quarrels became the first African American firefighter in the early 1960’s.

 

Fire in 1913 often resulted in total loss of buildings, through houses could more often be saved than barns.  But a new era in fire fighting was beginning – the horse drawn machines were being replace by motorized equipment.

 

August 6, 1913 at Thompson’s Hotel (now the Wycombe Publick House) Mr. O. Meyer, Jr. of Southampton and the Bucks Co. Firemen’s Association, offered to sell the company a second hand, horse drawn chemical apparatus for $600.  His offer was declined and the community raised $1,100 in pledges by November to go towards the purchase of a new fire truck.

 

The company ordered a custom built Buick chemical truck equipped with hoses, brass nozzles and chemical tanks for $1,928.50!  The Buick truck was delivered in mid-December and in January 1914 the company ordered 10 buckets, a spare tire and one extra air tank.  The Buick responded to 19 alarms in its first year of service.

 

The fire company rented space for its equipment from Albert Thompson at his lumber yard at the corner of Township Line Road and Mill Creek in Wycombe from 1913-1950. Initially the rent was $100 per year.  The building was remodeled and known as The Fireman’s Hall.

 

In June of 1915 the company had the first meeting in the new Fireman’s Hall and celebrated by smoking 100 cigars!  That month, the company also took part in the Bucks County Fireman’s Association Parade in Newtown and 30 men were in line.

 

Sounding the Alarm…

The first Chiefs were Thomas Slack 1913-1919 and Asa Cadwallader 1920-1943.  The President was Charles Woodmansee and he served from 1913-1915 and was followed by Edward Slack 1916-1919.

 

One of the greatest challenges facing the first leaders of the fire company was simply getting the word out that there was a fire.  So, in February 1915 a telephone was installed in Chief Slack’s home to receive fire calls.  There was no siren in those days, so the chief’s wife would call other firemen’s homes and alert them when there was a fire and those families would call others.  For more than 20 years, telephone bills rarely exceeded $3.50 per month.

 

In 1918 the Reading Railroad offered a 635 pound iron railroad wheel for $13.18 as an alerting device.  Including shipping the cost came to just over $28.  Upon receipt of an alarm, the secretary at Thompson’s, would use a large hammer to ring the alarm.  The wheel still hangs in front of the firehouse in Wycombe today.

 

Community support…

As a volunteer organization, raising money to keep the company operating has been a challenge from the very beginning.  For many years the fire company was funded by “contributing members” who paid dues of $2 per year and often when citizens sent a contribution for service the Fire Company had performed for them, it was $10.00.

 

There has always been a tradition at the Lingohocken Fire Company of using the contributions from the community wisely and responsibly.  For example, in 1918, the firefighters bought a pool table, but the members were quick to point out that no fire company funds were used for the purchase.  In addition, the conduct of the firefighters when using the pool table was a concern as it reflected in the minutes: “The Company was to suppress all unnecessary noise, profane language and improper conduct.”

 

In addition to the pool, firefighters at the time (and some still today) did enjoy their cigars as evidenced by the April 1921 meeting minutes, “200 cigars were purchased for $14 and all were smoked.”

 

The firehouse quickly became the social center of the community, hosting many dances, suppers and concerts.  As a matter of fact, two of the firefighters were accomplished violinists and would often entertain the members.

 

Soon, the firehouse was not large enough for the annual meeting and supper; so the Baptist Church was used to hose the more than 280 attendees.  Of course, feeding all of these guests was not cheap and the total cost of the dinner in 1921 was $45.83.

 

As the first decade of the Lingohocken Fire Company was drawing to a close, it was determined that it was time to start looking for a new fire engine.  So, in 1922, the company began the process of looking for a new truck that they could purchase as soon as the funds became available.

 

1923-1932

 

Welcome Juniors…

The Junior  Firefighter program is an important was for the youth in the community to learn about the emergency services, understand the importance of volunteering, gain valuable skills in firefighting, recue and first aid and provide much needed support to the fire company.  In 1923 the Lingohocken Fire Company launched their Junior Firefighting program when they brought on 16-18 year olds to join its ranks.  Today the Juniors are able to start their service at age 14 and receive much of the same training as the adult firefighters.  Of course, they are kept out of harm’s way during a call, but they still provide much needed and greatly appreciated assistance.

 

The Hahn…

The company had been raising funds for the purchase of the combination pumper/chemical engine and in 1924, there was a demonstration of the apparatus, a Hahn model HFD.  After raising most of the funds, Walter Sickle loaned the company $500 to compete the purchase of the new 1924 Hahn HFD pumper.  The truck was delivered in 6 weeks after being ordered.

 

The old chemical truck was refurbished by William Fleming at a cost of $225.50 and continued to be used.  For the winter, it was stored at Flemings Garage on Mill Creek Road in Wycombe, for $2.50 a week.

 

In March 1926, the company purchased windshields for each engine.  This was a huge help to the drivers, who in bad weather had previously dealt with rain, sleet or snow blowing into their faces as they drove to fires.

 

In 1925 a barn was lost to fire.  Lingohocken was assisted by Newtown Fire Association.  In 1926 there was a 50 cent fine for officers not responding to calls.  It was voted to rent space at Thompson’s Lumber Yard for a meeting room and both engines for $250 per year.  (A Hahn and a Model T that had the Buick body.)

 

Let us entertain you…

Entertainment became a very important part of both the fire house’s social life as well as a fund raising tool.  There was often singing at the Fire Company meetings, both group and solo, and in 1925 the fire company performed a musical comedy at The Pineville Hall as a fire company benefit.  Thirty-five cent tickets yielded a profit of $211.50.  This was celebrated with cake, ice cream and soft drinks and also with speakers and a glee club to entertain 200 members and friends.

 

The minutes show that in January 1926 the Doylestown Glee Club presented a program and a sauerkraut supper was served.  The Annual Spring Smoker was held in May 1926.  There was musical entertainment, coffee, cake and ice cream for the 100 people attending.  That fall, card parties were started as fund raisers.

 

In June 1927, 150 cigars were purchased for the Annual Meeting for $4.50, in addition to 10 lb of cheese, 5 lb of butter, 35 dozen rolls and 150 pickles, total cost $22.57.  The sale of cakes and entertainment brought in additional income.

 

At the 1928 Annual Meeting “there was entertainment with singing and recitations.  There were eats, drinks and smokes!”  In April 1929 the card parties were doing well and a cake walk profited $242.80.

 

In 1931, the company began to think about holding a carnival and forming a Ladies Auxiliary.  The carnival was held August 19-22, 1931 and cleared about $1,500.  The official carnival and entertainment committee was appointed.

 

Looking to the future…

As the company approached its 20th year of service, the members began to look towards the future and set in motion projects that survive to this day.

 

In 1931, The Relief Association was formed.  This is a separate membership body that is designed to cover insurance, purchase safety equipment, sends firefighters to conferences and training and offers other critical support to the fire house.

 

A committee was formed to look into the purchase of an electric siren to replace the railroad gong that had been used for many years to alert the members.  Lloyd Crouthamel gave a talk about the electric sirens, their installation and operation.  The price of a 3 hp siren would be $315 and $425 for a 5 hp.  Although the project deemed worthy, it was placed on hold because it was too expensive.

 

Finally, in March 1932 the company began looking at sites for a Fire Hall of its own.  The estimated cost of building one was about $7,500.  It would be several years before this project was completed as well, but the wheels were in motion.

 

1933-1942

 

Barns…

In February 1933 the Company saved a barn from fire, (1 cow was burned along with two horse collars) but barn fires were easily one of the biggest issues facing the Lingohocken Fire Company.  So much so that in April of  1933, the insurance companies were considering not insuring farms due to the large number of barn fires and farmers were urged to provide a means of fire protection.

 

Especially during the summer months, barn fires were common and were caused primarily by lightning strikes or spontaneous combustion as hay was being cut and stored.

 

In a barn fire in August 1934 the company saved a car, tractor, cows and horses but the farmer lost 200 chickens, 4 pigs, and 25 rabbits.  In September that same year a barn burned and the farmer lost crops, machinery, chickens, horses and cows.

 

This trend continued, but then there were some successes (or lucky breaks) in 1941.  In one instance a heater exploded in a hot water tank.  Luckily, when the tank exploded the water inside put out the fire.  In addition it was reported that “Numerous field fires threatened barns, unsuccessfully” and in July “a barn was struck by lightning and it was saved by two buckets of water.”

 

Tragedy…

Sadly, 1941 also saw tragedy when the worst fire in the company’s history came early in the morning of August 10th that year.  Five children 2-11 died in a house fire on Route 413 near Route 232.  The fire started in an oil stove in the kitchen area in the 150 year old home that was previously used as a toll house.  This was known as the Love fire.  Mrs. Love survived but was treated at Doylestown Hospital for severe lacerations from broken glass.  Mr. Love survived and carried another child, Hardy, to safety down a blazing staircase.  The Lingohocken firemen were assisted by Newtown, Midway and Richboro Fire Companies but the lack of breathing apparatus at the time made recue all but impossible.  Firefighter Ed Samsel was so affected by this tragedy that he took on a project of investigating the purchase and use of air tanks by the fire fighters.

 

Odds and ends…

In 1934 the company hosted a pinochle tournament with 22 teams as a fund raiser.

 

In 1936 the company purchased 6 cuspidors!  (This is a nice way to say Spittoon)

 

In 1938, Mrs. German saved her home on 413 across from the Anchor Inn (now CVS) with a garden hose.  In October students were making a map detailing water supply, streams and farms in the Buckmanville area.  The Company voted to buy a Model A truck for approximately $3300 and first aid kits were donated by the Ladies Auxiliary in June 1938.

 

And finally in 1938, the railroad gong (see photo below) was retired and the new electric siren (which is still in use today) was hooked up and ready to go.

 

The eve of war…

With the threat of war looming, First Aid classes were held in the Fire Hall  Monday afternoons and evenings in support of the war effort and the siren was to be used for an air raid warning and Bill Platt was authorized to “investigate” gas masks.  There was also a Township Council for Defense that wanted to have the pool table removed for the duration of the war.  (Why, I have no idea!)  The Treasurer was directed to put 50% of the Treasury in War Bonds and the Relief Association also put funds into War Bonds.

 

1943-1952

 

Changes…

The third decade of Lingohocken’s existence brought many changes.  Warren Cadwallader and William Sickle left to join the Army.  Asa Cadwallader moved from the area and resigned as Chief and Harold DeCoursey was elected chief to replace him.  Because of gas rationing during the war, there was an emerging concern about having enough fuel for the pumper.  Ray Bassett and George Betts also went into the Army, further depleting the number of available volunteer fire fighters.

 

In February 1944 the Red Cross began working in the fire hall Monday afternoons and evenings.

 

In spring of 1945, founding member Albert Thompson passed away.  A few months later, in July, Bill Varcoe showed the first blue prints for a new fire house.  In November, William Fleming proposed a series of meetings to give the active members a better knowledge of their duties and awards of $25 war bonds to the best hoseman and engineer were given and they were called the Linford Fleming Efficiency Award.

 

From the meeting minutes in July 1946 there are notes that members were “to refrain from profanity directed towards persons hampering the apparatus.”  There was a plan for a county fire school to be conducted in the fall.  Turnout gear was ordered for all active firefighters and on Monday, November 10th the first class of 18 attended the county fire school.

 

In September 1947 the company approved $3,000 of government bonds as a nucleus for a building fund, the purchase of a television for the firehouse was defeated and a gavel made of old walnut was presented by Dr. Linford Roberts and is still used for meetings today.

 

A yearly tradition…

In December 1949 the Company was asked to be on hand at the Candlelight Carol Sing at Wrightstown Friends Meeting, (a service Lingohocken still provides to this day) due to the fire concerns given the many candles used in the meetinghouse.  In those days before the Company had radio dispatching, the Fire Chief waited by the phone in a home across the road in case of a fire call.  Well, as the final carol was being sung, the Chief burst thru the Meeting House door and in his excitement announced that “the #@$%* Pineville School’s on fire!”  He was so embarrassed he never came back to the carol sing again.

 

A new home…

In 1948, plans for a new firehouse were coming along calling for a 60’ x 40’ x 10’ building.  At a special meeting the specifications for the building were changed to 35’ x 60’ x 15’ and by August 1949 the plans were approved.  The lowest cost bid was $17,000 and the Company had placed a budget limit of $12,000 and worst yet, had only $8,000 in the bank.  But plans needed to move forward and the Sickel lot at the corner of Washington Ave. was chosen for the fire house.

 

With the leadership of company president J. Edward Samsel and former president William L. Fleming, the 35 firemen and many other members of the community pitched in and donated thousands of man-hours to build the new station from the ground up.  (See “Building Their Own Firehouse” for a detailed account from the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, May 28, 1950)

 

The building was dedicated September 16, 1950 and the final product still stands today as a proud testament of leadership and community spirit.

 

1953-1962

 

Safety First…

In the “early days” becoming a firefighter was not difficult.  You signed up and new members were voted into active duty right away.  Exactly what training they got isn’t clear, but it is safe to assume that there was lots of “on the job” learning.

 

In February 1953 Chief Landes began standardizing training and upgrading equipment when he issued regulations for drivers and initiated plans for each member to have a training course.  He also wanted jackets with the fire company name on the back and in 1954 the Company voted to purchase two Scott Air packs and two spare air bottles.

 

Even to this day, one of the most dangerous parts of being a firefighters is simply responding to the calls.  In August of 1954 there was a citizen complaint about reckless driving to fire calls and in 1958, a fireman driving to a fire call rear-ended the first engine.  Following that incident Fire Police Captain Russ Reed was instructed to arrest anybody travelling closer than 500 feet from the engine.  This might seem a bit extreme, but you have to remember that at this time it was standard practice for firefighters to ride on the back of the engines when traveling to a call.  A rear end collision could obviously have devastating consequences.  Now many fire trucks are clearly marked with this notice and firemen no longer ride the back of engines while hanging on for dear life.

 

Technology…
In March of 1953, representatives from the telephone company met with Lingohocken regarding extension phones in homes.  The phone was to be removed from Joe Parker’s place (now the Publick House) and authorized extensions to Ed Samsel’s and Jack Green’s houses.  In 1958, the phone in the radio room was changed from a party line to a private line and around 1960 an answering service was hired and would trip the siren.  The first person to the firehouse would call the service and get the address of the emergency.

 

In 1955 the Company planned to buy radios for the trucks and in December a Federal grant was approved that covered 50% of the cost of the new radios ($3,600).  Lingohocken joined Bucks County Fire Police Association and the Bucks Co. Fire Communications system and was issued a license by the FCC for the radios and base station.  In March the radio antenna was under construction and a radio room was to be built of white bricks.  In 1956 Bucks County radio began operating in emergencies.

 

Odds & Ends…

 

In 1954:

The Fire Company asked the township supervisors to put up signs naming the roads.  More roads were being built as the community grew.  Wrenwood and Anchor Estates were built around this time and it was essential that the fire fighters could locate and an address quickly and easily in an emergency.

 

In May, “We got rid of the piano”.

 

In 1955:

The Company tried to limit the Wrightstown Civic Association’s use of the fire company hall by ruling there would be no rowdiness.  In an effort to be neutral, the Company noted that the views expressed at the Civic Association meetings were not necessarily the views of the Fire Company.

 

In 1956:

Meeting minutes noted that “Little interest was shown in a bowling team; so it was dropped” and members were “Questioning whether square dances were for business or pleasure”.

 

In October there was a call for a lady locked in her bathroom (The chivalrous firefighter who was first up the ladder would not allow any others to climb).

 

In 1957:

The Company purchased an Addressograph for the fund drive.  A work detail was held to stuff fund drive envelopes.  (A tradition that continues to this day).

 

There was a Miss Lingohocken contest won by Nancy Gorski.

 

The Chief’s report of October: 1 fire, 1 call from State Police to help clear the road of an overturned load of tomatoes.

 

1958:

In response to the anxieties of the times, some members attended training on radioactive fallout and a Geiger counter was placed in Truck #1.

 

Firemen assisted police over Halloween, patrolling for mischief makers.

 

1960:

The Communications Committee was trying to arrange a demonstration of home warning alarm systems (fire detectors).

 

 

 

 

 

1963-1972

 

Celebration 50 years…

The 50th anniversary included a parade, open house, a water rocket contest (see photo below), firefighting demonstration, and a ceremony honoring former officers and surviving charter members.  There were fire truck rides and moves for children.

 

There had been many changes over the past 50 years and the Lingohocken Fire Company was growing to meet the demands of an expanding community.  From the years 1913-1950, the company averaged about 25 calls per year.  In 1963 the company had 75 calls including: 24 dwellings, 3 barns, 1 garage, 32 fields, 9 woods, 4 cars, 2 chimneys, 2 transformers, 2 balers and 1 rescue.

 

One fire of note was the Perry barn fire in Rushland.  Initially the family thought a litter of puppies was lost in the blaze, but in turning over the smoldering hay, firefighter Cloyce Almonrode found the puppies, alive, but damp and smoky.

 

One day in April 1963 the company responded to 15 fires on the same day – mostly grass fires along the railroad tracks caused by a diesel engine traveling from New Hope to Hatboro.  There were 22 fires for the month!  This caused the company to begin a serious discussion about the purchase of a field truck – something with a higher chassis that could be driven off road.

 

In addition to fighting many fires, Fire Prevention programs were presented at Wrightstown and Woodhill elementary schools and the Bucks County Medical Society used the fire house for polio vaccination clinic.

 

The Brotherhood…

The brotherhood aspect of firefighting is real.  The members work with one another closely fighting fires and responding to other emergencies as a team.  They also celebrate and honor each other as well as help each other when in need.  The company minutes in the early 1960s not that the “meeting ended with a pantry shelf shower for Fran Gorski and Olive Mae Steele who were getting married a few days later.”  More recently one fire fighter who was a crop farmer was very sick with Lyme disease, just as his crops should be going into the ground.  Some of his fellow fire fighters went and helped plant his fields for him.  The ability to always count on your brother fire fighter, on and off the fire ground, is a tradition as old as the fire service itself.

 

1973-Present

 

The recent history of the Lingohocken Fire Company in many ways mirrors its early history.  The company is still made up of dedicated, highly trained volunteers who give countless hours to service their community.  It has also continued to change and grow to meet the needs of an ever burgeoning population.

 

In 1973 the Junior Firefighting program saw the members organize themselves based on the model of the adult fire fighters.  They elected officers, planned fund raising activities and scheduled special drills.  The money they raised went to purchasing a new air hammer that they donated to the company.

 

In 1979 the company began plans to expand the station to accommodate the newer, larger trucks.

 

In 1992 a group of firefighters took the First Responder medical course in order to supplement the response by the ambulances, since the firefighters were often first on the scene of an emergency.  Several of the members went on to earn the EMT rating.

 

Under the leadership of Chief John Bailey from 1990-2001, the company was trained in vehicle rescue, confined space rescue and trench rescue, skill that the company is often called upon to use.

 

In 1998, when PennDOT closed Wycombe Bridge on Forest Grove Rd., response time for trucks to locations north of the bridge increased by as much as 10 minutes.  Deeming this unacceptable, the leadership purchased a building in Forest Grove and opened Lingohocken’s substation.  Station 95 remains an active and vital part of the company’s service.

 

A high point for the company came in 2010 when, under the leadership of Chief Greg Jakubowski, it received a rating of 6 for Wrightstown Township by the Insurance Services Organization, making Lingohocken one of only a few fire companies in the region without a public water supply to receive that rating.  This recognition has meant lower fire insurance rates for the communities the company serves.

 

In 2012, to upgrade its capabilities to provide safety training for the community, the company received a high-tech Bullex Fire and Weather Safety Training Trailer, which is the first of its kind in the region.  It is able to teach recognizing fire hazards and 2 means of escape, how to handle kitchen/stove fires, and weather watches/warnings including what it feels like to be in a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or a flood situation.  The trailer was paid for completely by memorial funds and community donations, and in the first 6 months it was in service, trained 2000 children and adults.

 

It is almost staggering to consider the technological advancements that have been seen over the years.  For example, rubber raincoats have been traded in for thermally insulated bunker gear.  Air packs now allow firefighters to enter a smoke filled building while protecting their lungs from heat, smoke and toxic fumes.  Thermal imaging cameras can be used to locate victims in smoke filled rooms or pinpoint hazards, even behind walls.  Hydraulic extrication tools and air lift bags enable firefighters to much more quickly remove trapped victims at accident scenes.

 

For the past 100 years, our community has had residents who have dedicated themselves to volunteer work that is demanding, challenging, and vital.  The members of the Lingohocken Fire Company come from wide-ranging backgrounds but share one common goal.  We have been fortunate to have such a rich history of willing workers, and stand ready to accept more into our ranks.

 

                                                                                                                                -History by George Rowe


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