HRFR HISTORY, Past, Present, and in the Future
History of Huntingdon Fire Depatment
Before any apparatus for extinguishing fires was purchased, the burgesses and Town Council, by ordinance passed Jan. 10, 1801 directed the clerk of the market to procure an expense for four ladders of various lengths and two fire-hooks, and keep the same in the marked house when not in use. The occupant of each house were required to provide, at the expense of the owner, a fire-bucket of the pattern approved by the clerk of the market, to be marked with the letters H. B., for Huntingdon Borough, and at all times to be kept in good order, hanging in the hall or outer room.
In 1804 a fire-engine was built for the borough by Philip Mason, of Philadelphia. It did not bear any distinctive name, but was afterward christened, “The Juniata”. Over the next many years, groups tried to keep a fire company going, including one known as the Juniata No. 1 Fire Company. For the next 20 years, many organizations took care of the equipment and handled fires with anyone that would volunteer. Finally in August 5, 1872 a group of men formed what would now be known as Huntingdon No. 1 Fire Co... A few days later, the organization elected their first officers, George W. Garretson, captain; Samuel G. Whittaker, secretary; J. Simpson Africa, treasurer, and other officers. The members along with the community raised money to buy more equipment, and to repaint the engine. 1872 steam fire-engine was purchased and a property was purchased on Washington St, to be used for the town council for meeting, to house the fire company and the Juniata and later the first engine. Soon after in Jan. 1873 the first steam engine was purchased it is named with Huntingdon No. 1 on it.
The Juniata Fire Company, No. 2, was organized Sept. 2, 1873. The Huntingdon Fire Company No. 2 in October 1880, after a thorough and satisfactory test of a second-class steamer built by the La France Manufacturing Company, was stated at the meeting of the Council, held in November, they expressed a desire for No. 1 to relinquish possession of the Silsby engine and take charge of the new one, An ordinance authorizing the transfer was passed and at the same session the custody of first-named steamer was committed to the Phoenix Company, which became afterward known as the Huntingdon Fire Company No.2. Huntingdon Fire Company No. 2, found a building for the accommodation of the steamer and for meetings of the company was erected on the north side of Thirteenth Street, between Washington and Mifflin. The principal officers for 1883 are: President, Charles Kershaw; Secretary, J. W. King; Financial Secretary, Jesse Goodman; First Engineer, W. H. Cavender. The Independent Hook-and-Ladder Company, No. 1, was organized Oct.' 20, 1873. Their truck and ladders were received about the middle of March, 1874. The company is preserved an unbroken organization, had then about thirty-five members, and was officers as follows: President, George E. Scott, Vice-President, Richard Langdon, Jr.; Treasurer, Lawrence L. Brown; Secretary, J. Stewart Africa.
In later years the Huntingdon No. 1 fire company moved to a building at 607 Mifflin St. and the Hunt. No.2 fire company separated from what is now know as the former Huntingdon Hook & Ladder to a building on Moore St. before being disbanded in the 1980’s. Later in the early 1990’s, the Huntingdon Hook & Ladder would build a new station to house a bigger ladder truck and have more room on a property on Washington St. between 13th & 14th St. The No. 1 Fire Co. and now known as Hook & Ladder Fire Co. worked together for many years and formed the Huntingdon Fire Department. In 2005, Huntingdon No. 1 and Huntingdon Hook & Ladder merged to become know strictly as the Huntingdon Fire Department. Finally in January 2010, Huntingdon Fire Department, along with Oneida Twp. Vol. Fire Co., merged with McConnellstown Vol Fire Co., to now be known as Huntingdon Regional Fire & Rescue.
McConnellstown Vol. Fire Company History
On February 28, 1948, a group of concerned citizens of McConnellstown area met at a now former School house to discuss the need of more fire protection. At the meeting chaired by Fred Parks, the group agreed that the need was great and they should meet again on February 15 for the future discussion and should encourage more persons to attend. At the second meeting the group organized the Fire Company for the area. The first officers were nominated to me elected at the next meeting in March. The first officers were, President David College, VP, Paul Shocker, Secretary, Clarence Garner, Financial Secretary, Raymond Hurley, Treasurer, F. Earl Householder, Chaplin, Lester Leonard, Fire Chief, J. Lawrence Lang, Trustees, M.G. Shocker, Carl Stapleton, Frank Isenberg, Fred Parks, and William Householder. At the April meeting the members directed attorney Merle Heffner to apply for a charter, which was received in June and in July the organization needed a woman’s hand, and assisted in organizing of a Ladies Auxiliary. The first building to fund raise and have meetings was able to happen when the recently disbanded “McConnellstown Band” made available their building, which was a former Church, in need a repair. The gift was accepted and the company’s first project became to repair and remodel the Band Hall. By the end of the first year the company was able finance a fire truck and order from the Food Corp. (FMC) their first apparatus, a John Bean Hi-Pressure Fog Truck, believing this was the best type for rural areas. In 1953 after several false starts, the company finally awarded the building of their first building on a property on the north side of McConnellstown. Thru the years with the help of the community, they were able to purchase another truck, a small panel truck for a Squad, a tanker for additional water, a QRS for assisting in ambulance runs, and finally a brush truck for fighting forest fires. Thru the years the company continued to grow and enlarged the existing building. Finally after several years of talks, the company decided to merger with Oneida Twp. and Huntingdon Fire Dept. to form the now HRFR organization in 2010.
Oneida Township Vol. Fire Company
On or about September 1975, a group of men and women started meeting at the Lion’s Barn on Cold Springs Rd. They wanted to have their own fire equipment that they could response more quickly to fires as the township continued to grow. The following are a listed of some of those charter members: Frank Frew, Jim Frew, Art Wilt, Leroy Hughing, Bill Grove, Dick Howe, Ken Garner, George D. McCool, Terry Cohenour, Sonny Bickle, and Phyllis Watts. Several years after their start, a gift of the land was donated by George Grove, to house a fire station and Oneida Twp. meeting hall. The new hall was built by the Glenny brothers, Frank Frew and others. The first apparatus was a Chevy pumper, which was stored in Ken Garner basement garage until the station was built. In the next few years a Ford tanker was bought and refurbished by members of the fire department. As the years followed, they were able to add a brush truck and eventually a QRS for handling calls in association with Huntingdon Ambulance. Finally in Jan. 2010 along with McConnellstown Vol. Fire Co, they merged with Huntingdon Fire Department to form the now organization HRFR.
HUNTINGDON REGIONAL FIRE & RESCUE DEPARTMENT
The Huntingdon Regional Fire & Rescue Department was created by a merger of the Huntingdon Fire Department, McConnellstown Fire Company, and Oneida Township Fire Company. This merger took place January 1, 2010.
The Department has 105 active members serving over 10,000 residents of Huntingdon Borough, Oneida Twp., Henderson Twp., and Walker Twp. The new Department serves an area that encompasses 48 sq. miles. Our Firefighters and EMS personnel are some of the most trained in the area, providing Structural Fire suppression and Rescue, Technical, Vehicle, and Swift water Rescue, We also provide Wild land Fire suppression, Hazardous material operations level response, Medical First response and Fire and Safety Education.
We do fundraising throughout the year, to help with the cost of operating the Department which is over $350,000 a year. We also hold our annual fund drive to help with this total cost. It takes the donations from our Municipalities, Fund Drive and Fundraisers to help make up the total cost of operations of the Department.
In keeping with our strategic plans for the future to guide us in the best service for our communities, we continue to update our equipment which is very expensive. Just in the last year and half, we have been able to secure two new engines to replace our rolling stock that is forever aging. These two engines cost almost 1 million dollars. This amount is a tremendous undertaking by HRFR, but we want to make sure we are equipment with the safest, most update technology and best fire equipment to protect the lives and property we serve.
We are planning an effort to develop a strategic plan to guide us in delivering the best service our communities demand and deserve in the most efficient manner with equipment needed to get the job done.
You can also find us on our website at www.hrfr65.com or our facebook page at Huntingdon Regional Fire & Rescue. Both currently have many photos and information concerning our organization.
To reach us by mail, the address is HRFR, P.O. Box 5, Huntingdon, PA 16652, or you leave messages on our website or by phone:
Huntingdon (643-1290), McConnellstown (627-4479) Oneida Twp. (643-1583)
HRFR MISSION STATEMENT
Huntingdon Regional Fire & Rescue is a team of volunteer firefighters comprised of multiple fire districts functioning as a united department to provide services to our coverage area with professionalism, dedication, integrity, and training. The provided services will include a vast range of emergency response, fire prevention, and public education to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all residents. While protecting and serving our communities, we will do all that we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our members, so that they may return to their families unharmed and healthy. We are always working to move us into the future of the ever changing fire operations.