History

Delano Fire Company No. 1 has a long history of service and since its founding has also played a large role at the center of community life in Delano and the surrounding area.  Located in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Delano Fire Company No. 1 was established in 1943 to protect and serve the residents of Delano Township and the surrounding communities.

At the end of 1941, having been attacked by Japan on the island of Oahu, our country was mobilizing resources for our participation in World War II. The next most important concern of the people of Delano was a community hall. This was a widely discussed matter in church, at work on the railroad, Kelly Shaups’ drug store, in the engine house, where Joseph Cauley was roundhouse foreman, at the station, operated by Marty Downey, and in school, where Harris Wertman was principal.

Delano was a very busy railroad terminal at the time. Much of the iron ore hauled to Bethlehem Steel Company passed through our small town. Reports of submarine sightings along the Eastern seaboard made some of our citizens a little uneasy, especially the World War I Veterans, who continually pointed out the importance of our contribution to the war effort. The Delano Union Church was the only below ground level building in our community with a room able to accommodate a limited number of our women and children, in the event we were to be bombed. We had no fire fighting equipment, except a two-wheel hose cart which held about 300 feet of two and one-half inch hose. This was stored in Edward Cauleys’ garage.

In May 1942, the B-yard was the scene of a flag raising ceremony. The car department employees had erected the flag pole and Father McGarvey of Mahanoy City, was the guest speaker for the occasion. It was during and after this gathering that the realization of the need for a community hall started to gain momentum. Meetings were held in the freight house, station, engine house, and school building auditorium, in the effort to find a solution. Harry Edinger, a Delano Township Supervisor, made many phone calls, as well as making trips to Jersey City where he met with Attorneys Wilcox and Baird along with L.P. Zeigler, Superintendent of the Lehigh Valley Railroad company.  All in an attempt to obtain a piece of ground upon which to construct a community hall as well as any building materials which might be made available for the building project.

Months later the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company Agreed to transfer a suitable piece of ground to us, providing it did not interfere with their present existing buildings and yards, or the operation of their business. The present site was picked by Harry Edinger, Joseph Cauley, Elmer Matz, Jerry Ryan, William Jones and William Rhoades. A second goal set by the group was to obtain a piece of fire fighting equipment. In order to proceed further, it was necessary for the group to become organized and incorporated.

On August 6, 1943 a meeting was held in the club room of the LVRR freight house. The following citizens agreed to form an organization to be known as the Delano Fire Company. Those attending were: Harry Edinger, Jerry Ryan, Elmer Matz, William Rhoades, John Defrehn, Elmer Deitrich, John Dougherty, Bernard Herman, John Ryan, Thomas Reese, Clarence Jones, Kenneth Adams and Wilbur Andrews.

A building committee was formed with men volunteering to serve on this committee: Chairman Harry Edinger, Vice-Chairman William Jones, Joseph Cauley, Elmer Matz, William Rhoades, Jerry Ryan and John Ryan.

 

Construction of the Fire House - 1943

Construction of the Fire House – 1943 – Gus Andrews is at the very far right. Kelly Shaup is at the left, leaning on the sawhorse.

 

Dues were set at $.25 per month. The first regular meeting was held August 10, 1943. At that time the following officers and committees were nominated and appointed: President Wilbur Andrews, Vice-President Kenneth Adams, Recording Secretary Clarence Jones, Treasurer Stanley Shaup, Financial Secretary Joseph Bowman, Trustees Lewis Shaup, Jerry Ryan, Harry Edinger, Henry Faust, William Rhoades. Building Committee Chairman Harry Edinger, Vice-Chairman William Jones, Joseph Cauley, Elmer Matz, William Rhoades, Jerry Ryan and John Ryan. By-Laws Committee Chairman William Jones, Joseph Cauley, Clayre Matz, Charles Diefenderfer and John Dougherty.

The fire company was named Delano Fire Company No. 1 on a motion made by Clayre Matz and seconded by Joseph Bowman, Sr..  A list of the original charter members can be found here.

The women were just as much a part of the building project as were the men. They started fund raising activities before we had a firm commitment on the ground.   They eventually formed the Ladies Auxiliary.  You can find a brief history of its formation here.

On April 16, 1968, our firehouse caught on fire. The fire was spotted by a Bears Head Forest Fire Watcher from the fire tower. Smoke could be seen rising from the center of town. The fire was called in to, then, Chief, Albert Kershetsky. Albert and members of the fire company responded to find the firehouse almost engulfed. Acting quickly, he and the other members actually went into the burning building to save the only piece of motorized apparatus that the company had at the time. The men pulled out the fire truck, by hand, using a chain!

 

delano fire station fire

Scene from the 1968 firehouse fire. The 1929 American LaFrance Pumper was saved and eventually returned to it’s original home with the Bethlehem PA. Fire Department.

 

The building was saved, but there was major smoke, fire, and water damage. Then Chief Albert Kershetsky took emergency calls at his home  following the fire, until electric and telephone service could be restored to the firehouse. At present, the building still stands as it did before, with a few renovations. It is said that if you are in the attic during the summer months that you could still smell the smoke from the fire, being that the original wooden beams are still intact.

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