About Us

Since man is a social creature and because uncontrolled fire has always been a potential source of destruction of life and limb as well as property, Mr. C.J. Roland called a meeting of people Interested in forming a community fire Department. C.J. Roland became the first chairman of the organization that was to become known as the Alert Fire Company No. 1 of Emigsville in Manchester Township on June 14, 1918.

On June 21, 1918 the first election of the newly formed Emigsville Fire Company elected E.D. Schroll take office as president, a position which he worked diligently through the year 1932. All legal organizations, in order to be recognized by the various governments local state and national must be chartered. Being no exception, the Emigsville Fire Company closed a charter on July 19, 1918 with 84 members. Realizing that with any growth the organization would be serving a community larger than the village of Emigsville, the founding fathers had the foresight to change the name of the company to Alert Fire Company No. 1. This matter was handled at a meeting on August 2, 1918.

Growth continued in the company although there was still no elected Fire Chief.  On September 20, 1918,  four ladders, six extinguishers, and twelve buckets were purchased. This action was to be the beginning of the series of activities does not needed to secure Manchester Township the most modern equipment for use in suburban and rural fire attack.

Mr. Grant Ruby was elected the first Fire Chief in 1919. On August 1, 1919, the order was placed for the first mechanical apparatus, a Model T Ford at a cost of $1,600. The truck was received from the Obenchain Boyer Company on October 3, 1919.

Until a time when the infant company was able to stand up and begin to walk A.E. Baker provided a garage in which to house the new fire truck. Mr. E.W. Strine sold a piece of property to the Alert Fire Company for a generous price of $1 on August 27, 1920. The year of 1920 provided to be a period of development never to be exceeded since that year. Also, during these 12 months a building committee comprised of A.E. Baker, Jacob Wambaugh, and W.P. Thompson was appointed and conducted at a meeting in the still standing and Emigsville Band Hall. On October 1, 1920, Jacob Wambaugh offered a loan of $1,100 with which to construct a building designed to house equipment and aid in providing recreational facilities. The building was constructed a period of about five months.

Following a celebration dance on New Year’s Eve of parade and dedication of the new building was held on January 1, 1921. Harry Brown was elected the second chief of the fledgling organization in 1921 and served a two-term year. Maturation of the fire company is reflected in the purchasing of 110 badges in the spring of 1919 February of 1923 witnessed the procurement of uniforms. A banner for marching in parades was secured by the Ladies Auxiliary in August 1923. Alert Fire Company repaid its debt Jacob Wambaugh in March 1923.

With the beginning of a new year and the increasing demands placed on the KW adolescent company in the business of our protection, 1927 began with significant discussions of the need for a bigger piece of equipment. The Model T was sensed to be no longer adequate.

Demolition of the Bethany Chapel, a union church, the bell was purchased for installation and used on the report of fires. The tolling of the bell in conjunction with the steam whistle on top of the Acme Wagon Works were the usual sounds heard when people were in danger from fire in the first two decades of their Alert Fire Company. That bell is a part of a monument dedicated to C.L. Schafer and the deceased members of the Fire Company and Auxiliary located in front of the firehouse.

After six months of serious discussion, July 1, 1927 saw the placing of an order for a new REO Speedwagon, a truck equipped with four chemical tanks. This purchase was made possible through a loan of $2300 from the King Arthur Castle #189 lodge. The total cost of the new apparatus however went to $3185, plus the Model T as a trade.

Fearing that now the defunct Emigsville Water Company could not supply water in the event of a major fire, the Alert Fire Company made application to the Public Service Commission for more adequate resources in July 1929. In January of 1930, the situation was remediated by the signing of the contract with the York Water Company.

The year of 1937 saw several more accomplishments for the company. In November of 1937 Alert Fire Company joined the York County Cooperative Firefighting Association. The company was also permitted to hook up to a motor driven siren which was installed atop the American Acme company. These acts helped improve the fire protection for the residents of Emigsville in Manchester Township.

In the early 1940s many men away serving their country in the Armed Services. The Alert Fire Company saw need to provide activities for the youth of the town. As a result of this, in June 1944 the company sponsored Boy Scout Troop #60.

In 1945, major installation of fire hydrants in Emigsville as well as the establishment of the firemen’s Relief Association. Both actions along with the purchase of an American La France engine in August 1946 helped to lower insurance rates for the citizens of Emigsville and Manchester Township.

On April 1, 1950, a report of fire was sounded, and this was no April fool’s joke. The American Acme Company burned to near destruction. This fire made it apparent that the company needed to enhance its fleet the fire apparatus. A need was also seen to have a way of rerouting traffic when a fire occurs on a main roadway. As a result, on April 6, 1950 the first fire police were appointed to facilitate the maneuvering of fire trucks, equipment and personnel. On August 14, 1951, the fire apparatus fleet received an upgrade with the delivery of a new Ward La France 750 GPM engine.

On July 21, 1954, a contract was awarded for the construction of a new fire station. In only 5 months the present building was completed, and the fire apparatus were placed at the new quarters on New Year’s Day 1955.

With a new station to house the company’s fire apparatus, a tanker truck was added to the fleet in May of 1957. The GMC truck was converted for firefighting used by the volunteers of the company. It could carry 1,000 gallons of water and pump 500 GPM via a front mount pump.

In the turn of the century, the 1960’s saw the addition of two new pieces of apparatus. A 1964 Ward La France engine which was delivered in August of that year and a 1966 Ward La France tanker. The company’s radio base station KFO851 was also secured in this decade along with the hiring of three paid men, a chief and two drivers.

In the early 1970’s with the company and the community growing, approval was given to remodel the firehouse to its present condition and later purchased the company’s first aerial apparatus, a 1958 Seagrave 100-foot ladder truck. In 1973 the company purchased a used rescue truck and a large tank truck, also referred to as the Super Tanker. The company then hired it’s third paid man and also purchased 4-inch hose, being the first company in the county to have hose that large. In 1977, a Hurst tool was purchased along with other equipment needed for the rescue truck.

As the 1980’s began the community continued to vastly grow. The company purchased a new Sutphen engine in 1982. Even with the expansion of the building the current quarters were beginning to be outgrown. In 1983 a piece of land was purchased, and a pole building was erected. In 1986 the rescue truck was replaced with a new truck. The chassis was purchased from Beasley Ford and a 16-foot Eastern Rescue Body was placed on it to complete the truck. As the 1980’s wound down the company purchased two more pieces of apparatus, a 1971 Sutphen 85-foot tower ladder and a 1989 Sutphen engine.

At the turn of yet another decade a changing of the guard took place for the Alert Fire Company. Chief Paul L. Schaefer retired after 35 years of service as Fire Chief of the Alert Fire Company. Richard R. Shank took over an assumed the role of Fire Chief for the company.

The 1990’s saw the addition of one piece of apparatus with the purchase of the Seagrave engine in 1997. In 1999 the paid personnel relocated to the Manchester Township building, staffing an engine, rescue, and ladder truck. The volunteers maintained in North George Street station and staff an engine and service truck.

In 2001 saw the replacement of the 1986 rescue truck with a new KME heavy rescue. The ladder truck followed a year later in 2002 with a new Sutphen tower ladder. In 2006 a new Sutphen engine was purchased, and the Seagrave engine was rotated down to the North George Street station for staffing by the volunteers.

Much has changed in the 100 years since the founding of the Alert Fire Company, but it remains today their truly successful fire company is more than equipment. It is people, men, women, and youth of all ages gathered with a common purpose to protect lives and property. The Alert Fire Company has and will continue to uphold the company motto “We Aim To Protect”.

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