The first fires in Millersburg were fought without any special equipment. The cry of "Fire" brought out the people with buckets, the adults forming a line from the wells to the fire to pass up the full buckets and the children forming a line to pass back the empty ones. Wagons were loaded with water barrels and rushed to the river for water and back to the fire. Through the years technology has changed the way we respond to and extinguish fires. Today, the Fire Company is radio dispatched and responds with state of the art equipment and highly trained personnel. The fire trucks are much larger and they possess greater capabilities than their predecessors. The common factor that has not changed throughout the years is that Millersburg is protected by an all volunteer fire fighting force.
Early Millersburg Apparatus
The first organized fire fighting force for Millersburg was known as the Hook & Ladder Fire Company in April 1886. Their equipment consisted of a hook and ladder wagon with numerous rubber buckets on the side, which men pulled to the fire.
The fire company was officially organized on January 23, 1896 as the Citizens Fire Company #1 by the Fire Committee of the town Council and was under the supervision of that body, which chose its chief. The company elected its other officers. The first officers were President, D.W. Leffler; Secretary, Ed. F. Miller; Treasurer, Wm. Plambeck.
During the next ten years the activities were confined almost entirely to festivals, dress uniforms, parades and enlisting new members. The only mention in the minutes of anything to be used in connection with fire fighting was the purchase of rubber coats in 1903, and the fixing of a cart wheel. Receipts amounting to 65c to $3.10 and Expenses, invariably followed by a large zero, were the final notations in most of the minutes during that period.
On September 17, 1903 the Fire Company was reorganized as the Volunteer Fire Company #1 and shortly after that was renamed as the Millersburg Fire Company #1.
For the Centennial Celebration, held in 1907, uniforms were purchased for $312.00, but according to the minutes, several years later the Company apparently was not too flush, for a committee was directed to see the manager of the band to obtain a better price for two concerts to be held during a festival. The band had asked $7.50 for each concert.
The first activity of the firemen to secure equipment, of which there is a record, was made April 19, 1910, when a committee was appointed to procure a chemical engine and a new hose cart (which is still owned by the Fire Company) and to start the subscription with $200.00. After a public demonstration, a new hand-cart with two chemical tanks was purchased for $600.00. It is interesting to note here that 19 years later to the day, the newest type of apparatus, a chemical foamite and hose truck, was put into service.
From 1910-1919, the Company again confined its activity to parades, festivals and admitting new members, with a occasional consideration give to fixing a ladder, a cart wheel, or purchasing helmets.
Activities for the fire company were at a standstill for a few years, until 1919, until Paul High was elected president and F.C. Campbell was again elected Chief. At a later date, upon resignation of Mr. Campbell, T.E. Jones was elected in his place. It was also at about this time that the new Municipal Building was erected and used to house the old hose carts. A club room in the building was furnished and the Company became more active.
In June 1922, the Millersburg Fire Company was host of the Dauphin County Firemen's Convention. This gave the already active Company the necessary impetus to replace the antiquated equipment, then appearing out of place in its new home; and on July 10, a committee was appointed to investigate and make recommendations to the Company as to the needs of proper fire apparatus. For two months the Company made extensive research and then recommended that an American LaFrance 600-gallon capacity pumper be purchased at the price of $9500. This fire engine was operated until 1948 when it was sold for $250.
When an appeal was made to the citizens for funds, so generously did they respond that the Company not only purchased a more expensive pumper, but installed an efficient alarm system at a cost of over $5000, and purchased a Ford Hose cart, upon which was mounted the chemical tanks formerly on the push cart. Over $15,500 was collected by the Fire Company before the end of that year. C.W. Rubendall was the president of the Fire Company during this time.
In 1929, the Ford truck was replaced with a modern American LaFrance hose truck, on which was also carried foamite equipment and a large size ladder. This, with the pumper and alarm system, gave Millersburg exceptionally efficient fire fighting equipment. Through drills held each Wednesday evening, active members of the company became proficient in handling this equipment and in various phases of fighting fire.
In 1931, the Millersburg Fire Company again was host of the Dauphin County Firemen's Convention at which time the officers were President, Mark W. Sausser; Vice President, Warren I. Miller; and Secretary, Ralph A. Miller. Mark Sausser served 20 consecutive years as president of the Fire Company.
For many years, the company had among its regular activities a carnival, membership drive, and annual sauerkraut suppers, held in Millers Garage with an attendance of approximately 200.
In May 1938, the Company purchased the old center Street school building opposite the municipal building, for $4000. The building today is occupied by Kellys furniture Store and the ground surrounding the building is used as a community parking lot, with the exception of one week a year during which time the Company uses it for their annual carnival.
During the year 1939, the Company organized the Millersburg Fire Company Marching Club. It consisted of 68 members, whom each purchased his own uniform. During the Second World War years, the national Civil Defense allocated a centrifugal pump to Millersburg. This pump was mounted on an International chassis, which was purchased by the manufacturers below the railroad at an assessed rate of $1 per employee. This piece of equipment was kept below the railroad at the Alvord Polk Tool Company. After serving its purpose during the war, it was given to the Millersburg Fire Company, which used it for several years and then sold it in 1949 for $500.
During the year 1942, special effort was put on the carnival and also a scrap drive, the returns to be used to benefit local men in the armed forces. Each of 175 servicemen received $15, a total of $2625, all coming from the above two events put on by the Fire Company.
At the meeting held September 10, 1946, the following officers took office: President, Warren Miller; Vice President, Charles J. Sheetz; Treasurer, Alfred M. Hawley; Secretary, Ralph Miller; Chief, H. Albert Miller. It was at this meeting, upon his request to retire, Chief T.E. Jones completed more than 26 consecutive years as Fire Chief of the Company. He was then made an honorary member of the Millersburg Fire Company.
In 1947, fifteen members of the Company attended Fire School conducted by the Company, instructed by Whitey Blankmyer, State Fire Instructor. This course consisted of 54 hours of instruction. In the years 1947 to 1953, the Company had 12 men attend the State Fire School at Lewistown, the expenses of each being paid by the company.
D201 - 1948 Oren/International
In 1948, the Company was again host to the Dauphin County Firemen's Convention, held as usual during the month of June. Also during this year a new International truck was purchased, on which was mounted a pump and booster tanks. Funds were raised to purchase this apparatus through the successful operation of a Queen Contest and Carnival, plus the many generous donations from citizens of the community. The purchase price of this equipment was $13,400, not counting the hose, which was purchased separately. This engine was operated as Engine 201 by the Fire Company until 1998 when it was sold. In 1949, a second new truck was acquired and donated to the Company by the Millersburg Loyal Order of Moose, Lodge No. 59. This truck was fully equipped on arrival and the purchase price was $16,100. This engine was operated by the Fire Company as Engine 200 until it was sold locally in 1992.
D200 - 1949 Oren/International
A new air horn was purchased in 1950, to replace the old one on top of the Municipal Building. Along with the new horn, a new air compressor and air storage tank was purchased for a total price of $2200.
During the next several years the Company, being aware that the community was growing, purchased and placed five new fire alarm boxes; also realizing that the wire for the alarm system was badly deteriorated, replaced it, using 35,600 feet to cover the town.
The Fire Company Marching Club, becoming quite active and representing the Company at manyparades, received 51 new uniforms in 1953, from the Company at a price of $2150.
Air 20 - 1978 Chevy
On November 1, 1954, the Company accepted the responsibility of ambulance service to the community. Steever R. Day post No. 326 American Legion, which had been serving the community with a very efficient ambulance service up to this time, donated to the Company the ambulance and all its equipment. On June 6, 1955, a new Oldsmobile ambulance was put in service, replacing the one given to the Company by the American Legion. An appeal was made to the citizens for funds, and through their generosity the bulk of the $6200 needed was received. The Company then gave one year free ambulance service to those who needed it. On June 1, 1956, the Millersburg Fire Company Ambulance Club was formed with approximately 3300 members paying $1 each, assuring them ambulance service for one year at no charge. To better serve the community, the Ambulance Club of the Fire Company conducted thru the Red Cross a First Aid Course in 1957. The class had 37 enrolled. The Millersburg Fire Company Ambulance Club operated the ambulance until 1982, at this time the Millersburg Ambulance Association took over ambulance services.
In the early 1950's, with the permission and consent of the Council, the Company remodeled the municipal building on the first floor by adding a piece to the building to house all of its equipment, two fire trucks and one ambulance. The Company also installed a shower room complete with lockers. The Fire Company continued to use this building until 1982.
During 1956, the Company purchased and installed a radio system for all three pieces of equipment. This included a base station, and three radios, also included were two "Walkie-Talkies" to be used at fires. This was part of the Civil Defense system and eventually resulted in the fire companies being dispatched from a central location in the county. As part of the Dauphin County Civil Defense all fire companies were designated by number, Millersburg Fire Company was designated as D-20. This system continues today with Millersburg being Dauphin County Station 20.
In the year, 1957, the Company again was honored to be the host of the Dauphin County Firemen's Convention.
The Fire Company received a major test of their capabilities in 1972 with the major flooding the area received from Hurricane Agnes. The Fire Company assisted in evacuations and rescues during the flooding and then spent days pumping basements after the flood waters receded.
E20 - 1974 Hahn
Truck 20 - 1974 Pierce/Spartan
The Fire Company began looking, in the early 1970's, at updating the now 25 year old fire engines. In 1974 the Fire Company purchased a 1974 Hahn fire engine. This was the first major equipment purchase made by the company since 1949. This engine was designated as Engine 20. This engine was sold in 2000 to the Carsonville Fire Company. In 1979, due to the increasing number of calls, the leadership again recognized the need to purchase an additional piece of fire apparatus. The Company purchased a 1979 Emergency One/GMC Attack Pumper, designated as Attack 20, this pumper provided a quick response truck with a short wheel base that allowed for access to narrow alleys and country roads. In the following years the Attack truck was outfitted with the latest in Hydraulic Rescue tools Jaws of Life.
Tanker 20 & Truck 20 (prior to rehab)
Attack 20 - GMC
The Fire Company continued to raise funds through the annual fund drive, carnival, and Bingo. In 1982 the Millersburg Fire Company #1 moved to its current location at 325 Center Street. This was the first time since 1974 that all the fire equipment was housed under the same roof. The Fire Company continued with the annual fund drives and carnivals until 1996, when the Fire Company became supported by tax funds. The fire alarm pull stations, which were last updated in the 1950's, were removed from service in 1986.
Tanker 20 - 1982 White/General
In 1986 the Fire Company again hosted the Dauphin County Firemen's Convention for the Fire Company's 100th Anniversary. In recent years, the fire company has been able to increase the level of training of it's firefighters and currently has many nationally certified firefighters and EMTs. In 2007, the fire company played a large role in helping Millersburg Boro celebrate it's 200th Anniversary celebration. The Fire Company has also increased it's visibility in the community at various public events and helped to educate the residents about fire safety and prevention. In 2011, the Millersburg Fire Company celebrates it's 125th year of service to the residents of Millersburg and Upper Paxton Township as well as mutual aid districts.
Currently the Fire Company operates a Flat Bottom Boat, Boat 20; 2006 mini-pumper, Attack 20; 1991 Emergency One/International Engine, Engine 201; 1997 Sutphen 70+ Foot Mini-Tower, Truck 20; 2001 Emergency One Engine/Rescue, Engine 20; and a 2002 Emergency One/Freightliner 3100 Gallon Tanker, Tanker 20; 2001 Ford Excursion, Utility 20. There are 45 active volunteer members providing emergency response. In 2004 the Millersburg Fire Company #1 responded to 187 calls.
Tanker 20 - 1989 Freightliner
The Millersburg Fire Company #1 Officers are: President, Sean Grimm; Vice President, Mike Sedesse; Secretary, Heather Alleman; Treasurer, Rick Ibberson; Assistant Treasurer, Bob Hooper; Relief Fund Treasurer, Gary Ibberson; Fire Chief, Doug Snyder; 1st Asst. Chief, Donald Harris, Jr.; 2nd Asst. Chief, Chris Hardy; 3rd Asst Chief, Colby Challenger; Captain, John Koppenhaver.
Rescue 20 - 1993 Chevy/EVI