History of the Fire Deparment
The BeginningFrom 1902-1952, Marshall Township residents were protected by the Wexford Volunteer Fire Company. On January 17, 1952, ten Marshall Township residents requested a charter for the Marshall Township Volunteer Fire Department.
The following were the very first appointed officials in the history of the Fire Department, nominated to help get the department under way:
- President: Mr. William Warren
- Vice President: Mr. Harry Davison
- Assistant Vice President: Mr. Joseph Carey
- Treasurer: Mr. Karl Simon
- Secretary: Mr. George Huber
On April 29, 1952, the first official election of officers was held. President- Mr. Rudy Rozinak Jr., Vice President- Mr. Floyd Davison, Recording Secretary- Mr. Gene Egrnhart, Corresponding Secretary- Mr. Francis McCann, Treasurer- Mr. George Huber
In May of 1952, the motion was passed to buy the Fire Company's first fire truck. It was a 1938 Ford, front mount pump, Type F, from the Saxonburg Fire Company. The truck had a 200-gallon tank, could pump 250 gallons of water per minute, and was purchased for $1,400.00.
On June 10, 1952, Line Officers were elected. The first Marshall Township Fire Chief was Mr. Cliff Kirsches. Earl Frits served as the Assistant Fire Chief, Casper Rider as the Captain and Karl Simon as the first Lieutenant.
In June of 1953, the VFC purchased a White Gulf Oil Truck (1,500 Gallon Tanker) and in July, purchased a 1946 Dodge Power Wagon for Brush fires.
In October of 1953, Marshall Township VFC purchased their first Fire Hall, the D.B. Fowler Building on Northgate Drive, for $3,000.00.
The following year, the Fire Company acquired its first ambulance, a 1941 Cadillac donated by Ralph Schugar.
In February of 1959, the company purchased another used Dodge Power Wagon. Later that year, the Fire Company purchased their first new piece of equipment; a 1959 International Pumper that could pump 500 gallons of water per minute with a 500 gallon water tank.
1960sIn 1960, the Fire Company purchased a used 1947 Cadillac ambulance; and in 1962, they purchased a used 1955 Cadillac ambulance.
In 1963, the Fire Company purchased its first new Tanker. It had a 1,500-gallon tank and pumped out 250 gallons of water per minute.
In April of 1963, the company purchased their first CB radio. This was used to improve communications among the fire fighters during incidents. In 1966, they purchased a used 1960 Cadillac ambulance and also a low band radio.
In the late 60s, it was decided to appoint special fire police. The fire police assisted police and fire departments during emergencies by directing traffic and performing other necessary duties.
In 1968, Marshall contracted for a new International Model 1600 4x4 all wheel drive Brush Truck with a John Beam high pressure pump with 200 gallons of water, which was put in service in January of 1969.
1970sThe first new ambulance for the Fire Company was purchased in 1970. In that same year, the company bought their first Squad Truck. The Squad Truck was used to carry firefighters to the scene of a fire in a safe and protected environment.
Two years later, Squad Truck #2, a nine-passenger van, was purchased new. And in 1973, the first female firefighter in the North Hills came on board. Susan Berman was sworn in as a member on February 24, 1973.
In 1974, the Fire Company purchased its first used Rescue Truck, a 1972 Dodge van and in December of 1976 a motion was made to purchase a new pumper. It was then that the vote was passed to switch the color of the fire trucks from red to safety yellow. In 1977, a new GMC ambulance and a new 1976 Spartan FMC Custom 4- Door pumper was only 1 of 4 of its type built in the country.
In 1979, the Marshall Fire Company Public Ambulance Service was taken over by McCandless-Franklin Park Ambulance Authority.
1980sIn 1981, the Fire Company put into service a new 1981 GMC Four Guys Tanker with 2,000 gallons of water and a 500 GPM pump.
In November of 1981, the Fire Company purchased their first uniforms for all members.
To improve communications and fire call attendance, the company purchased its first portable pagers for members.
In 1982, the Fire Company purchased a used 1974 Welsh Body Rescue Truck from North Hampton, Ohio. This truck housed the fire company's hydraulic rescue equipment.
In April of 1982, Marshall budgeted for an Amkus rescue tool (the Jaws of Life) used to extricate victims of entrapment. Prior to this, Zelienople and McCandless Fire Companies handled Marshall's vehicle accidents with entrapment.
In May 1982, the Fire Company celebrated its 30th anniversary with a parade, circus and a dance at the Fire Hall.
In 1983, the Fire Company purchased its first emergency generator for the station.
In 1984, they purchased their first computer and first new bunker gear. In that same year, Marshall Township and the Fire Company put in a new traffic light system. The first was installed at Route 19 and the Red Belt, along with two emitters in the fire trucks. This system gave emergency vehicles easier and safer travel enroute to calls.
In June of 1985, the Fire Company members underwent their first training with a Life Flight Helicopter.
August 1986, the MTVFD acquired a 1951 American LaFrance 65 foot Aerial Ladder Truck for $2,036.00 from Allegheny County. In August of 1993, this ladder truck was sold to Olle Eriksson, an automobile collector from Sweden.
1990sIn the early 1990s, the Fire Company purchased property on Markman Park Road with plans to build a new substation to better serve that portion of the Township. Unfortunately, opposition from area residents caused this idea to be abandoned. (The property was sold in 2001.)
In March of 1991, the Fire Company signs a service contract with Turnpike Commission agreeing to provide fire and rescue services covering mile markers 30 to 39 East Bound, and the Rest Stop at the 30 mile marker West Bound.
In April of 1991, the Marshall Township Supervisors approved a new public works building on Knob Road as a joint venture with the Fire Company. The MTVFC would have three bays to be considered station #2, now helping to better serve the community.
Also in the early 1990s, major renovations were completed on Station #1. The recreation room was completed, a new roof was put on, new garage doors were installed, electrical service was updated, the board of directors room/computer room was refinished , and yes....the bathroom was finally completed!
In May of 1992, members made a motion to purchase a 1992 Spartan/Quality Pumper with an indoor pump panel, a 2,000 GPM pump and a 1,000-gallon water tank at the cost of $268,000.00. The truck was put into service in February of 1993.
In January of 1994, the Park Station on Knob Road became fully operational, housing three fire trucks.
A Ford Squad Truck was purchased in 1995 by the Fire Company Relief Association.
After 30 years of McCandless-based dispatch, the Fire Company and Township Officials agreed to switch over to Newcom 911 dispatch center. This allowed the Fire Company to operate on Ultra High Radio Band and, therefore, provide better communications during calls. This high band communication is much clearer and less crowded with users. Sixty thousand dollars was spent in these efforts to better serve the Marshall Township community. At this same time, Marshall Fire Company was assigned the Station Number 185.
In January of 1997, Fire Company members voted to purchase a new 1998 Quality Heavy Rescue Truck on a Spartan Chassis for the amount of $311,811.00. The new truck can haul six firefighters, and has two separate rescue systems, trench rescue equipment, and RIT capabilities.
A back-up generator was purchased to supply emergency electricity to the entire building during power failures in order to keep the Fire Company in service and also provide assistance to the community while serving as an emergency evacuation center.
In 1998, Freddie the Fire Truck became a member of the MTVFC family. Freddie is used in the safety program to help educate children in Fire Safety Awareness at local schools, churches, and community events.
In June of 1998, the GMC Tanker was sent to Four Guys Manufacturing for refurbishment and old rescue 6 was refurbished in-house and re-deployed as Squad 8 for Station 2.
In March of 1999, a new trophy\historical case was built for $4,000.00 in the recreation room at Station #1. The case holds historical information and memories from 1952 through the present. Such items include: trophies, pictures, fire fighting equipment and tools.
Two months later, to better protect the Firefighters; the organization purchased 25 new MSA Air Packs and Masks. This is a positive pressure device, which allows air to constantly flow, keeping smoke out of the firefighters masks. These packs are lighter in weight, provide an additional 15 minutes of breathing air, and are equipped with a P.A.S.S. alarm device, which notifies firefighters when a fellow fire fighter is in trouble.
In October, a new emitter system was installed at Route 19 and the Red Belt. This system now enables the light to be activated by sound as opposed to light. This apparatus saved the company money and now allows all Fire Companies to benefit by being able to use this emitter.
In December of 1999, the Fire Company made the decision to abolish the Special Fire Police. However, the firefighters are still actively fulfilling the duties of the fire police.
In 1995 an then again in 1999, Marshall Township Supervisors and the Pine, Marshall, and Bradford Woods Police Department arranged for the Fire Company to obtain one of the used police cars to serve as a Fire Chief\Fire Marshall vehicle.
2000sIn February of 2000, a motion was made to purchase a thermal imaging camera. This tool allows firefighters to search for victims in a structure fire and helps sense heat\fire behind walls or other structures. The camera, worth $22,000.00, was donated by a township resident.
In mid 2000, the MTVFC set up their First RIT (Rapid Intervention Team). This team of eight firefighters serves as a rescue team for other local fire companies during structure fires. All RIT team members went through 16 hours of mandatory, in-depth training. Fire Companies in Butler, Beaver and Allegheny counties have worked together to implement these RIT teams to better protect Firefighters.
In August of 2000, Marshall Township won the Cranberry Township Light-up Night Parade Super trophy. This accomplishment was won for having the best appearing Fire Company including: trucks, personnel and fire company color guard.
In 2001, six Marshall Firefighters took the initiative to undergo First Responder training to help better serve their community.
On October 16, 2001, the MTVFD housed its new pumper at Station #2 with representatives from Cranberry, Economy, Middlesex, Zelienople, and Bradford Woods Fire Companies showing up to view the ceremony. This truck was built on a 2001 Spartan Chassis with a Four Guys Body and includes a 1,000 gallon water tank, a 2000 GPM Hale pump, 40 gallons of foam, a thermal imaging camera and an Amkus combo rescue tool. The cost of the new addition was approximately $360,000.00.
In October of 2001, Fire Department members voted and approved to purchase the neighboring Hines property by Station #1 for the amount of $100,000.00 with hopes of expansion in the future. The closing on the property took place in November of 2001.
Each year, the demands of the Marshall Township Volunteer Fire Department have increased. In 1969, for example, the Fire Company answered 40 calls, but in 2001, responded to 268 calls.
Today, Marshall Townships Fire Company has mutual aid policies with Bell Acres, Bradford Woods, Cranberry, Economy, Franklin Park, Mars and Wexford Fire Companies participating. The fire Company also works closely with Pine, Marshall and Bradford woods Police Department, Road Crew, and McCandless-Franklin Parks Ambulance Service.