Fire Companies

The first fire department was organized by David Thomas in 845 as the Humane Fire Company. It had a hand force pump attached to a large tank mounted on four wheels. A bucket brigade or hoses attached to the few fire plugs conveyed water tot he tank. This primitive structure proved useless during the 1865 fire at the Crane Machine Shop, and was unceremoniously discarded and allowed to decay.

In 1866, the citizens organized the Phoenix Steam Fire Company, the pump driven by a steam engine. It was first housed in the Crane Fire Hall on Front Street.  The Fuller’s sold 116-118 Church St to the Borough in 1868 for the construction of a Town Hall and (fire) Engine House – the Phoenix moved herre in 1868.  By 1914, the Phoenix had an engine, two hose carriages, one gig, one hook, a ladder truck and 1200 hundred feet of hose.

In 1873, the Crane Iron purchased a steamer “a” engine from the Philadelphia Southwark Hose Company No 9; the company insisted that the name remain with the engine. In 1914 the books, seal, charter, hat and belts from the Philadelphia Southwark Hose Co were donated to the Catasauqua company. These still exist, having been recently found at the station. The Crane overhauled the engine and presented it to the newly formed Southward Hose Company No 9, with the understanding that the Crane be granted use of engine as needed. All the charter members were employees of the Crane. The engine was housed first in the Crane Pattern House (corner of Wood and Front St) before moving to new quarters erected at Second and Church.

In 1911, citizens of the Third Ward organized their own company, which was accepted by the borough as the East End Independent Hose and Chemical Company No 1, but not as part of the borugh-supported companies.  A one story structure was erected at 512 Race St. At that time it was not accepted

The present Catasauqua Fire Department was organized April 15,1895 when the Borough Council assumed control of the Phoenix Steam Fire Company No. 1 and the Southwark Hose Company No. 9.

In 1916 the Borough Council added the East End Hose and Chemical Company No. 1, after rejecting them in 1911. In 1965 the three companies formed the Catasauqua Firefighters Association, putting them in a position to sponsor the Four-County Firemen’s Association Convention here in June 1969.  Many mementoes survive from that event, such as small drinking glasses.  In 1968 the Council accepted the Catasauqua Rescue Squad and the Catasauqua Fire Police to the department to ensure members coverage under the Borough and Fireman’s Relief Association. The active membership of each of the units consists of volunteers drawn from the Catasauqua community.

The Charotin in North Catasauqua seems to have evolved out of a tiff between the newly incorporated North Catasauqua (1907, leaving Allen Township) and Catasauqua. After Catasauqua’s fire company responded to a fire on the Bryden site in early 1909, Catasauqua sent North Catasauqua a bill for rental of horses to pull the fire wagon.  When North Catasauqua refused to pay the bill, Catasauqua’s fire department was instructed by their council to not respond to any more fires in North Catasauqua unless the request was made by authorities of North Catasauqua to the Burgess of Catasauqua. The next fire, later in 1909 in North Catasauqua, was a large barn & grainery on Fourth St, in the Old Fuller Grove. It proved difficult to address with no formal fire fighting team, though the borough had tried to enhance their water supply and had recently acquired hose from the Clear Springs Water Company.  Burgess Hunter of North Catasauqua pursuaded council to hold a public meeting the following month for the purpose of raising funds and support to create North Catasauqua’s own fire company. Charotin Hose Company No. 1 was formed Nov 15, 1909.

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