Acme Hose Company Number 1
East Stroudsburg Fire Department
East Stroudsburg, PA
In the year 1890, a group of men, headed by A. R. Brittain, proposed a plan to organize a Volunteer Company. The plan went into effect on April 7th of the same year and the first Volunteer Fire Company in East Stroudsburg was born.
During the course of the initial meeting, the following officers were elected:
President: John McNeal
Vice President: Charles S. Hoffman
Financial Secretary: Joseph H. Zacharias
Recording Secretary: A. R. Brittain
Treasurer: James Fable
Chief: A. W. Tetter
Foreman: C. James Martz
1st Assistant Foreman: George Ransberry
2nd Assistant Foreman: John C. Applett
Property Clerk: Thomas B. Cullather
Janitor: James C. Deemer
The first piece of equipment was a small cart drawn & operated by manpower & consisting of a cylinder pump, two brass cylinders with a suction to discharge on either side & a plunger projecting in each cylinder with a cross arm that connected the plungers. The capacity of this pump was rated according to the depth, height & speed of the working of the plungers. Wagons drawn by horses were later purchased, only to give way to more modern trucks.
In 1926, the Borough of East Stroudsburg began construction of a building on ground owned by the Fire Department to be a Municipal Building large enough to house the Fire Department & Police Department on the first floor; the second floor was to be used for Council Chambers, Borough Offices & Fire Company Meeting rooms. In 1927, the Fire Department moved to its new location which has become its permanent home. At the time of this writing (not present day 2007), personnel numbers slightly over one hundred, of which sixty are active members.
The following is a list of equipment operating when this was written:
– 1942 American LaFrance 1000gpm Pumper ($14,000)
– 1950 American LaFrance 750gpm Pumper with a 300 Gallon Booster Tank ($15,000)
– 1951 American LaFrance 75 Foot Aerial ($30,500)
– 1953 Assembled Truck with 300 Gallon Booster Tank & Pump purchased through Civil Defense matching funds ($9,650)
– 1957 American LaFrance 750gpm high pressure with 300 Gallon Booster Tank ($18,400)
– 1957 Willys Jeep Rescue Truck four wheel drive with front end winch, purchased through Civil Defense ($5,600)
Except for the one piece of equipment bought in 1952, these additions to the firefighting capabilities have been added since 1950.
All trucks are equipped with short wave radios & the base station is housed in the Fire Department headquarters. They are now on narrow band low frequency 33.98, along with the rest of Monroe, Lehigh & Northampton Counties. In dollars & cents, the apparatus & equipment is valued at about $1800,000. There can be no possible tabulation of what this means in terms of devotion by men of the Fire Company.
The Company maintains about 8,000 feet of 2-1/2” fire hose & 3,600 feet of 1-1/2” hose. It has a combine pumping capacity of 3,300 gallons of water per minute (gpm) according to the National Fire Board of Underwriters.
Trucks are equipped with the most up to date firefighting equipment. Since 1955, when Hurricane Diane drowned the upper reaches of the Delaware Valley, many items essential in rescue work have been purchased. A portable iron lung, portable generators up to 5,000 watts, life line throwing guns, chain saws, power saws, Porta Power Sets, power megaphones, many first aid units of the largest size & many more items essential to preservation of life & property.
Since 1937, the Fire Company has been conducting weekly fire schools throughout the year. Started by the late Frank P. Sommers of the Stroudsburg Fire Department, who devoted his life to firefighting, the schools have embraced not only Monroe County but many adjoining counties as well. Sommers was responsible for bringing a training program that was acceptable to large & small communities alike. It can now be said that the various departments work together as a unit under the same method of firefighting procedure.
We pay tribute to Frank P. Sommers & the legacy he has bequeathed firefighters in our association.
With accent on training of men, Acme has sent many members to the State Fire School first at State College & now located at Lewistown. At the present time there are three qualified State Instructors within the local department. Interchanges of knowledge, methods & procedures have been responsible for the most advanced systems of alarm available. Sixty-nine alarm boxes placed throughout the Borough activate a tape recorder located at the firehouse, immediately recording location of the box.
From the top to the bottom, Acme has attracted & held the kind of personnel that has been a credit to the community. Fire Chief Marvin E. Abel is a member of the Civil Defense Council, & heads up Fire Security & Communication in Monroe County. “Marv” is completing his 25th year as an active member of Acme, 21 of those years as a line officer & 15 of the 21 as chief. That’s a big chunk out of a man’s life that he didn’t get to go fishing, hunting or just plain being lazy. But, they have been rewarding years in lasting friendship & accomplishment.
We did a bit of reminiscing recently. Personally modest about his own achievements & abilities, “Marv” feels less restraint when speaking of the Fire Company. He said, “In all fairness to all fire companies & firemen, I honestly believe that we here in East Stroudsburg have one of the best equipped & best trained fire departments in the country. Our men & equipment have been instrumental in lowering fire insurance rates & we have the lowest rate in all classes for the present time. With God’s help, we hope to keep it that way.”
That about sums up the feeling of the Mayor & the Borough Council. Cooperation with the Fire Department has been excellent. It is through this cooperation & planning that the Fire Company has made the strides it has.
The East Stroudsburg Fire Department would like to go on record on thanking their Mayor & Borough Council for this splendid cooperation.