History of the Charotin Hose Co. No. 1 - Apparatus



1910 Hose CartCharotin Hose Co. 1910 Hose Cart

On February 12, 1910, a hose cart purchased from the United States Fire Equipment Company of Philadelphia arrived. The hose cart was purchased for $450.00. It contained one eight-foot wooden ladder and seven hundred feet of rubber hose. The hose was purchased from the Eureka Hose Company of New York and cost eighty cents per foot.

The 1910 Hose Cart and equipment were stored at the Hoffman & Follweiler Stable until the firehouse was built in 1911.

1921 American La France

As the community expanded, the original hose cart was deemed inadequate and in 1921 the department purchased a new American LaFrance chemical car mounted on a Ford Model T chassis. All monies for this piece of equipment were raised by the membership through fundraising events and door-to-door solicitations. The 1921 American LaFrance served faithfully for fourteen years before public out cry over the rapidly expanding borough forced Borough Council to authorize the purchase of new equipment.

1935 Hahn

1938 Hahn Pump in front of Charotin Hose Co.

In 1935 the department upgraded its apparatus to a Hahn pumper. The 1935 Hahn (right, circa 1940s) featured a three-hundred fifty gallon per minute pump and a four-hundred gallon water tank. The truck was capable of utilizing water from a hydrant as well as drafting from a pond, stream or river. At this time, metal helmets, rubber coats and boots, smoke masks, ladders, axes, electric lanterns, spotlights, nozzles, hose and first aid equipment were purchased. The modern era of fire fighting had arrived.

After the delivery of the 1957 Howe in 1958, the 1935 Hahn was kept behind the new truck inside the fire hall. However, the Borough needed room for a police station and the truck was then stored outside behind Borough Hall. The Hahn sat outside for several years decaying and then was sold for scrap. It was learned by Fire Chief Francis Hadik that Dr. Filinger, a pathologist near Philadelphia, had purchased the Hahn from a junkyard. Dr. Filinger has a well-known collection of several antique fire engines. Dr Filinger gave a talk during an arson investigation class sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Police, held at Northampton Community College in 1997. This class was attended by members of the Charotin Hose Co. and at a break Chief Hadik and Assistant Chief Jack Thomas asked Dr. Filinger if he had our old truck and if it was still in running order. Dr Filinger remembered the truck but was not sure where he had it. He said he would check and see what had become of it. A few weeks later Dr. Filinger contacted Chief Hadik to relay the bad news. After consulting with his records and his son, Dr. Filinger said the truck was in such decay when he brought it home that he dismantled it using the good parts on other trucks and scraped the rest.

1957 Howe/International

1957 Howe / International

In 1957 with the Hahn now being twenty-two years old borough council authorized the purchase of a new, more modern piece. A 1957 Howe triple combination pumper mounted on an International R190 chassis was purchased for $6,800.00 and delivered in January of 1958. The truck had a Waterous 2-stage 750 GPM pump, a 500-Gallon booster tank and outside compartments containing all the equipment necessary to handle any emergency. The fire department raised the needed funds and refurbished the truck in 1984. Roman’s Auto Body painted it outside in the ally next to their shop at Sixth and Arch Streets, as it was too big to fit inside. This engine was retired in May 1994, and was purchased by the Charotin Hose Co. from the borough for one dollar. The Fire Department still maintains this piece as a parade truck, she still pumps water and wile her engine is tired and not as reliable as needed for an in-service piece she is as fully functional otherwise as the day delivered. Much pride is associated with the grand condition of the truck, even after giving 36 years of faithful service to the citizens of North Catasauqua she still shines like new.

1980 Darley/Ford

1980 Darley/Ford

In 1979 it was again decided to upgrade the borough’s fire truck. Borough council gave the Fire Department permission to apply for a 2% low interest loan from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. With the approval of the loan the borough asked for bids and a contract was awarded to the W. S. Darley Company of Melrose Park, Illinois to provide the fire department with a new pumper at a cost of $66,000.00. The 1980 pumper was mounted on a Ford chassis and was powered by a Caterpillar V-8 diesel engine coupled with an Allison automatic transmission. The truck was equipped with a Darley Champion 1,000-GPM single stage-pump, a 750-Gallon booster tank, 600 feet of inch and a half attack hose, 1,000 feet of three inch supply line, a 24 foot extension ladder, a 10 foot roof ladder, 3 fire extinguishers and 2 axes. The truck was to be dedicated on July 4th at the J-4 celebration but do to a strike at Caterpillar the truck was not delivered until December of 1980. Much planning had been put into the dedication and with mugs and trays already delivered with the July 4th date it was decided to go ahead with the truck dedication even though it was not here. Anyone in possession of a mug at the celebration was entitled to free beer and soda. This truck also ushered in a change in the color scheme of equipment for the Charotin. All previous apparatus had been painted red, but because of its high visibility lime yellow paint was applied to the body with the top third of the cab being painted white. Another innovation incorporated into this new truck was a top mount pump control panel. With previous pieces the pump operator had to stand in the street as the panels were mounted on the side of the apparatus. This new truck had its panel mounted behind the cab on top of the truck. A walkway behind the cab allowed the operator to stand safely out of the street while providing a 360-degree site of the fire ground. Because of the expanded size of the borough the 1957 engine was retained as a second out piece and a backup when the primary piece was out of service for repair. This was the first time the Charotin Hose Co. had two engines in service, giving the citizens the highest level of protection ever. The 1980 Ford/Darley was rededicated on December 17, 1994, in memory of former Chief Timothy Leh who had passed away March 6, 1993, and had been chief when this piece was ordered and delivered.

This truck was replaced in Spring of 2004 with a new unit. There were no bids to purchase the apparatus and it was donated to the XX Volunteer Fire Department of XX PA. This department was in desperate need of a truck after losing their engine and station in a fire. The XX Volunteer Fire Department is located in a depressed area of Pennsylvania and was thrilled to have it. XXX members drove the unit back to western Pennsylvania under its own power. The Charotin Hose Co. and Borough of North Catasauqua were pleased to help out a fellow fire department in their time of need.

1993 Darley/Spartan

In the early 90’s the fire department approached borough council about replacing the 1957 Howe pumper with a new one. The Howe had been in service for over thirty years and was tired. The engine would not always start and the bendix on the starter would stick requiring a firefighter to lay under the truck and hit the starter with a hammer wile a driver turned the ignition key. Interest rates were at a high level and because of a recent large increase in school district property taxes, some which doubled, council was reluctant to make large purchases, which might cause an increase in borough taxes. The Fire Department waited their turn and in 1992 asked for the ISO rating for the borough to determine if there was, in fact, a need for two pieces of equipment. The ISO does a study of all municipalities and determines based on size and industry what is needed for adequate fire protection. They then audit the fire department of the community checking training records and equipment. A number is then issued from 1 to 10 which insurance companies use to set their fire insurance rates for the community. If the fire protection is deemed inadequate the cost of insurance for residents will go up. The ISO rating came back stating that two pumpers were required to maintain the fire protection level of the borough. Interest rates had fallen that year and in October of 1992, presented with the ISO documentation, borough council had no problem authorizing the purchase of a new fire truck, but set a ceiling of $150k. After the bidding procedure a contract was again awarded to the W. S. Darley Company to provide a new 1993 triple combination pumper on a Spartan Motors chassis for the cost of $149,600.00. In September, 1993 Chief Hadik and Assistant Chief Thomas traveled to Charlet. Michigan to Spartan Motors to participate in a seminar on fire apparatus and to see the chassis being built. The Allison transmission installed in the truck is the 10,000 All-World transmission made by Allison. Representatives from Allison were on hand and presented Chief Hadik and Assistant Chief Thomas with jackets commemorating the 10,000th transmission. The new truck was deliver on St. Patrick’s day, March 17, 1994. The truck is powered by a 230-HP Cummins turbo diesel engine, the aforementioned Allison automatic transmission, a 1250-GPM Darley Champion pump, a 550-Gallon Polly booster tank and the entire body is made of aluminum. This truck has a hydraulic cab tilt for tilting the cab when service is needed on the engine or checking fluids, the 1980 truck require at least four men to tilt its cab. Another nice feature of the cab is that both the area where the diver and officer sit and the area where the firefighters sit is open make communication much better. Most older model trucks had a wall separating the two areas. Because of the height of the new truck an electric hydraulic ladder rack was installed. With the flip of a switch the ladders are dropped from a height of ten feet to a manageable height of 48 inches. A deluge gun is also pre-piped and mounted on top of the body where the pump operator can direct it, this truck also has a top mounted pump control panel, and a 5kw generator for scene lighting and for the powering of tools needed by firefighters. The fire department made some additions to the truck, which they paid for. A federal Q siren was mounted in the front bumper, side light bars were added and once delivered striping, name and emblems most of it gold-leaf paint were applied. These additions added up to about $7,000.00. Much time was taken in laying out the new truck and mounting equipment, some of the compartments were lined with furniture grade wood to prevent having to drill multiple holes in the body of the truck. The Charotin supplied the equipment and hose for this truck; 1,000 ft of 4 inch supply hose, 1,000ft of 3 inch supply hose, 200ft of 2 ½ inch preconnected firefighting hose, two 150 ft and two 200 ft 1 ¾ inch preconnected combat hose was loaded and ready for use. On an early evening in mid May Chief Hadik announced over the radio to Lehigh County Radio that Engine1812 was in service. It did not take long for the truck to be used, later that night the truck responded to an oil spill on Main Street and a dwelling fire on Fourth Street. On December 17, 1994 at the Company’s annual Christmas party the new truck was dedicated in memory of Chief James “Walter” Burke.

2003 Darley/Spartan

By 2003 the 1980 Darley was beginning to have some problems. The tank was developing leaks, body rust was beginning to appear, and the seals to the power transfer case, which runs the pump, were worn out filling the case with water. The fire department had been discussing the purchase of a new truck to replace the 23 year old unit and when the estimates of near $20k to repair the truck were received it was decided to purchase a new piece. The specifications used to purchase the previous 1993 were used to begin the specifications for the new truck. The new apparatus would be almost identical the one brought in in 1994 with a few differences. The cab of the 1993 truck was no longer made so a larger cab with rear doors opening onto the streets was specified, this unit would deliver 1,500 gallons per minute of water from the pump and a larger 6.5kw generator was installed for new equipment, purchased by the department, needing a minimum of 6kw. The truck was equipped with a Compressed Air Foam System or CAFS. This is the latest in firefighting technology employing class A foam as an extinguishing agent, and since a future new truck could be 20 years away the citizens of the borough would have to wait that long for this advancement if we did not take advantage of it then. CAFS uses bubbles to expand the surface area of water thus requiring less water to be used on a fire while absorbing heat faster and penetrating class A surfaces faster. This leads to much less water damage to properties involved in fire, also making it safer for firefighters on the scene. Lastly a more powerful 330hp Cummings diesel engine would be incorporated into this truck to power the larger pumping capacity and the compressor for the CAFS. The hose load was the same as the 93 with the addition of 220ft of one inch forestry hose. At a special meeting held by borough council on Tuesday night April 22, 2003 bids received for the new truck were opened. Three companies had submitted bids, W. S. Darley, Crimson Fire Apparatus and Central States. Both Central States and Crimson were lower bidders but after reviewing the specifications it was decided that neither met the requirements laid out in the bidding documents and a contract was awarded to W. S. Darley at the preceding council meeting in May. On April XX, 2004 the new fire truck was delivered but the excitement of having the new piece was quickly quelled when it was discover the truck had several manufacturing deficiencies most notable so many flaws in the paint they were to numerous to be counted and bad welds on the body. Delivery was refused and the truck was taken back to Darely’s plant in Chippawa Falls, Wisconsin. After repairs were made Assistant Chief Jack Thomas, as he had written the specifications for the unit, and Mayor Bill Mc Ginley, who was knowledgeable in painting of trucks having worked for Mack Trucks and a local body shop and also being a member of the Fire Department, were flown to Wisconsin at Darely’s expense to examine the truck. The inspection proving positive the truck was accepted and delivered the following week. The truck was prepped in the same way as the 93 with furniture grade wood lining the compartments and the Fire Department paying for gold leaf and stripping. The truck was put into service in July of 2004 and should serve the citizens of North Catasauqua for many years to come.

Squad Units

1965 Ford

As fire fighting techniques developed and a wider range of equipment became part of the department, the need for some type of utility vehicle was realized as the 1957 Howe had no more room for this needed equipment. In June of 1973 the Charotin purchased a 1965 Ford Econoline van from Sears, Roebuck and Co. for the sum of one hundred dollars. After several months of refurbishment by members the vehicle was repainted and made roadworthy. A 6kw Winco generator was purchased and placed in the van. Four 1,500-watt floodlights were attached to the roof of the van for lighting at emergency scenes. Extra bunker coats and boots were placed in the van as well as other miscellaneous equipment. The van logged 90,000 miles before being replaced.

1977 Ford

Squad 1851 - 1977 Ford

The Charotin purchased a used 1977 Ford utility truck from William F. Deibert Trucks, located at Routes 22 and 309 in 1982. This utility piece was also refurbished by the members with no taxpayer dollars and placed in service a little over a year after being purchased. This unit was sold to the Catasauqua Fire Department in 1989, who repainted it and as of 2006 still employs it as Fire Police 252 with flares, traffic cones, barricades and other needed equipment for traffic and crowd control at fire and emergency scenes.

1988 Ford

A 1988 Ford one ton 4x4 chassis was purchased new by the Fire Department, and new a Crest aluminum utility body was fitted on it. As with all the previous utility pieces the Fire Department paid for and equipped this vehicle with monies raised through fund drives and events. This vehicle carries portable pumps, foam for fighting chemical fires, brush fire equipment, hazardous material spill containment materials, light rescue equipment and things needed to setup a rehabilitation center at the fire scene. There is also a one ton winch built into the front bumper.