Greenwood Fire Department (PA)

The Greenwood Hose Company No. 1 was incorporated on July 16, 1900. Its purpose was to protect the lives and property in the Village of Greenwood and the Borough of Moosic from fire, natural disaster or whatever harm may have threatened the community. The department, like many others throughout the coal-mining region, was in existence to protect the coal company's interest. The original home of the Greenwood Hose Co. No. 1 was at 3528 Birney Avenue, not far from the Greenwood Colliery which was located near the now Birney Plaza. The Colliery was later relocated to the rear of the now Lydon Lane, after a fire at the original location.

The Hose Company utilized various types of firefighting equipment with the most known being a 1940 Reo.

1940 Reo

This vehicle was retrofitted by the firefighters and housed at the Birney Avenue facility. Today it is being restored by two of the departments members as a private venture, however will hold the departments name.

1940 Reo - Restored

The membership utilized this vehicle and the original Birney Avenue facility until 1963 when the department decided to venture into the modern world of fire apparatus and equipment. At this time a two bay garage was added to the rear of the Birney Avenue Fire Station and the department received a brand new 1963 Ward La France Pumper. This closed cab ambassador style apparatus was the first of its type in the area. It was powered by an 845 C.I. Waukesha gas engine and was provided with a 750 G.P.M Waterous pump and a 500-gallon water tank. The membership collected junk and sold it for scrap to help pay for this new pumper.

The new addition to the facility and the new pumper served the community until 1971 when the department decided to purchase yet another trend setting apparatus. The delivery of a 1971 Ward La France Diesel Pumper was accepted. This Ambassador style pumper was one of a few diesel power fire apparatus throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, with 2 others in the city of Scranton. The unit was fitted with a Hale 750 G.P.M pump and 500 gallon water tank. At that time of this delivery it was decided to retire the 1940 Reo which was sold to Gronski Enterprises in Moosic, where it stood until 1999 when the two department members decided to purchase the vehicle.

The 1971 and 1963 apparatus serviced the community well. Immediately after a substantial fire at the Fitchburg Coated Products mill room on East Corey Street, the 1971 pumper was retro fitted with an AFFF foam system. This foam system was again a unique system for its time being tested and evaluated at the Scranton Fire Department training grounds at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

On Christmas Eve 1975 a fatal motor vehicle accident occurred at the intersection at the Birney Plaza. The entrapment was rather serious and out of town assistance was required to gain access to the involved. This tragic accident again sparked the department members to investigate a rather new concept described as a Rescue company.

Through the cooperation of the Moosic Bicentennial Committee, several fundraisers were held to observe the nations Bicentennial in 1976 and the proceeds from the events were utilized to purchase the Jaws of Life rescue tool. The tool was to be shared on a six-month rotating basis between the Greenwood and Moosic departments.

In order to house the Jaws of Life rescue tools, the department purchased a 1976 Dodge Mini Pumper from Keyser Trailers in Taylor. This Mini pumper was powered by a 318 C.I. gas engine and had a Hale 250 G.P.M. pump and carried 250 gallons of water. It was stored between the 1963 and 1971 Ward La France Pumpers in the Birney Avenue station. This mini pumper was painted lime green rather than the traditional red. This color switch, even though it was said to benefit the nighttime appearance of the apparatus, never became a nationwide trend. However, the department repainted the 1963 Ward La France to the same lime green.

All of the advancements and undertaking of the department were funded through many long and tiring days of the resound Hose Co. picnic that was held on the grounds of the Greenwood Elementary School on Birney Avenue. The event originally lasted 7 days, later reduced to 5 days, and reduced again to 3 days. These events took place until the late 1980's.

During the departments upgrade of apparatus the membership also undertook the purchase of the property and building of the Greenwood Elementary School in the 3700 block of Birney Avenue only a few blocks from the current home. The property was purchased in pieces from the Riverside School District and was marked for the proposed fire station. The original concept of the new fire station was to have a ground level apparatus room, which would exit onto Birney Avenue, a second floor meeting room with department quarters and a banquet room. Due to costs, the design of the facility was later reduced to a one-story building.

During the week of the annual July picnic in the early 1970's, an arson fire damaged the vacant Greenwood Elementary School that stood on the property. The fire caused extensive damage and required the vacant elementary school to be raised immediately after the department's picnic. During these planning years of the mid 70's the final determination was made and the beginning of the new construction of the fire station began.

In 1977 ground was broke for the construction, however it soon was to be halted due to problems with demolition of the old school building. The entire basement of the now removed school building had to be re-excavated and refilled to provide the necessary soil conditions to allow the new construction. The new facility was dedicated in July 1978. Through the cooperation and hard work of the entire membership, the facility was utilized for the annual picnic in July once again. The years that followed saw the completion of the new facility and much fund raising to help defray the costs of new apparatus and station.

The department undertook an expansion of the facility in the early 1980's to allow more banquet facility room. While the main activities of the department were focused around the building and the new property, it became evident that the apparatus and ability to keep up with the changing times was rather difficult. The department purchased its first load of large diameter hose in the late 70's and upgraded the 1971 pumper to 1000 G.P.M. Once the facility expenditures were reduced the apparatus again became the main issue. It also became evident that the volume of rescue calls was dramatically increasing and the need for a new type of apparatus was necessary. The department purchased a 1985 International Saulsbury Cougar style rescue vehicle that served the community until 1998. A DT466 International engine powered this vehicle it also had a 12.5 kw generator, lighting, pre-connected Hurst reels, cord and air reels and a cascade system. It currently is owned and operated by the Montrose Fire Department. The 1976 Mini pumper, which the Saulsbury Rescue replaced, was sold to a department outside of Chicago.

The department at this general time also rehabbed the 1963 Ward La France, by completely repainting it back to the original red color, building and installing a new water tank and rebuilding the engine and transmission. All of the work was completed by the department's membership. This engine served until it was replaced in 1988. The vehicle was sold to the Fleetville Fire Co. and recently was retired.

In 1988 the department received a Hahn 1500 G.P.M triple combination pumper. This vehicle was one of the first to have a crew enclosure in the area meeting the new NFPA requirements. It was powered by a Detroit 6V92, it had a Hale 1500 G.P.M pump, 750 gallon water tank, AFFF system, generator and lighting. The vehicle was paired with the 1971 Ward La France and 1985 Saulsbury Rescue until 1992.

In December of 1992 the department took delivery of a 1992 KME triple combination pumper. It was identical to the Hahn unit in specification however, was built with technology enhancements. The unit is the first line pumper in service today. With the arrival of this unit, the 1971 Ward La France was sold to a southern fire apparatus dealer.

In late 1996 a run away vehicle crashed through the facility damaging the departments building. Several thousands of dollars of damage was done. The repair was completed with the remodeling and addition of office space to the department quarters. Several other small remolding projects were also taken to update the now 20-year-old facility.

In 1997 it was decided to down size the apparatus fleet and the 1988 Hahn Pumper was sold to East Moriches, New York, the site of the TWA 800 air disaster. Planning began for the replacement of the Saulsbury Rescue, by far the most difficult project undertaken. In 1998, the department received an E-One Cyclone II rescue vehicle. This unit is enhanced with all of the newest technology and rescue equipment money can purchase. The department expanded its rescue service to include SCUBA, confined space, high angle rope, structural collapse and trench rescue.

During late 1999 the department also took delivery of a 1999 Ford Explorer that is used as a command vehicle. This vehicle was retrofitted by department members, to include VHF and UHF radio capabilities, all warning systems, laptop computer, Knox box key lock system, and thermal imaging telemetry receiving system. The department also operates a 1988 Chevy Caprice Fire Police vehicle that was donated by a local businessman, also retrofitted by the department's membership.

Through the hard work and dedication of its membership and the support of the community, the Greenwood Hose Co. No 1 has proudly served for 100 years and hopes to continue for years to come.