History - Station 149

Go to content

Main menu:

History

The Etna Volunteer Fire Department had it's beginnings in 1889, when the Borough had grown to such an extent that the citizens thought it best to organize a Volunteer Fire Department, to insure the safety of the community. In January of 1889, Dr. William B. Kroesen called a meeting for the purpose of organizing the first Fire Department. The organization was called the Etna Volunteer Fire Company and Dr. Kroesen was appointed the first Fire Chief. The Borough Council, in turn, cooperated by furnishing our first firefighters with a hand-drawn, four-wheel hose carriage and hand-drawn, four-wheel hook-and-ladder wagon. Both vehicles were built in Etna by George Weir of Bridge Street.

The new Etna Volunteer Fire Company, which consisted of 35 active members and 9 directors, answered it's first fire alarm at 3:00 p.m. on February 28, 1889, at the residence of Andrew Hemmerlein of Kittanning Street, Etna.

In 1895 the Etna Volunteer Fire Company, which later was renamed the Etna Volunteer Fire Company Number 1, became a Charter Member of The Allegheny County Fireman's Association. The first motor-driven fire truck, a Brockway Pumper, was purchased in 1918. Number 1 added other vehicles over the years including an American LaFrance Pumper in 1926, and in 1955 a 750 gallon Mack Pumper. Company Number 1 was located on Locust Street, next to the Etna Borough Offices.

In 1903 another group of borough residents, also concerned about the safety of their community, began making plans for the formation of a second volunteer fire company. Out of these plans, "Citizens Hose Company Number 2" began on February 14, 1904. C.B. Cottrell was elected the first President. The Company's first piece of equipment was a two-wheel, hand-drawn vehicle having three sections of 2 1/2 inch hose and rubber buckets on it. The equipment was housed in the building the Company purchased in 1905 on Grant Avenue.

By 1909 the members of "Citizens Hose Company Number 2" had raised enough money to buy a hand-drawn hook-and-ladder truck. With the help of the Etna Borough Council, they were also able to purchase a hand-drawn, four-wheel fire engine. The latter was replaced in 1912 by the first horse-drawn vehicle. In 1914, again, thru donations and with the help of the Borough Council, Number 2 purchased their first motor-driven vehicle. The new fire truck was chain-driven, had solid rubber tires, and was home built. In 1917 the first Auxiliary was formed, and the first fire whistle was installed at Spang Chalfant.

On July 6, 1920, "Citizens Hose Company Number 2" was turned over to the Borough of Etna and renamed Etna Hose Company Number 2. It would later become known as Etna Volunteer Fire Company Number 2. As with Number 1, Number 2 owned a number of fire vehicles over the years. These included a Brockway Pumper, an International, a Buffalo, as well as a Mack Pumper in 1957.

The two companies continued to operate independently of each other, under Borough Council appointed Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs, until the late 1970's. It was then that discussion began around the idea of consolidation and centralization of the two companies, now known as Etna Volunteer Fire Company Number 1 and Etna Volunteer Fire Company Number 2. In early 1980, with the cooperation of the Etna Borough Council, the two Fire Companies were consolidated and became the Etna Volunteer Fire Department. The new Department moved into new quarters, along with the Borough Offices and Etna Police Department, at it's present location on Butler Street.

In 1981, the Etna Volunteer Fire Department, for the first time, elected it's Chief, Robert Ettmeyer and Assistant Chief, Gordon Colton.


 
Back to content | Back to main menu