Thank you to Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company

Congratulations Seven Hills Fire Rescue

Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company advertised with Fire Line Equipment to sell their 2002 Pierce Lance 100′ Rear Mount Platform. Seven Hills Fire Department reached out to Bob in search of Platform prior to the truck being listed. When Bob received the listing Bob contacted Seven Hills about this unit. In February members of Seven Hills Fire Rescue traveled to Ephrata to inspect the truck during that trip Seven Hills placed an offer on the truck. On Wednesday April 28th the truck was shipped to Seven Hills Fire Department. Thank you to Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company and Seven Hills Fire Rescue for the opportunity to work with both departments on this project.

Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company –

The history of the Ephrata Pioneer Steam Fire Engine Company Number 1 is one of the oldest in Lancaster County and the state of Pennsylvania. Some of the history has been lost, but what remains is long and interesting. Please continue to read on and learn how the modern day fire department originally got its start.

The first recorded fire in Ephrata occurred in the late part of 1700, when enemies of the Seventh Day Baptist of the now known historic Ephrata Cloister, attempted to destroy their foes buildings by burning them down. However with two large fresh water springs on site the Cloisters were able to control the fire. Then a shift in the winds pushed the fire back to the arsonist buildings, burning them to the ground.

During this period of time the only form of firefighting in existence was known as a bucket brigade. In the 1800’s when a fire was discovered an “alarm” was sounded. This alarm was made by suspending a split locomotive wheel in a frame and striking it with an iron hammer, the sound of which could be heard for great distances. When this alarm was sounded there was no way for community members to know where the fire call was, so if you heard the alarm you ran outside and looked into the sky to see the smoke or fire, or you watched where others were running. These community members grabbed the nearest bucket usually made of wood, but some of the nicer ones were metal, and proceeded on foot to the scene of the fire. Usually by the time the fire was discovered and help could be summoned it was too late to save the original building so efforts were focused on the surrounding areas. Water was thrown on the exterior walls and roofs of the nearest buildings to cool them down and hopefully prevent a fire. In this time period all properties either had fresh water wells or rain water cisterns equipped with a hand pump. Two men pumped the water out of these wells into the awaiting buckets. Then a line was formed from the well to the building they were trying to save and the buckets were passed down the line. By the end of the line there was usually very little water left in the bucket, because of spilling and leaking from the wooden buckets. Thusly, making the efforts of the community members almost fruitless, if there was any extra help, men would run into the burning building and throw whatever salvageable goods they could find out windows and doors and community members would move them away from the buildings.

The need soon arouse for a better solution to fighting fire. Some influential community members stepped forth to protect the town of Ephrata, and a hand pump was purchased. This hand drawn, hand pumped equipment carried with it two large buckets of water and hose. This allowed three people to prevent fire spread. Two were used to pump the handles which siphoned water from the attached tanks and then pushed it out the hose, guided by the third member of the team. As technology advanced, three community members stepped up and laid the ground work to the modern day fire department. D.R. Hertz, J.R. Mentzer, and C.S. Yeager, three prominent members of the community formed the original fire department and housed a steam fire engine in 1874. These three men chose to name Ephrata’s first fire department after Pennsylvania’s oldest fire department, S.J. Ettla No 1, which was named to honor Harrisburg’s best fire fighter. And so Ettla Fire Department was formed. The members furnished the money to buy the steam fire engine which cost $1,000. This new engine was housed in a small wood building to the rear of 40 W. Main Street (or Eitnier & Hoffman Funeral Home, now the current A&J Furniture Store).Then in 1880 the department moved into a small building built to the rear of a two-story brick school house. This was advantageous because the school bell could be used to alarm the volunteers of a fire. In 1884 as the city of Ephrata grew, the services provided by this department also grew. Ettla Fire Company held two town fairs in 1884 and 1885, using the proceeds to purchase a two wheel hose cart for an unknown price. READ MORE HERE

Sevenhills Fire and Rescue –  Fire and Rescue is a volunteer fire and EMS district committed to serving their community.