HISTORY OF THE LAKEMONT VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY NO. 1
On the night of February 17, 1912, a fire completely destroyed the butcher shop of G.B. Vipond as well as the home and store of Mrs. M.G. Feltwell. This event provided the impetus to organize the Lakemont Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.
A few citizens of Lakemont met the morning following the fire and discussed the necessity of having fire protection. A meeting was called for the purpose of organizing a volunteer fire company held February 28, 1912 in the Church of God (later, St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church). A committee was appointed to see the Allegheny Water Co. concerning water plugs.
On September 13, 1912, an organization was formed with E.H. Flick, president; J.H. Summers, secretary and D.M. Snowberger, treasurer. A committee was appointed to call on all residents of Lakemont and vicinity for the purpose of raising money for the purchase of fire equipment. In the first year, the Fire Company received $130.65 of which $66.60 was paid for our fire equipment.
A ladder truck was built by the firemen from an old delivery wagon donated by W.C. Marks. The equipment was housed in the stable owned by W.M. Leake on the corner of Baynton Avenue and Beech Street and consisted of 1 ladder truck, 1 extension ladder, 2 rexes, 2 dozen buckets, 4 lanterns, 2 axes and 200 feet of garden hose. The business meetings were held in the Lakemont Park Greenshouse.
The charter was received on March 24, 1913 with 21 charter members. On March 27, 1914, a plot of ground was purchased for $400 on Logan Avenue where the Feltwell Store and Vipond Meat Market were located. A two story frame building was erected by the contractors Fissel & Clark for the sum of $629. The first meeting was held in the new building on June 15, 1914.
On January 29, 1915, the company purchased a chemical engine from the American La France Fire Engine Co. costing $330, which amount was raised by subscription.
The Early Years
In 1925, The Lakemont Terrace
Fire Co. was organized and it shared responsibility for the fire protection
with the Lakemont Fire Co. for the Lakemont, Garden
Heights area of Logan Township. Prior to 1937, most of the fire apparatus in
the area was chemical wagons and hose carts.
In 1937, the Lakemont Fire Co. purchased the first fire pumper with a
500 GPM rotary gear pump and 500 gal. tank of water on a Studebaker chassis.
The Lakemont Terrace Fire Co. disbanded in 1942 after the City of Altoona annexed the Garden Heights
area into the city that had a paid fire department. In 1952, the Lakemont
Volunteer Fire Co. moved forward with
the construction of a three bay, two story fire station located at 312-314 Lotz
Ave. The three bays faced Route 36 with
good access to the area. In 1957, the
Fire Co. purchased an International/Peter Pirsh Pumper with 750 GPM volume pump
and a high pressure pump attached to two booster reels and 500 gal. water tank.
In 1969, the Fire Co. purchased
the first of three fire trucks built in Altoona at Brumbaugh Body Co
(Bruco). The Fire Co. would solicit bids
for apparatus but the deciding factor was keeping the work local by people the
Fire Company knew and trusted.
The 1969 pumper was on a Ford
chassis and had a 750 GPM volume, high pressure pump attached to two hose reels
and 750 gal. water tank. The cost for
this apparatus was $28,000. In 1974, the
Fire Co. purchased a Pumper/Tanker on a GMC chassis with 750 GPM pump and 1600 gal.
water tank for $34,000.
In 1982, the Fire Co. moved into
the 20th Century of fire apparatus with a custom built Mack MC 5-man
fire truck chassis built in Allentown, PA.
Again, Brumbaugh Body Co. built the body out of Gavannel Steel that was
relatively new to the fire service but had very good rust prevention features
important to the longevity of the apparatus.
This Engine, called 1512, has a top mounted pump panel, 1500 GPM pump
and 700 gal. stainless steel tank. It has
a Diesel Engine and Allison Automatic Transmission, all a sign of the future
apparatus industry to come. This
apparatus was only 25 ½ feet long, a requirement of the space available in the
station. The total cost for this unit was $116,000. Fire apparatus was growing bigger by the
year, carrying more equipment, more manpower, bigger pumps, and larger water
tanks. This led the Fire Company to expand
the bays of the Fire Station.
In 1987, the Fire Company with the financial assistance of the Altoona-Logan Township Mobil Medical Emergency Department Authority (AMED) built an addition on to the three bays of the Fire House. This addition provided space for future larger pieces of fire apparatus and also established a sub-station for AMED. This lasting relationship has been good for both organizations, giving AMED good access to the business district of Logan Township and, for the Fire Co., a great partner in the emergency service business. This addition cost $60,000 but would not be big enough for things to come.
In 1998, the most dominant
changes were coming to the Lakemont Volunteer Fire Co. The Logan Township Board of Supervisors, who
had been working closely with the Logan Township Fire Departments, made the
commitment to purchase three engines and two ladder trucks for the Logan
Township Fire Departments. Two of the
pieces that were allocated to Lakemont would not be able to fit in the Fire
House. This prompted the Fire Co. to
again add on to the three bays and also make the doors higher for the new
apparatus. The Fire Company also made a
huge commitment by spending $280,000, with about $170,000 in portable fire
equipment for the two new apparatus; $50,000 for the building addition; and
$60,000 for a new Ford F550 Crew Cab chassis and a poly utility body. This unit has a four bottle cascade and light
tower and is called 1541.
The new engine was delivered in
December, 1998. It is a Spartan
Gladiator 8-man fire chassis with a stainless steel body built by Saulsbury
Fire/Rescue Apparatus of New York. It
has a 1500 GPM pump and 1000 gal. lifetime poly water tank. This engine cost $330,000. In 1999, a 102’ aerial/platform apparatus was
delivered. It has a 6-man Spartan
Gladiator Fire Chassis, a steel aerial by LTI and stainless steel body built by
Saulsbury of New York. It has a 2,000
GPM pump and a 200 gal poly tank. The
cost for this apparatus was $650,000. These
five new pieces brought the Logan Township Fire Service into the 21st
century and allowed the department to be well-equipped to serve the Township of
From 2005 through 2009, some
additions were added to Engine 1511 by Lakemont Fire Co. including a light
tower and a XRT hydraulic PTO system to run rescue tools. A redesigned custom front bumper was built and
an Amkus 22 Cutter of Tomorrow and a 30 CRT Spreader Rescue Tool were attached
to hose reels for fast and easy access. Space
in the bumper also allowed for additional rescue tools to be mounted. Front high intensity brow lights were added
to supplement night time operations. Total additions cost $65,000.
This brings us to the present fleet
of Engine 1511, Tower 1551, Utility 1541, and Engine 1512.