top of page

SERVING DELANCO FOR OVER 120 YEARS

The Washington Fire Company No. 1. was organized on February 22, 1898.  Now, as then, our members are 100% volunteer and are committed to serving the residents of Delanco Township.

 

We were named the Washington Fire Company as we were formed on George Washington's Birthday, however we are commonly referred to as the Delanco Fire Department or Delanco Fire Company. 

Members answer alarms, attend training classes, meetings and drills, maintain the station, and organize fund raisers.  Donations and fundraisers are our only source of income.  New members are always needed.  Please click the Join Us link above if you would like to join.

Our 
History

Fire Company Organized February 22, 1898

Firefighting in Delanco dates back from the end of the 19th century.  The town's first fire company was organized February 22, 1898.  The volunteers fought fires with a hand-drawn carriage equipped with ladders and buckets.  Total cost of the apparatus was $358.  The Fire Company was incorporated March 8, 1900.

The first firehouse was in Mike Hart's meat store on Ash Street.  It was then moved to Union Avenue.  When the fire company decided to build a brick building in 1919, the old wooden one was moved to the corner of Burlington Ave and Walnut Street to serve as Osmond and Beck Print Shop.

A few years after its formation, the fire company disbanded, probably because the volunteers were discouraged when they were unable to obtain the necessary equipment.

The original firehouse in Delanco was this one-story structure shown on Union Avenue, where it had been moved from an earlier location on Ash Street.

However, the fire company was reactivated on February 16, 1912.

Shortly after reorganizing, the company obtained a second piece of apparatus - a carriage with ladders and two 35-gallon soda-acid tanks that could be drawn by either horses or men.  The apparatus arrived on May 20, 1912.

Screen Shot 2022-12-28 at 3.21.27 PM.png

One of the first pieces of mobile firefighting equipment in Delanco was this horse-drawn carriage equipped with soda and acid tanks.  The driver was George Reeves Sr.  Note the ladders and lanterns.

Above:  The New Acme fire engine in all its early 1920's glory.

Below:  The 1923 Seagraves Pumper, "Big Bertha".

On June 6, 1916, the Delanco fire department became motorized.  A Vim truck was purchased for $680.  The two chemical tanks were taken from the old horse-drawn apparatus and placed on the Vim truck.  Later the Vim truck was disposed of and a new Acme truck was purchased.  On December 28, 1923, the company became a two-apparatus unit with the arrival of a new Seagrave 750-gallon-per-minute pumper.  It was  nicknamed "Big Bertha" and it was up to date in every respect.  It was a powerful firefighting device and remained in service until 1953. 

The fire company's fleet of apparatus around 1963 consisted of these four pieces - from left, a Cadillac ambulance, the Diamond T, the 600-gallon Seagraves pumper, and the 750-gallon Seagraves pumper.

In 1936, a 600-gallon-per-minute Seagraves pumper was purchased.  It replaced the chemical truck and remained in service until 1963.  Next to come was a Diamond T chassis, which was purchased in 1947.  Doing most of the work themselves, the firemen built a fire pumper body for the frame.  This apparatus carried a 35-gallon high pressure pump, plus a 40-gallon booster tank, and remained in service until 1973.

To keep abreast of the continuing growth of the community, the fire company purchased a 750-gallon-per-minute 1953 Seagraves pumper with a 300-gallon booster tank.  This truck replaced Big Bertha, which had given 30 years of yeoman service.  A second, 750-gallon-per-minute Seagraves pumper arrived in 1963, replacing the 600-gallon pumper bought in 1936.  And in 1973, a 1000-gallon-per-minute Seagraves pumper with a 300-gallon booster tank, fully equipment, was placed in service.

The fire company had made three additions to its firehouse on Union Ave, the latest in 1960 when a room was added to house an emergency generator to provide a contingency energy source for the building during periods of disaster.  The fire company purchased a plot of land on Burlington Ave in the center of the community in 1964 and hoped to construct a new modern facility there to meet the firefighting needs of the community.   This is the location of our present day firehouse which was constructed in 1985.

Above:  The firehouse on Union Avenue was constructed in 1919 and had been enlarged several times since then.  Shown in front are two fire trucks and a 1947 Cadillac ambulance.

Right:  The present day firehouse on Burlington Avenue along with the 1973 Seagrave pumper, taken in the late 1990s.

current fire house and 53.jpg
bottom of page