History

The Colonial Park Fire Company #1 was founded on February 7, 1944 by six local citizens who were Air Raid Wardens during World War II. The Colonial Park area, which is part of Lower Paxton Township, had about 3000 people living in it at that time.

The first meeting was held on May 17, 1944 at the Colonial Country Club. The first officers were President, Mr. Richard T. Conway; Vice President, Mr. Charles Stolzer; Recording Secretary, Mr. Lester L. Berlin; Financial Secretary, Mr. William T. Trullinger; Treasurer, Mr. Gehr; Trustees, Mr. James Snyder, Mr. Charles W. McCoy and Mr. A. Burrell. The Fire Officers were Chief, Mr. Richard T. Conway; Assistant Chief, Mr. Wagner and Mr. J. E. Dehner; Captain, Mr. Joseph B. Hutchinson and Lieutenant Mr. William G. Ebersole, Jr.

At the August 1944 meeting, the first engine was purchased; a used American LaFrance chemical truck from Franklintown in York County for $250.00. A tank and pump were added and the truck was kept in a garage behind Trullinger’s store, where Miso Sushi bar currently is. All fire calls were taken by the Trullinger’s.

At a special meeting on February 19, 1945; a plot of ground fifty by one hundred fifty feet located on the northern side of Jonestown Road was purchased from the Penbrook Bank; the asking price was $1000.00. However, the fire company paid $500 and the bank donated the other half of the cost. At a later date, the fire company purchased the fifty foot plot next to the current one for an additional $800.

The next step was to build a firehouse. The fire company borrowed $7,000.00 from the Penbrook Bank and the new station of two bays, a kitchen, office and restrooms was built. The bays would also double as the social hall. On June 3, 1946 the regular monthly meeting of the Colonial Park Fire Company was held for the first time in the new station at 4520 Jonestown Road in front of the mall where Mountz Jewelers is.

On July 4, 1951, a new fire engine from the W. S. Darley Company of Chicago, Illinois arrived at the fire station. This would be the company’s first new engine. At the time of purchase, the company had about $39.00 in the treasury. However the engine cost $14,000.

The following is an excerpt from meeting minutes from February 5, 1953, regarding a bell for the fire truck: Mr. Ralph Meyers of the Union Hose Company of Middletown spoke regarding the bell formerly used on their equipment which had a long history of service. Mr. Charles Brewer Sr., President of the Union Hose Company, presented the bell to us as a token of esteem and service between fellow firemen.

This bell was then placed on the Ford pumper and remained until the truck left the company, and was then placed on the 86 Hahn until being removed in 1998, and is now used for ceremonial purposes.

The firemen did not like the idea that the new engine had to be parked outside when the bays were used for a social hall or fund raising projects, so in April of 1954, an addition to the front of the firehouse was authorized during the monthly meeting; construction to start as soon as possible. At the October 7th meeting of that year, the company arranged for a loan from the Penbrook Banking Company for the sum of $13,000.00 for the erection of the two new bays in front of the fire station.

At the August 4, 1955 meeting, the company reported an offer from Capitol Radio of Lemoyne to provide radio service for the sum of $10.00 a month, thus making the Colonial Park Fire Company the first in the area to have radio equipped fire apparatus.

At the June 2, 1958 meeting, Vice President Bob Fells spoke about a coin card project to help solve our financial needs. This was a very important part of our history.  After this project began in August of 1958, it was the turning point for the company move ahead financially.

A motion was made at the February 7, 1963 meeting to pay off the mortgage on the station. Also at that meeting, a vote was cast to purchase the 1963 Hahn custom pumper to be delivered by June of that year at a cost of $23,612.00. The company received a loan in the sum of $25,000.00 to pay for the pumper and equipment.

At a special meeting called on September 21, 1967, a motion to add a new addition to the firehouse was approved. The company also approved to borrow $65,000.00 for the addition. The new addition was dedicated on June 2, 1968.

At the November 4, 1971 meeting, the company made the decision to purchase a second pumper, due to the fast pace at which the Colonial Park area was growing. A 1973 Hahn Custom 1000 gpm pumper was purchased for $42,505.00, and paid for with cash.

A special meeting was called on June 25, 1973, to address the need for a second station due to the rapid growth of the area. The piece of land off Union Deposit Road was purchased for $8,000.00, and then built with the help of members and a local contractor for a cost of $80,000.00. The station was completed and opened at 1230 p.m. on December 21, 1974, and the first call answered from the new station came in three hours later.

At the September 6, 1979 meeting, a motion was made to purchase another pumper. A 1980 Hahn custom with a 1500 gpm pump was purchased for $91,922.00 and delivered in October of 1980. At this time, the company also voted to sell the 1963 Hahn to Oberlin Gardens Fire Department for $20,000.00. This unit served there until the fire company consolidated, and is now privately owned.

On August 1, 1985, the company purchased an engine/rescue unit. The 1986 Hahn was built by Salisbury Fire Apparatus Incorporated at a cost of $205,284.00.

In January of 1990, Engine 33-1, the 1973 Hahn, was sent to Interstate Truck to be rehabbed at a cost of $155,000.00. The project was completed in April the next year.

In March of 1990, Station 1 on Route 22 began a renovation. This cost $104,759.00 and was completed in July of the next year.

In June of 1996, The Lower Paxton Township Supervisors voted as a part of their budget to purchase a 75′ quint with a 1750 gpm pump. The contract was signed in May of 1997, and the contract given to LTI to build a custom quint with a Spartan chassis, and delivery was made in April of 1998.

At the September 5, 1996 meeting, the company approved the sale of the 1980 Hahn for $17,561.00.

At the June 5, 1997 meeting, the company approved renovations and an addition to Station 2, at a cost of $217,820.00. A second floor was added with larger and modern facilities. Construction was completed in January of 1998.

In 1999, the township approved the replacement of the 1973 Hahn with a new engine/rescue to be delivered in the spring of 2000. The new engine was delivered in August of 2000, and the 1973 Hahn was sold to the West Hanover Township Fire Company for $25,000.00.

In 1999, the Colonial Park Fire Company made the decision to put Station 1 on Route 22 up for sale due to the station being out of date and the high traffic volume that slowed access to the station and made for longer response times. The company will operate out of Station 2 until ground can be bought and a single, more central station built.

On December 11, 2000 Station 1 was sold to Mountz Jewelers and remains a jewelry store to this day.

In 2001,  property at South Houcks Road and North/South Road was purchased, the buildings demolished and site prepared for the new station.

In 2002 after exhausting efforts to obtain traditional financing, a $2,600,000.00 capital campaign was started.  It was an 18 month campaign to raise funds to build the new station through donations from business’ and residents.  The new station on Houcks Road was dedicated on June 2, 2006 and it’s mortgage was burned at the banquet celebrating the 75th anniversary of the company on May 4, 2019.

As of this time, the Colonial Park Fire Company has operated under the command of nine fire chiefs. They are as follows:

Mr. Richard T. Conway

1944-1946

Mr. A. W. McKee

1947-1947

Mr. John Cassel

1948-1948

Mr. Ed Dehner

1949-1962

Mr. Lee Witman

1963-1984

Mr. Tim Pramik

1985-1994

Mr. Ben Shields

1995-2009

Mr. Tom Swank

2010-2016

Mr. John Fogg III

2017-Present

The Colonial Park area has changed in many ways since 1944. The area has grown from a small rural area of mostly single family homes to a large suburban area containing 12 apartment complexes, 7 major school buildings, 2 major shopping centers, several nursing facilities, a hospital and almost a dozen hotels and large office complexes, as well as the addition of the interstate highway system. We now respond to over 700 calls for assistance each year.