Rockledge Fire Company Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
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The Department Since 1903
 
 

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  Today, the Hook and Ladder Room is an important and vital link to the health of the fire company. It generates the largest proportion of the fire company's operating budget. The hall is constantly booked, all weekend long, for months in advance.

  In 1993, an underground Sunoco APLUS tank leaked gasoline into Rockledge's sewer system. The company was first called to Park Ave but they were able to trace it to the source at the APLUS station. The company spent a full day on the scene, flushing out the sewer system.

  The last couple of decades have seen the Borough of Rockledge grow to full capacity. There remain only a few open lots along with some playgrounds on the north and south sides. During this time, many challenges face Rockledge Fire Company in regards to the large industrial buildings and daycare centers in the community. Residential single-family dwellings surround most of the large buildings in Rockledge. With this in mind, the fire company systematically developed preplans on the bigger buildings in Rockledge and worked with area daycare centers to develop escape plans.

  One of the buildings preplanned was located at 27 Jarrett Ave. Located in the center of town, Infanta Knitting Mill was a three story hosiery factory, measuring 90' x 180'constructed of all brick walls with structural steel supports and heavy timber flooring and roof. In 1985, the mill closed it doors. Being surrounded by residential homes, any plans for conversion of this property met with heavy protest by residents. Consequently, the building sat abandoned and started to deteriorate. Faced with many obstacles, including oil soaked floors, lack of water supply, exposures and the fact the sprinkler system was no longer being maintained, the fire company updated the preplan in 1992. Expecting a worst-case scenario, a meeting was held with mutual aid companies that would respond in the event of a confirmed fire.

  February 13th 1995, shortly before 1:15 PM, children across the street at the Holy Nativity Nursery school were practicing an indoor fire drill. One preschooler, wearing a plastic junior firefighter helmet, looked out the window toward the mill and yelled, "FIRE!" At 1:15 PM, with temperatures below freezing and winds blowing 10-15 miles per hour, Montgomery County emergency 911 center received multiple calls of a mill fire. Stations 9 (Rockledge) , 4 Cheltenham and 8 ( Huntingdon Valley ) were dispatched to 17 Jarrett Ave. Rockledge Deputy Chief saw heavy smoke two blocks away. Knowing that since neighbors reported the call, the wrong address had been dispatched and therefore the automatic dispatch per the preplan was not activated. The deputy immediately requested station 200 (McKinley). Upon arrival of the first engine, the fire company was presented with fire blowing out the 2nd and 3rd floor. Within 10 minutes, the second (Stations: 11, Bryn Athyn; 850,860 Jenkintown; 95 Hatboro) and third (station 500 Roslyn; Eastern Montgomery County Large Diameter Task Force: Oreland, Fort Washington , Wissahickon, Barren Hill, North Penn, Horsham and Colmar ) alarms were struck.

  There were a total of four aerial streams, seven deluge guns and six hand lines in service to protect the exposures and extinguish the fire, totaling 12,000 gallons per minute. It was necessary to evacuate seven houses. Two houses were on either side and the others were directly across the street. The fire was placed under control in 3 1/2 hours.

  The fire destroyed the mill. Engine 9-1 lost four lengths of supply line, which melted in the street (the line was charged at the time). A two car garage, next to the mill, containing a car was lost. The house on the right side of the mill had smoke damage and a two- story barn was damaged. Houses across the street suffered melted siding and cracked windows. No one was injured and no homes were lost.

  The company currently owns three apparatus: a 1981 Supthen, a 1999 KME and a 1992 Rescue Ford Saulsbury. The Sup then 1250 GPM Pumper was delivered and housed in January of 1981. It carries 500 gallons of water, ground ladders, and 1,000 feet of 5" hose. It also carries 6 men. The Supthen got a $3,000.00 overhaul on its electrical system in January of 2003. This included a new strobe light, new wiring, new lighting, and moving the turn signals from the side to the front of the truck.

  The 1999 KME 1500 GPM Pumper carries 1000 ft of 5-inch hose as well as a single set of ground ladders: 26ft., 14 ft. and 10ft. long. It also carries up to 9 men, enclosed. It was housed October 17, 1999.

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Rockledge Fire Coats
Fire Cheifs
     
  Gerald P. Morris Jr.
Kenneth M. Costello
Russell W. Hellyer Sr.
Kenneth M. Costello
Albert W. Wartman
William H. Foxall Jr.
Robert Salanik
William H. Foxall Jr.
William Kern
Raymond H. Troth Jr.
Robert C. Snyder Sr.
James Carter
Frank Belzoid
Frederick Kern
Albert Longstreth
Edward Laferty
Harry Laferty Jr.
J. Miller
John Penkerton
Harry Bratzler
G.B. Harper
Harry Bratzler
Clarence Coly
William Snyder
Gilbert R. Russel
C. Hibbs
J. Manogue
F.B. Weiss
John J. Schlett
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