Old
CHESTER
in Delaware County, PA

 OldChesterPa.com: Fire Department

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Contacting me: - Update

I have temporarily cleared a small amount of space in my email box. However, spam continues to be a problem. To be sure you get through the filters, be sure to include the name of our city somewhere either in the subject or the body of your email.
You can contact me by phone. Follow this link for phone number.  -John

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Chester Fire Alarm System and list of Fire Box Locations

Chester Times article about December 4, 1945 Rotary Award for Outstanding Service

fire_dept_wwi_plaque.jpg (74289 bytes)

Plaque on the exterior of Chester's 1724 Courthouse
"Dedicated to the Chester Fire Department
in appreciation of loyal service rendered in the World War" (WWI)

(Photo taken October 2001)


Chester's Fire Department has been a staffed by full time paid fire fighters operating out of 2 new fire stations since 1989. The main headquarters is at Station 82 at 320 East 14th Street and the second station, 81, is located at 1501 West Third Street.

Prior to the full time paid department, there were 5 Fire Companies in the city.  The only "paid" staff were the drivers. The rest were all volunteers. The Assistant Chief and Fire Chief received nominal salaries and the Chief had the use of the "red car". Chiefs first served 4 years as 2nd Assistant, 4 years as 1st Assistant and then 4 years as Chief.

Two of the Chester Fire Departments (Felton and Hanley) were sent by Chief Samuel J. Palmer to assist in the great Baltimore (MD) fire of February 7, 1904.  In spite of some members spending over 24 hours on the fire line, none of the Chester firefighters was injured.  They did not, however, return to Chester for nearly a week.

Chief Palmer, son of Samuel P. Palmer who operated a brick yard in the West End, once authored and published a history of the Chester Fire Department.  In later life he worked at the A. H. Wirz Company, and died on January 23, 1923 at age 71.

See also: Historical Summary of the Chester Fire Department in 1902


Among Chester Fire Chiefs:

Picture Name Dates Fire Company Recollections/Comments
  KERLIN, John 1869-1871    
  STORY, Charles A. 1871-1873    
  KERSHAW, Jonathan 1873-1875    
  HORNING, George L. 1875-1877    
  BOWERS, Andrew J 1877-1879    
  McMONIGAL, John 1879-1881    
  DOLTON, William Sr. 1881-1883    
  EWING, William 1883-1885    
  HARGREAVES, Thomas 1885-1888    
  McCLURE, Andrew 1888-1892    
  BROOKS, Thomas N 1892-1893    
  BOOTH, John W 1893-1896    
  KELLY, James 1896-1899    
  CREAGAN, William 1899-1899    
  ROBINSON, Thomas J 1899-1902    
  PALMER, Samuel J. 1902-1904    
  McCAREY, Edward 1904-1908    
  MAHON, Oliver 1908-1912    
  SLATER, Lincoln 1912-1916    
  BURKE, Taylor C 1916-1920    
  HEILIGAS, Allen 1920-1924    
  BAUER, John F. 1924-1928   Thanks to
Joseph E. Bauer, Sr., grandson
  BERRY, Thomas C 1928-1932    
  CALHOUN, Alexander 1932-1936    
Thomas R. Canavan; Photo courtesy of Florence (Smalley) Knott
Thomas R. Canavan
Photo courtesy of
Florence (Smalley) Knott, granddaughter
CANAVAN, Thomas R 1936-1940 Good Will "My Grandfather, Thomas R. Canavan, was a master mechanic. He worked for the city of Chester in the big garage that used to be downtown. He also was a master carpenter a very good house builder. He was a great Grandfather."

-Florence (Smalley) Knott

  PIERCE, Joseph 1940-1944 Felton  

Elmer Weigand; Photo courtesy of Bob Weigand, grandson
Elmer Weigand,
Photo courtesy of Bob Weigand, grandson, BnMWEIGAND@aol.com

WEIGAND, Elmer January 1944 - 1948 Franklin "My grandfather Elmer [Weigand] was the city fire chief and the city electrician who installed the first traffic light in the city." - 6

First assistant (1944) was Ellwood Webster

Second Assistant (1944) was James A. Devlin

Ellwood Webster; Photo courtesy of Bob Weigand
Ellwood Webster
Photo courtesy of Bob Weigand, BnMWEIGAND@aol.com
WEBSTER, Elwood 1948-1952 Hanley  
James Devlin; Photo courtesy of Bob Weigand
James Devlin
Photo courtesy of Bob Weigand, BnMWEIGAND@aol.com
DEVLIN, James 1952-1954 Moyamensing In January 1944 Devlin was Second Assistant Chief. He was also the city's building inspector.
  CALHOUN, John 1954-1956    
Chief Harry Bomberger, Jr.; Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book
Harry Bomberger
Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord, ldamm3usn@comcast.net,
from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book, 1982
BOMBERGER, Harry A. 1956-1960 Good Will  
Chief Lewis Harper; Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book
Lewis Harper
Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord, ldamm3usn@comcast.net,
from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book, 1982
HARPER, Lewis   Felton  
Chief Thomas O. McClelland; Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book
Thomas O. McClelland
Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord, ldamm3usn@comcast.net,
from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book, 1982
McCLELLAND, Thomas O.   Franklin  
Chief Joseph Landino; Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book
Joseph Landino
Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord, ldamm3usn@comcast.net,
from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book, 1982
LANDINO, Joseph

[Obituary]

  Hanley  
Chief Robert Ogden; Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book
Robert Ogden
Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord, ldamm3usn@comcast.net,
from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book, 1982
OGDEN, Robert   Moyamensing  
Chief Thomas Edwards; Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book
Thomas Edwards
Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord, ldamm3usn@comcast.net,
from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book, 1982
EDWARDS, Thomas   Good Will First Chief of the new "paid" Chester Fire Department
Chief Robert Grayson; Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book
Robert Grayson
Photo courtesy of Leigh Allvord, ldamm3usn@comcast.net,
from the Felton Fire Co. 100th Anniversary book, 1982
GRAYSON, Robert      


Thanks to William H. Crystle, 3rd, miserabill@aol.com , and to Florence E. O'Bryan FBionicBlonde@aol.com, for adding to our list of Fire Chiefs


Chester's New Paid Fire Department

The Chester Firefighters Union IAFF Local 1400 Web Site

Picture of Chester's new 2002 Pierce 85' Aerial Platform

A more complete listing of members of the "New" Paid Fire Department

Thomas Edwards

First "paid" Chief (formerly with Good Will for many years)

Joe Cliffe

Retired as Commissioner in March 2002 after 26 years of service in the Department

James L. Johnson, Commissioner - 5

Became Commissioner in April 2002 after having served as Deputy Commissioner. James Johnson has been on the force since joining the department as an apprentice in 1977.

 

Thanks to Raymond (Ray) Lambert, Jr., bluefungus@home.com and to David J. Wojs, Jr., wojs@snip.net, for the following lists of more recent and current members of the Chester Fire Department:

AF/F John Albany Jr - 10
Matthew Birney - 1
Albert Capasso - 3
Marvin R. Cherry (deceased), Fire Captain
Joseph Cliffe, Fire Commissioner
Robert Combes (deceased), Firefighter
Harry (Bud) Cornish (deceased), Firefighter
George "Poo" Detweiler
Edward (Eddie) Diggins
John "Junior" Francis, (deceased), Firefighter
Robert Friend
Dave Gamble
John (Jack) Gresch - 5
Richard Griffin, Assistant to the Fire Commissioner
Rudell "Rudy" Hollis, (retired), Firefighter
AF/F Devon Johnson - 10
Walter "Koko" Kokoszka, (d. 3/14/2001) - 4
Raymond "Count" Lambert Sr., (President for Local 1400 IAFF)
Mark A. Lewandowski - 8
Frank Lloyd - 3
James "Jimmy" MacDonald (deceased), Fire Captain
Butch McClelland - 3
Vincent "Moose" McLaughlin (deceased), Fire Captain
Richard McGinn (deceased), Firefighter
Anthony "Jeff" Majeski (d. 1980 at age 51), originally a member of Hanley Hose. - 9
George Manz - 3
John Mattiavich, Firefighter
Henry "Obie" O'brian
James "Porky" Owens, Jr. (Department member for 50 years until his retirement in 1985) - 3
Ed Pack - 3
Cleven W. Pender (deceased), Firefighter
"Skip" Pennewell
AF/F Willam Rigby - 10
Larry Scarpato
Ronald "Ronnie" Stevens (retired), Firefighter
William Suter, Fire Captain
Frank Trasatti, Jr. (deceased), Firefighter
Raymond Truax (retired), Batallion Chief
Herman "Hal" Walker
Curtis Weigand (deceased), Firefighter
Ron "Ronnie" Williams (retired), Firefighter
David J. Wojs (deceased), Fire Lieutenant

"That is a brief list off the top of my head.   All these guys who died could be linked directly to the Wade site fire [February 2, 1978].  All had some form of cancer which killed them.  Those who survive them have had health problems since.  All these guys gave a lot for Old Chester Pa."
Raymond (Ray) Lambert, Jr.

1 - Thanks to Mary MacLean Birney, Kitchmagi@aol.com, sister-in-law, for this information.

Apprentice Firefighters, Class of 1977 - 2
This, the first class of Chester Firefighters, attended Fire Training school at Felton Fire Station #5.

"The school was 12 weeks, and included all aspects of firefighting.  Upon completion we were all given assignments to complete our apprenticeship. We were split up between The Franklin Concord Ave, Moyaminsing 9th and Potter, Goodwill 23rd and Walnut, Goodwill 400 block of Highland Ave., and the New Station on 3rd and Tilgman St."
Michael Wesley, bucks 854@hotmail.com

Lawarence Archibald
Gregory Glascow
Jerald Herrell
Rudell Hollis
James Johnson
Vernon Jones
Kermit Lewis
Roland Lytle
John Matjahevicz
Joesph Morse
Cleveland Pender
Thomas Robinson
Larry Thomas
Michael Wesley

This was the second class in the history of Chester fire department to attend Philadelphia fire academy. We were the 167 Philadelphia fire recruit class, hired in May 1994: - 7

Everett Charlton
Charles Evers
Raymond Petty
Frank Forbes
Ronald Cacciatore

(also one other name removed by request)

 

Apprentice Firefighters in 1989:
Anthony "Rock" Capasso
Steve Carr
Anthony Cox
John "Stick" Hladasz (deceased)
Ray "Count Jr." Lambert Jr., (Capt. & Shop Steward in Local 1400 IAFF)
Stacy Landrum
Robert E. Marshall
Eugene "Load" Maysky
C. Walter McCray (resigned, D.J. in Brookhaven now)
Clarence Pearsall
Kevin Snyder
Glenn Suter
Elijah "Tuffy" Walker (resigned)

Apprentice Firefighters in 1990:
James "Jay" Griggs
Aaron Jones
Daniel Pierdomenico
Gordon Pippin
Joe Pretti
Joseph Rivera 3rd
Joseph Rhoads
Christopher Workman

Class of 2004: 
[Picture]
AF/F John Albany Jr
AF/F Devon Johnson
AF/F Willam Rigby

Class of 2007:

Class of 2007: Pictured from Left to right are: Jonathan Ley, Gordon D Pippin, Herbert Rice, Clifford Scranton, Kevin Quinn, Trevor Thomas; Photo courtesy of Gordon D Pippin
Pictured from Left to right are: Jonathan Ley, Gordon D Pippin, Herbert Rice, Clifford Scranton, Kevin Quinn, Trevor Thomas

There are 6 new Apprentice firefighter hires as of March 12th 2007, I myself am one of them. I included you their names and a picture. I am the son of current F/F Gordon T Pippin, so you don't think there's duplicate names on the site. 


Neighboring
Fire Departments
Brookhaven Fire Department

The Brookhaven Fire Department assists with calls in the City of Chester.


Eddystone Fire Department

"The Eddystone Fire Department was backup to Chester Fire and Ambulance for years."

-Thanks to John Fusco, JFF21@rcn.com

William Watson, brother to George and Harry [Watson], was a member of the Eddystone Fire Department.

-Thanks to Lee Bennington, RLBenni@netscape.net


Chester Township Fire Company
formerly Felton Hose & Chemical Co.
Concord Rd., Feltonville

Click here to visit the Chester Township Fire Company's web site.

Among the known members:
Robin Albert (Jr. Member)
Paul Crowther (Jr. Member)
George Schlipf (Jr. Member)
Harry C. Schlipf Jr. (Jr. Member)

"We celebrated our 85th anniversary in September 2006.

Chuck Lentine, President [Email]
Chester Township Fire Company
2410 Concord Rd.
Chester Township, PA 19013


Garden City Fire Department
Wallingford, PA

The Garden City Fire Department assists with calls in the City of Chester.


Parkside Fire Department

The Parkside Fire Department assists with calls in the City of Chester.

Visit the Parkside Fire Department's web site at:
www.parkside45.com

Thanks to Jim Brees, Assistant Chief,  for the new link!


Upland Fire Department

The Upland Fire Department assists with calls in the City of Chester.



On the lighter side...

In April 1900 the Chester Times reported a serious fire at Gartside Mill, Front & Fulton Streets.  During the fire, there was a rebellion and fighting among the firemen from Hanley & Franklin Fire Companies.  Instead of pouring water on the fire, they were dumping it on each other.

from the Delaware County Daily Times "Other Times" 100 Years Ago by Len Casterline, April 16, 2000


Thanks to the following for contributing information for the Chester Fire Department pages:

1 Mary Ann, MBell37505@aol.com
Katherine Diggins
Raymond (Ray) Lambert, Jr.
William H. Crystle, 3rd
2 - Michael Wesley,
bucks854@hotmail.com
3 - Jim Owens, son of James "Porky" Owens, Jr., FIREPFD29@aol.com. James "Porky" Owens is the son of Chester Police Captain James L. Owens.
4 - Walter Koko Kokoszka's daughter, KDIZZIDEE@aol.com
5 - John (Jack) Gresch, JGresch@aol.com
6 - Bob Weigand, BnMWEIGAND@aol.com
7 - CEvers1893@aol.com
8 - Mark Lewandowski, Markusmc0321@aol.com
9 - Mike Majeski, son, mmajeski@middletowntownship.org
10 - John Albany, Jr.


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If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute information about the history of the Chester Fire Department, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.cominesses in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com


2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 John A. Bullock III.

This page last updated 07/13/07

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