Independent Fire Company # 1 History
On May 6, 1914 C.E. Buckley, Edgar Lippincott, Bert Buckley, Edward Dickerson, Lloyd Warren, Harry Roberts Sr., Chester Buckley, Simpson Cousart, John Smith, John Oliver, Dudley Dickerson and Ridgeway Regars met at John Smith's to talk about forming a fire company. A temporary organization was formed with Edgar Lippincott temporary chairman and John Oliver temporary secretary, no progress was made and the group met again at the Springside School on May 20, 1914. It was not until an available lot was found that a permanent organization would be formed. The group gathered for a third time on June 3, 1914 and the Independent Fire Company #1 of Springside, Burlington Township elected the following as officers: President John C. Smith, Vice-President Joseph Rodman, Secretary John H. Oliver, Treasurer C.E. Buckley and Collector Edgar Lippincott.
An agreement to purchase a lot at Rancocas Road and Chapel Avenue from Miss Hall for $200 was reached. The fire company charter was closed on August 12, 1914. Construction progressed through the winter with members making concrete blocks in their cellars, work continued and during this period it was decided that the building would have metal walls and ceiling rather than plaster. Upon completion in 1915 the two story block building was insured for $1,000. At the December 1915 meeting John C. Smith was elected as the first Fire Chief along with the first Assistant Chief, William Lowden. A request was made to Endeavor Fire Co. of Burlington City to borrow their old chemical truck. This was agreed to and the first piece of fire apparatus was placed in service on January 7, 1916. This was followed by others; a 1913 Marmon car which was converted by the members, a 1921 Ford chassis purchased by the Burlington Township Council and converted into a chemical truck by the members and a 1929 Ford Model T truck with two 35 gallon chemical tanks.
On July 3, 1922 the company joined the Fireman's Relief Association and sixteen years after the first piece of apparatus was placed into service the company bought their first motorized pumper. On March 10, 1932 a Hahn Pumper with white suction hoses and white sidewall tires was purchased. During the summer of 1939 the company responded to an unusual call at Sylvan Lake Park, a cross being burned by the Klu Klux Klan which was extinguished. An ordinance was adopted by the Burlington Township Council on March 19, 1940 which established the Burlington Township Fire Department, made up of the Independent Fire Company #1 and the Beverly Road Fire Company #2 (Organized 1925.)
During World War II the firehouse was used by groups to make bandages, scrap metal was collected, blackout curtains were installed and a committee was appointed to man the firehouse 24 hours a day to prevent sabotage to the apparatus. Television came to the firehouse in July of 1948 after the pool table was removed. As time went by and due to the need for expansion a motion was made in April of 1949 to proceed with the demolition of the old building. The present home of the Independent Fire Co. #1 was constructed with only two overhead doors and a kitchen. Three walls were bulit before the old building was destroyed and many manhours were put into the new bigger building which was completed the same year it was started.
Over the years a portion of the firehouse was used for many purposes, as an office for the Township Clerk, a school classroom, a barber shop and a Sunday school. The year 1952 brought several changes, the siren was blown everyday at 5 o'clock for test, an agreement was signed to provide fire protection for the New Jersey Turnpike, the Ahrens-Fox firetruck purchased two years earlier was sold and a new 1952 Ford Maxim pumper with a 1000 gallon tank was delivered. The Independent Fire Co. #1 added another pumper in 1957with the delivery of a 1957 Mack B pumper which has was retired from service about 5 years ago after 46 years. This unit still serves the department at public education events, funerals and as a show piece at other events.
In keeping with the future expansion again was started in 1959 with the construction of the second floor. This project did not move as fast as the first floor, the hall was not completed until early 1964. With thoughts in mind of being a progressive fire company we added a 1967 Mack Diesel pumper which was the first diesel firetruck in Burlington County. Today in addition to the '57 Mack B (F3011), Station 301 as we have become known as houses a 2010 Pierce Squrt (F3014), a 1993 Pierce Lance pumper (F3012) and a 1989 Pierce Rescue Unit (F3018) and a 2010 Chevy 2500 Utility (3017). The members today are just as proud and dedicated to the Independent Fire Co. #1 as our brother firemen who organized the FIRST fire company in Burlington Township 99 years ago.