Catasauqua Press

Monday, November 20, 2017
PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH MILLER AND LARRY OBERLYMembers of the Alliance Fire Company, 1910 PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH MILLER AND LARRY OBERLYMembers of the Alliance Fire Company, 1910
PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH MILLER AND LARRY OBERLYAlliance’s fire truck, a Mack, was purchased in 1938. PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH MILLER AND LARRY OBERLYAlliance’s fire truck, a Mack, was purchased in 1938.
Members of the Alliance Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, 1965 Members of the Alliance Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, 1965

New fire company in borough

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 by Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

Volunteer fire companies are comprised of dedicated men and women who provide valuable services to our communities. They spend countless hours in training, preparing to protect our citizens from fire and natural disasters.

I was given some rare photographs of the Alliance Fire Company from one of my fine former students, Ruth Miller. Ruth, for years, has owned a well-known Northampton insurance agency. Both her father and mother were active in the Alliance Fire Company and the ladies auxiliary.

Northampton’s first fire company was situated in a barn behind what is today Assante, the popular Main Street restaurant. The company was named Siegfried Fire Co. Its equipment was composed of a horse-drawn pumper. The company faded from the scene in 1882.

Northampton traces its history back to the Colonial era, yet the town was not incorporated into a borough until 1902, when the community accepted the name Alliance, Pa. Without a functioning fire company, a group of determined citizens met at Sheiry’s Hall on Main Street Oct. 28, 1902. They named the new company Alliance Fire Co. No. 1, taking the new community’s name.

The first fire chief, A.O. Sheiry, was succeeded in 1907 by W.W. Hunt, who owned and operated a store across from the new fire station. He could run across Lincoln Avenue to drive the horse-drawn chemical and hose wagon, which replaced a hand-drawn apparatus.

The age of the motor-driven truck arrived at Alliance in 1914 when a Webb pumper was purchased. It is difficult to believe, but the faithful truck was kept in service until April 1938, when a new Mack fire engine was purchased. White would become the traditional landmark color in identifying Northampton’s fire company and fire police vehicles.

In 1940, the company still boasted some of the charter members. The total membership numbered 103.

The Alliance Fire Co. was joined by the Northampton Fire Company in 1909. The company served the first ward of the borough. The second ward also formed Central Fire Company in the same year. Over the years, the companies decided to consolidate to better serve Northampton, so in 1994, a modern fire station was constructed on Lerchenmiller Drive, giving birth to the present Northampton Fire Department.

The company works closely with our neighboring boroughs and townships. A spirit of cooperation, dedication and fellowship has enabled them to answer calls for assistance at any hour 365 days a year.

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In two weeks, I’ll visit the area’s American Legion posts.