In 1952, President Harry S. Truman was nearing the completion of his second term in office, the United States military was involved in the Korean conflict and Americans were singing and listening to the nation’s number one song, “The Blue Tango.”
Meanwhile, in the small village of Reeders, Pennsylvania, a group of men were organizing our fire company in Jackson Township. Prior to this time, the Pocono Township Fire Company in Tannersville was providing our township’s fire emergencies. Some of our founding members had been volunteers with the Pocono Unit.
The material for the construction of our company’s building was made possible by the demolition of an old maintenance building on Old Route #115 at College Hill. The lumber was trucked to Reeders. Trees cut down at Golden Slipper Camp to be used for beams and roof of our first building were cut at two seperate mills, one owned by Emery Anglemeyer and the other by Russ Frable.
Harold Rader, owner of Mountain Springs Lake, donated the first fire truck, which was a 1927 American LaFrance Pumper housed at Golden Slipper Camp, along with a tanker, until the completion of out Fire House. Eventually, the pumper was replaced with a 1950 GMC Tanker.
Our original firehouse was where the current kitchen is located, with two doors opening onto State Route 715. That area held a 1950 GMC Tanker and a 1954 I-H Pickup. In a downstairs bay, a 1948 GMC Tanker was kept.
In March of 1952, our first meeting was called to order by President Donald Rowe. The fire trucks were moved to the side, folding chairs were arranged for members and the other officers. Treasurer Bill Woodling and Secretary George Jones joined Mr. Rowe at the officer’s desk. Mr. Rowe served as president for one year, relinquishing the office to Roy Sebring in 1953. Assuming duties, as our first Fire Chief, was Martin Rinker, followed in the second year by Russell Butz.
Firefighters responded to calls from a siren erected on top of our firehouse. A button at the front of the building activated the siren. There was also a button control in the home of Dick Singer who resided next to the firehouse, and another button at the old Post Office located across the street from the swimming pool at Christine’s Reeders Inn, which was the home of Bill Woodling. Today, firefighters answer to the calls of pagers and text messages. The siren on top of our Fire Company tower is operated from the Monroe County Control Center in Snydersville.
The first fundraisers were door-to-door campaigns, ham and oyster suppers and carivals. Currently, annual year-end letters are mailed to township residents for donations as one fundraiser. Bingo is held in our hall every Tuesday night, we used to serve breakfast to the public the fourth Sunday of each month, various raffles are conducted and Christmas trees are sold by the firefighters. Open House is observed the first Sunday of October each year when the public is invited to meet members of our fire company and to learn what is available to them in the event of an emergency.
Throughout the 50 years, in addition to answering fire and accident calls , our Volunteer Fire Company has answered a variety of rescues including a horse mired in mud, missing people and an air mishap. During Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend 1996, residents heard a single-engine, four-seat piper plane in distress, in the foggy, rainy sky over Jackson Township. One resident claimed that the aircraft vibrated her home and others reported that the plane appeared to be running out of fuel. Since all indications were that the plane was about eight miles south of Mt. pocono, Ken Strausser, our township Fire Chief, became Incident Command Officer and our Jackson Township Fire Company, Station 27, became the command center for the search and rescue operation. Approximately 300 volunteers from surrounding fire companies and other rescue groups joined in the search. The 16-hour rescue operation ended on Sunday in Tunkhannock Township where the small plane had crashed due to low fuel supply. The Gary Knapp family of four from New Jersey were found alive with some injuries. They were returning from a Thanksgiving family visit in Massachusetts. It was later determined by Chief Kenny Strausser and Tunkhannock Fire Chief, George Ewald, that the family would have been killed if the plane had veered 3 feet to either side during its crash. When the rescue was over, it was Thanksgiving again for all of the volunteers, their families and the crash victims, Gary, Marie, Annie and Isa Knapp.
from the 50th Anniversary 1952 – 2002
In 2001 the Board of Trustees of the Jackson Township Fire Company reviewed the requirements needed to house all of their equipment. After days of reviews it was concluded they needed more space to properly house it’s fire trucks. The current eight bays, would not be sufficient or compatible to hold any new apparatus. Vehicle maintenance including washing of trucks in the winter to get the salt off, equipment checks and general maintenance were very difficult to accomplish in these bays. The eight bays were all located below grade in the rear of the fire house. This design allowed rain water to accumulate in front of the bay doors and eventually penetrate the bays on lay on the floor. This condition caused both a safety hazard for the men and also helped increase the speed in which rust was accumulating on the underside of the trucks.
The trustees reviewed all options including the purchasing land to build a substation. The conclusion was that the best solution was to put an extension onto the existing fire house. The extension would consist of six bays and extend from the lower four bays out the rear of the facility running down Reeders Run Road. The new extension would be elevated and placed at ground level allowing the trucks to pull out directly onto Reeders Run Road.
After the decisions were made about location and size it was time to kick the project in full gear. An architect was hired and the formal planning process began. Fire apparatus would be relocated to various parts of the township, which included Diesel Express, Precision Engine and a private garage for the duration of the construction project. Members were assigned to where they would respond to. After numerous meetings with the architect, township supervisors, fire company members, and the securing of a loan the contract was signed on March 29, 2010.
On April 10, 2010 a ground breaking ceremony was held with James S. Hallett, III performing the ceremonial first dig.
December 10, 2010, nine years after the first suggestion was made about an expansion requirement the building was completed and all trucks were moved into their new home.
The building was dedicated on June 25, 2011 in memory of James S. Hallett, III.
Please visit History by Dates for more detailed and interesting facts.