"To Support and Maintain a fire Department with the Necessary Equipment for the Protection of Property and Life from Such Fires as they May Occur in the Township of Kennedy and Vicinities"
This very important quote (above) was written into the original charter for the Volunteer Fire Department of Kennedy Township in 1937, which is framed at the police station, still to this day. Not only did the firemen volunteer to fight fires, they have also continued to volunteer time and service to their community. The idea of a volunteer fire department was conceived in the early 1930s by the late Cuthbert Elliot. He, along with his brother Steve, agreed on the idea with a few neighbors, namely Daleton Smith, Hank Sommers, Johnny ratkus, Fred Hantleman, Whiz Zimmerman, and William Morgan. These men donated money to purchase a 1919 sixteen cylinder Cadillac Touring car from Milly's Junk Yard for $25, at the time, and convert it into a fire truck. Mr. Charles Tuz, a local gardener at the time, gave the men permission to construct a small garage for the fire truck on his property. A 1922 Packard was purchased for $10 and converted into a chemical fire truck. Later, an old American LaFrance fire truck was purchased from Natrona. The first fire alarm was an air whistle that was erected atop Carrie Schulers Grocery Store (Where current JD Gales contracting is located). It was operated by Mrs. Schuler when she was informed of a fire by telephone. Later the air whistle was replaced by a cycle air siren.
By the 1940's Kennedy Township was growing and a larger building was needed, to hold the ever increasing equipment of the fire department. The Second World War interrupted these plans as many of the men went into the Service. The remaining men continued to raise money. The old Seneca Club on Fairhaven rd was rented by the firemen, and the profits generated by the club were used to purchase that building and property. By 1947 the present building (current police station) was completed, and the profits from the new Fireman's club were used to purchase more equipment. The Ladies Auxiliary was also formed in the 1940's and they helped in many ways with fund raising projects.
From these humble beginnings, the KTIVFC has evolved into the modern firefighting machine, with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Each fireman must attend one week of training at the Allegheny County Fire Academy, or the equivalency, in addition to serving a year of probation with the department. During that year, he or she attends additional local classes, learning the use and up keep of the equipment and trucks.
While surrounding communities spent in excess of $100,000 yearly to maintain fire departments, the Kennedy Township Volunteer Fire Department has a budget of approximately $6,000, yearly from local taxes. This budget is supplemented by yearly fund drive to which local residents subscribe. However, these funds are negligible to what a paid fire department would cost the Township.
By the 1980's, the department as well as the town has grown even more, needing more, and updated equipment. On June 17, 1981 Ground breaking for the current day firehouse on Pine Hollow Rd began. Many of our men at the time put countless backbreaking time into building our station. On January 17, 1982, The Ribbon cutting ceremony took place for the new station. Jack Havern, Don Castelveter, Bill Sheets, Rege Sullivan, Dennis Wareham, Kevin Parent, Drew Hopay, Carmen Parent, John Conlon, Chuck Lind, Ray D’Amico Al Patrus, Jack Delfaver, Charles Chambers as well as many other members, came to this event for the new station. Some of these men are still current day firefighters for the town! It was minus Eighteen Degrees outside and snowy, and we had over 500 People show up for the ribbon cutting, and open house.
Today, each and every one of our members thank all of those that have really put the time and sweat into making this firehouse and department is what it is today. We wouldn't have, what he have now, if it wasn’t for these men and women. We also extend our thanks to the township for all of their continued support for everything that they do to help us.
As of 2010, the company consists of 1 Engine, 1 Heavy Rescue Pumper, 1 75 foot Tower Ladder, 1 Squad/QRS unit, and 2 Brush Trucks. The department consists of 1 Chief, 1 Assistant Chief, 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 1 Chief Engineer, 1 Assistant Engineer, 35 Firefighters, and 1 Junior firefighter (age 14-17), with a total of 40 members.. We have 3 Paramedics, 16 EMTs, and many more on the way. One of Our newest accomplishments within the fire department, as of February 1, 2010, is that we now assist the local ambulance company with running EMS calls. In the fire service it is called QRS (Quick Responding Services). For the QRS calls one EMT, Paramedic, or First Responder and/or one firefighter responds to these calls and begins treatment before the ambulance arrives. In the event of a storm, or natural disaster the company will have a manned station ready to respond. The fire department is also recognized as a Basic Rescue Company in the state's "Voluntary Rescue Service Recognition" (VRSR) program. Also the department is accredited through the State Fire Commisioner's Office as a "Participating Department." What that means is that at least 10% of the department's members are nationally certified to the Firefighter 1 level.
Recently, The fire department just celebrated 80 years of service in 2017 and they celebrated their 80th Anniversery on 09/23/17. 40 Active members, between Juniors all the way up the hook to the most senior firefighter, including multiple retired members.
"K-Town Fire", as some of the guys call it, has been built up all around Allegheny county and surrounding communities. The 181 house is on the map and we are still making friends, whether on calls, parades, events, or just "hanging out". The Fire department is always accepting new membership for any resident of the town or a surrounding community, if they are seeking to join. Anyone that wishes to join, or take a tour of the station can stop by the station any daylight hours if and when someone is here, or on our drill nights which begin at 6:00 pm every Tuesday evening.
As of 2015, the fire department replaced the 1988 KME ladder truck with a 2015 Sutphen SP-70 Quint with a bucket. The truck seats 7 members will reach just over 70 feet of climbing height, has a 2250 Gallon Per Minute Pump, 500 HP Engine with a 300 gallon water tank. The truck cost roughly $860,000 and was paid though our truck fund based off the annual donations and fund drives, and many fundraisers. In addition, the Township helped us greatly with the purchase and cost of the truck and we cannot thank them enough. Today the company is a 'lean mean firefighting machine'. We still have the same amount of line officers, EMTs have fluctuated as along with our members as we have gained membership and some of the more senior members have retired. With all of this, we are still going strong and plan on for many years to come. The department also took delivery of a rescue engine from Sutphen also in 2017.
*Being a volunteer fireman involves a total commitment on the part of the man and his family to Kennedy Township. When not fighting fires, our men act as Little League Coaches, supervise Halloween and Fourth of July Activates, patrol our streets in Emergencies and disasters, or just plan Dad, bother, mother, uncle, etc. They also serve on various Township Boards of committees, and are elected officials of varying capacities, whether in the department, or with the township. Their wives and children can be seen operating refreshment stands, and concessions at Fairhaven Park, Yearly street fairs, and community days, and participating in vents sponsored by our own Health and Education council, or with Ohio Valley Hospital. Some of the wives have been elected official of their respective Political Parties also. - Annual Quote of the membership passed from decade to decade at all banquets and parties.
Here is your crew today!