In January 1946 a committee was formed to look into the purchase of a new ambulance to replace the old Pontiac, which had been in service since 1938 due to the inability to obtain new vehicles during the war years.  In May, an order was placed for a new Cadillac ambulance

Specifications were received for a new fire truck in February and in March the Apparatus Committee was given approval to purchase a new pumper for $10,800. 

A committee was formed to purchase the WWII Memorial Plaque which was mounted on the front of the firehouse.  In October 1946, Mr. John Malanaphy, a member who had lost both legs in the war, returned to Collingdale No. 1.  John was brought to the firehouse in the ambulance and was in a wheel chair.  He was presented with a check for $250.00 raised mainly through the efforts of the American Legion and a local baseball team.

The new Cadillac ambulance was received from Wolfington Body Co. in September 1947. The old ambulance was sold to Westville Fire Co. of NJ for $1,750.00.

This same month the new pumper was received and arrangements were made for a housing to be held on October 4, 1947. The old pumper was sold to Good Will Co. of Darby Twp. for $100.00.

It was around this time that the borough population increased markedly with the construction of new houses in the area of Westmont Drive and Rively Avenue.

Things sort of returned to normal in 1948.  Major purchases that had been delayed due to the war and rationing were now complete and it was time to get back to basics. A new cooking range was purchased for the hall for the price of $225.00.  Two new, two section aluminum ladders (1- 50 ft. and 1- 35 ft) were purchased.

Bill Cass made a generous donation of a new combination resuscitator, inhalator, and aspirator to the ambulance.  The device was worth over $500.00 and was used for many years.  Bill was made a life member of the Company due to this generous gift to the Company and his many years as an active member.

Coveralls were purchased for use by the ambulance crews. Swarthmore Fire Co. provided their aerial truck to repair the rope on the flag pole at the high school.

The Company won the annual won in the “Tug of War” contest with No. 2 at the 4th of July celebration. The $25.00 prize was turned in to the Company.


A new Cadillac Ambulance from Wolfington Body Co. was received in May of 1949 for a net cost of $1000.00 after trade in of the old ambulance.

A donation of $25.00 was made to the Senior Class of the Collingdale High School for their assistance with the typing for the Fund Drives.  This was a big task involving sending requests for donations to residents of the communities we serve.  The typing class provided a very valuable service to the Company.

The 1950’s seem to have been a period of renewed effort and growth for the Company. New names: March, Dukes, Gspann, Savage, Detweiler, Andy and Joe Munley, Neary, Glatz, Long, Johnson, Bob and Harry Seifert, Howell, Byrnes, Frank & John McNeile and Buchanan are mentioned along with the old regulars; Elmer Ritchie, Leon Wright, Jimmy Taylor, Walter Bardsley and Frank Leonhardt. Although the names changed there was no change in the goal of the members, “to make No 1 the best.”



Two new flags, a Company Flag and an American Flag were ordered.  A committee was formed to look into the purchase of a new City Service Truck.  A Building Committee was appointed to look into a new building. Approval was given for the purchase of a new S&S Cadillac Ambulance for the price of $12,185.

In 1951,   Gene Gspann resigned as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and Bob Glenn, who was the 1st Lieutenant both resigned their offices due to  being called to active duty in the armed forces as a result of the Korean conflict. Arthur Flower, another member who was serving in the Armed Forces in Korea, was killed in action.   Howard Walker was elected to fill Bob’s Office of 1st Lt.. 

The Company took delivery of a new S & S Ambulance which was equipped with a two-way radio.  The ambulance was identified as  “Car 5” on the Sharon Hill Radio Network which has a call sign of KBG 367. 

Tragedy struck the Company at a fire in the Penn Pines section in 1952 when John McNeile died as a result of being overcome by smoke at a fire in the Penn Pines housing development near Aldan. John was trying to rescue a child who, as it turned out, wasn’t in the house.  John had been a valuable member of the Company for many years and had been largely responsible for the construction of the Booster Truck in 1940.

As usual, in cases of this sort, the Insurance Co. refused to pay the claim for the death of John McNeile.  Attorney John Diggins was consulted regarding the matter.  In 1953, Attorney Diggins informed the Company that there is no basis for the claim for John McNeile but that he would research the matter further.  Mr. Diggins was instructed to make this a test case for our Company if it should become necessary.

A second Att’y, Mr. Hodge, was consulted in the matter.  He felt he could get up to $1400 from the Insurance Co. Mrs. McNeile decided that she would accept the $1000 offered by the Insurance Co.  It was moved and seconded that the Company should try to get whatever it can from the insurance company and that the Relief Assoc. should make up the difference to $2000. The matter was finally resolved when the Relief Association reported that the Compensation Board referee awarded $5,670 to Mrs. McNeile. 

A new 1952 Cities Service Truck with a full complement of aluminum ladders was ordered from Mack Fire Apparatus Co.   The price of the truck was $16,022.90.  The truck was received in October. Some modifications to the building were made by the members to facilitate housing the truck. It is reported that the modifications were initiated with a sledge hammer which punched a hole through the apparatus room and the members room which startled the card players seated in the members room.  The new truck replaced the 1928 Hahn City Service Truck which was put up for sale.

In anticipation of future needs of the community, the expansion of the Ambulance Service and the increase in size of modern fire fighting equipment a Building Fund was started to raise $25,000. 

The usual $25.00 donation was given to the Bloomsburg Club of the High School for their help in preparing the Fund Drives.

In March the Ambulance Board of Governors was established with Nevin “Buck” Buchanan, Al Ochs, and Russ Lytle forming the first Board. 

That same month was marked by a major fire at the Shallcross Mfg Co. plant at Jackson and Pusey Ave’s.  The plant produced critical electrical items during WWII and was a major employer in the Collingdale area.

A request was made to the Springfield Water Co. to move the hydrant from Clifton Ave.  to the firehouse side of Bedford Ave.


Plans for a new building drawn up by Mr. Del Butts of Darby No. 2 were submitted for review. 

A new radio was purchased for the ladder truck.

In December, the Ambulance participated in the transfer of patients from the old Lankenau Hospital to the new facility which is located off of Lancaster Avenue in Wynnwood.  40 Ambulances participated, traveling in convoys of six ambulances each with police escort.

In 1954, the ambulance was replaced with another S&S Cadillac at a cost of $11,588.00 less $4588 for the trade in of the old ambulance. 

Collingdale Federal Savings Bank donated Coin Saver Cards, envelopes and printing for the annual fund drives.  Two new typewriters were purchased to be used for the annual fund drives.

There were 129 fire calls and 658 ambulance calls for the year.

A donation of $25.00 was given to the Commercial Class of the High School for their assistance to the Ambulance Drive.

As a fund raising activity, the Company sponsored a Circus (yes a circus with elephants and all) in 1956.  Tickets for the show were $1.00 for general admission and $2.00 for the reserved section.  The circus was held on May 11th at what is now the baseball field on Spruce Street.  Unfortunately, the weather was extremely bad on the day of the performance and the sale of tickets was very difficult and resulted in a loss of money for the Company.  In spitw of the loss, everyone had a godd time although there were no more circuses.

Phil Neary entered a proposal calling for a split of the fifth District Chiefs Assoc. 

The ambulance participated in the transfer of patients from the Metropolitan Hospital in Philadelphia.

In July the purchase of two Scott Air Packs was authorized.  Up to that time the breathing apparatus was the Chem-0x Mask which used a chemical canister to purify and filter smoky air at a fire.  The Chem-Ox masks were developed during WWII.

 A letter of thanks was sent to the Vogue Diner which was located at the corner of Springfield Rd and MacDade Blvd for providing coffee and refreshments to the firemen during the flood at Darby Creek.

At the approach of the 50th Anniversary of the Company there was a concerted effort made to modernize the firehouse.  Several different concepts were considered and a great deal of, sometimes heated, debate ensued.  The first plan, calling for a new two story building was approved and a committee consisting of Leon Wright, Charles Pottiger, Bill Martin, Wes Singer and Elmer Ritchie was formed to go ahead with the plans for the new building.  The building committee then submitted a recommendation and a motion was made to build an addition to the rear of the firehouse.  This motion was defeated and the committee was discharged.  In September, another motion was made and carried that the original plan for a new building in the rear of the existing building be implemented.

In December it was moved that the committee should hold off on its activities until after the election of officers for the next year.

History
1946-1955