The Upper Saucon Volunteer Fire Co of Lanark, Pennsylvania, was
organized in 1953 with Karl Weber as its first president. The
first piece of equipment was a second-hand pumper, built in 1920
by the Seagraves Co. and purchased from Allentown's Liberty Fire
Company. It was housed in rented quarters along Route 309,
in Lanark. Although it was old and outmoded, it never failed us
in time of need.
On July 19, 1958, a new pumper was dedicated and housed. Preceding the
dedication services at Lanark, the people of Upper Saucon
Township were given a preview of the equipment...old and
new...in a parade, led by the Richlandtown Band, that covered a
route of 25 miles. It was a clear hot July day and people all
along the route cheered and waived as the trucks with sirens
screaming and red lights flashing, passed by. Also in the
parade, was fire equipment from neighboring townships.
In August, 1959,a four acre tract of land along old Route
309(now known as Lanark Road) midway between Lanark and Center
Valley was purchased as the site of the future new fire company
quarters. In March, 1960, with Elmer Wagner as President, plans
were made to build.
Early in December, 1960, our equipment was moved into its new
quarters. On December 17, cornerstone laying ceremonies were
held with Karl Weber, our first President, as Master of
Ceremonies. Elmer Wagner, President, and Roger Knecht,
representing the Supervisors, took an active part in the laying
of the cornerstone. This was followed by a formal grand opening
of the social room.
In April, 1961, a 1951 ford walk-in van was purchased as a
utility vehicle to carry our extra fire fighting equipment.
The years 1967 and 1968 must go down in this history as two of
the most progressive years to date. In the fall of 1967, we
added 32,000 sq. ft. costing $40,000 to our quarters. This
addition included space for five pieces of equipment, a new
kitchen and rest rooms. Renovations to the Social Quarters
doubled its floor space.
In may, 1968, we purchased a 1948 Ford fuel tanker with a 1,400
gallon capacity. We converted it into our tank truck by mounting
a Hale pump and three-quarter inch booster line and reel in the
rear compartment. Metal cabinets were mounted on both undersides
of the tank, beacon light, siren and radio completed our third
piece of fire fighting equipment.
In the year 1969, we began catering to small receptions, and the
parking facilities were enlarged to coincide with this. In
April, 1969, a new four-wheel heavy duty three-quarter ton Dodge
pick-up truck, red in color, was for sale at a reduced price at
a local auto dealer that was going out of business. The vehicle
and price were ideal for what we made into our present brush
truck and first out vehicle; a snowplow with all attachments was
also included. Joseph Ponstingl, one of our mechanical minded
fireman, built a 200-gallon tank to carry on the body of the
truck. A Gorman Rupp pump and 1" booster line and reel were
mounted on the tank. A portable generator and lights and Indian
tank also carried on the body of the vehicle. Beacon lights,
siren and radio completed the job, and another fine piece of
added to fill our growing needs.
In 1970, we set aside $15,000.00 toward the purchase of new fire
equipment. This money was obtained from our annual fund drive,
the Ladies Auxiliary yearly donation and other fund raising
projects. We also added 1,300 feet of new fire hose, two Scott
air packs and three spare air tanks and a Poyhaten hose washer.
The new Mack CF pumper(2712) fully equipped with 1,000 gallon
tank and a 1,000 gallon per minute pump, was delivered on
October 15, 1971. Truck housing and dedication exercises were
held on Sunday, November 14, 1971 at 2:00 P.M. All residents and
friends of Upper Saucon were invited to attend this auspicious
In 1974, we purchased an emergency rescue truck under the
direction of Assistant Foreman, Ron Bauer. We renovated and made
many improvements to it. This truck has won a prize for the best
equipped emergency truck in every competition in which it was
entered. Also in 1974, we purchased Hurst's the Jaws Of Life
tool. This is the best piece of equipment for freeing a victim
from an accident. In the Spring of 1974, a building committee
was formed to look into making still another addition to our
fire station. We felt that more space would be necessary if we
would someday have ambulance service. In the Fall of 1974, a
committee was formed to look into establishing an ambulance
By mid 1975, bids were put out for a building addition, several
months later construction was started. In September 1975, a
training school was set up for the proposed ambulance service.
In December 1975, a Cadillac Ambulance was purchased for $7,500
and later $7,500 of equipment was added to it.
In January 1976, the Upper Saucon Fire Company Ambulance Corps
was formed and officers were elected. Immediately after the
training school was completed...March 29, 1976... ambulance
service was started. In March of 1976, the new addition was
completed and renovations were made to parts of the original
building at a cost of $72,000. The five-bay engine room is 82'
by 52' in size, with four storage rooms in the rear and also an
office and two lavatories. A 15' by 34' dining room was
completed to add to our present 36' by 38' Social room. A facade
was placed on the full 135-foot front of the building, with
2-foot letters "UPPER SAUCON FIRE CO". In 1976, a Kitchen
Building Committee was appointed to enlarge our kitchen so we
could operate and service more efficiently
In September of 1977 we opened our Kitchen Week-ends and for
special social nights.
In September 1979, a truck committee was formed to consider a
new truck, taking into
account projections of growth patterns in our township for the
next 10 years. The committee
decided on a Mack CF Telesquirt with delivery due in 1981.
In 1981 unit 2711 was delivered a Mack CF Telesquirt with a 1250
gpm pump a 500 gallon
water tank and a 50' telesquirt. The present officers spent
countless hours equipping and
preparing this truck for service. The dreams of the past few
years are now reality; this truck
is now in service.
In 1984, the purchase of 1000' of large diameter hose, which is
5" in diameter, was added to
our pumpers to deliver large quantities of water to a fire
In 1985, Another 1000' of large diameter hose was purchased to
give us a total of 2000'. With
a need to replace our 13 year old GMC Rescue Truck, which was
purchased in 1974, a
committee was formed and in May of 1985 we took delivery of a
new Mack MC Chassis with
an 18' Swab body. This Fire/Rescue truck has the latest
innovations and was designed for
the needs of today as well as tomorrow. A lot of time and
research was spent by the truck
committee to develop and equip this new truck which has a
complete air system, an
8,000 pound electric winch, a Hurst Rescue System, 12,000 watt
generator, a command post
and much more. Once again our communities growing needs were
The time period between 1986 and 1990 has once again brought
many changes and
challenges to our department. To keep up with the current and
projected growth of the
township we have initiated a program to update current
equipment. Personal protection is
always a great concern of ours. With this in mind, all personal
protective equipment has been
updated to current National Fire Protection Standards.
In January of 1987, a Bauer Compressed Air System was purchased.
This unit will enable us
to supply all breathing air that will normally be required at a
fire or hazardous scene.
Communications is a vital link to any successful incident.
Personal pagers and truck radios
have also been updated. Truck radios can now scan from 4 to 32
fire channels. With the ever
increasing need to talk to manufacturers concerning hazardous
materials on scene, a cellular
phone was installed in the rescue truck (Unit 2741). This has
proven to be very beneficial in
The training program for our department is always improving.
There are state programs in
which we attend. We are proud to say that most of our department
has complied with them.
Two such programs are the Firefighter I & II and the Department
of Health Vehicle Rescue.
We also comply with state regulations on training for Hazardous
Materials. A county
Hazardous Material Team is set up to deal with more intense
problems. Several of our
members are charter members of this fine team.
1991 was certainly one of the most progressive years of our
history. The addition of a
1990 75' Baker Aerialscope (Unit 2731) will definitely play an
important role in the firefighting
capabilities of this department and the ever growing community.
Also Purchased to replace
our present Brush truck, was a 1991 Chevrolet one ton pickup.
Early in the year twenty
Scott Air Paks were bought to replace the older units that were
in service for many years.
1997, the fire company and its social quarters became separate
entities. They no longer are affiliated and the fire company
became the Upper Saucon Volunteer Fire Department #1. As part of
this separation the property was divided.
In late 1997 there were eight vehicles occupying five bays in a
building approx. 5000 sq. ft.
The ability to enlarge this building was limited by the
placement and lack of property. As such,
property was sought by the township. Franklin Lictenwalner a
member of our department for
many years who owned farm property nearby, approached our fire chief with a proposal
to donate some land to the township for the new fire dept. That
is where the new station
currently resides on Hopewell rd in Center Valley on 4 acres.
The station was named the
"FRANKLIN STATION" In appreciation of his many years of service
and his great contributions
in the past and present. On Sept. 28 1997 Upper Saucon Volunteer
Fire Dept. #1 broke ground
for the construction of the new station. The right 3 bays of the
Lanark Road station are still in use by the Upper Saucon VFD.
On October 10, 1998 Upper Saucon V.F.D. had the
dedication and open house for
the new "Franklin Station". The building is a single story,
approximately 15,000 square feet
and "T" shaped. It contains a communication center, living
quarters, administrative offices,
work areas, hose tower, Decon room, SCBA room, training/meeting
room which can be used
for emergency rehab or a staging area, plus it has six truck
bays, one of which is a pass through
for our 75' tower unit. The building's design is intended to
blend with the surrounding community
and provide a safe driving pattern for those arriving in
response to an alarm. Its bays are
secluded and the landscape is functional. For example, our
neighbors are shielded by a
double row of pine trees, which act as a light barrier for
trucks pulling out of the station at night.
The building provides the needed room to house our present level
of operations while
allowing for expansion to meet community growth. One unique
feature is the center row of
truck bay ceiling lights. When an alarm is sounded, these lights
turn on automatically which
at night allows the fire fighters to enter a lit building.