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Carlisle Fire Company Celebrates 225 Years of Service - abc27 WHTM

Carlisle Fire Company Celebrates 225 Years of Service

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"Carlisle Fire Company Celebrates 225 Years of Service"

It's a tradition of service that began before George Washington was president. Union Fire Company number One in Carlisle. A 225 year history of ever-changing facilities and equipment, with an unwavering mission.

"The mission of the fire company when it started was to save lives and protect property," said 50-year member Mark Goodling. "Same thing today. We just do it in a different way."

The company was organized in 1789 following a devastating fire in the center of Carlisle. In the company's early years, fire fighting equipment was pulled by hand and housed in crude structures. Cumbersome steamers and bucket brigades were the first line of response until 1910 when, according to company historian Randy Watts, borough officials incorrectly thought horses would be the way to go.

"We had the horses for three years, but they ate us out of house and home," explained Watts. "So, we bought the motorized engine because it was cheaper."

Through the years, what fire fighters used, and how they used it, constantly evolved to meet the challenges of modern life.

As part of the company's bicentennial in 1989, its two story firehouse on West Louther street was retired from service and opened as a fire museum, housing treasured equipment and stories from the past.

"There was an airplane in the area and the fire was so noticeable that they circled the fire for about five minutes in the airplane before they flew on to Pittsburgh," said Watts, pointing out a picture of the smoky blaze.

On both floors of the museum, visitors cane see hundreds of pictures, books and artifacts that tell the story of Union's rich fire fighting history.

Pointing out another conflagration, Watts noted: "The other large fire was the Bowman's fire. That was Carlisle's first million dollar fire."

Since 1977, Union Fire Company has operated out of a three-bay station directly beside the museum. It's a visible link between the company's proud history in the Carlisle community and its commitment to their future.

"You still have to save lives and save property," added Goodling. "That don't change."

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