| It all started on January 14, 1897, after a blaze destroys Dr. Bernard
Zackon's barn demonstrating the need for the Oley Fire Company. A meeting was
assembled by Ammon Houck.
A committee was organized to draft a constitution and by-laws, and test
various engines for the fire company.
The first meeting was concluded with 40 members enrolled.
A meeting was held on February 4, 1897 in which $400.00 was granted for an
initial payment on a Rex engine. This piece of apparatus is still owned by the
Oley Fire Company today.
During the first year of the Oley Fire Company's existence the fire fighting
apparatus was housed in a shed owned by David G. Deysher for a rental fee of
$5.00 per year.
At the meeting held on January 12, 1899, it was reported that 30 feet of
ground had been purchased from Mr. Youse.
On January 26, 1899, it was reported that a brick building 26 feet by 54 feet
would be erected on the property for about $ 908.00.
In 1912, the Fire Hall was wired for electricity.
In 1914, the Fire Company started monthly contributions for a 5
year period to fund street lighting for the community.
As the decade ended, there were specific notes disclosing the
desire to purchase more modern Fire Apparatus.
In the beginning of the third decade, the Fire Company purchased
a new chemical Apparatus. This Apparatus was mounted on a Republic Motor
Chassis that was purchased from W. C. Haas. The total cost of the Engine
was $ 2,200.00.
At the end of the decade, a Hale Motorized Pumper was purchased.
The total cost of the equipment was $ 10,192.00.
While physical changes were made to the property to accommodate
the new equipment, the apparatus was temporarily housed at the Gilbertsville
During 1929, the Fire Company worked on ways to better serve the
community. Among these was the securing of the first smoke masks by the
company, and constructing pipe lines from the creek to various areas in the
The innovation of this decade was the installation of an
siren to be used as a fire alarm. This installation took place on Jacob G.
Previous to this decade, there was one member of the Fire
Company who served as a Special Officer with definite authority in the cases of
an emergency. This inspired the appointment of Fire Police.
In 1932, discussion began about the purchase of more equipment.
Before this could be done, additional changes to the property needed to be
In 1935, an additional piece of equipment was purchased.
It was a Ford V-8, one and a half ton chassis equipped with a hose cart and
booster tank. This piece of equipment is still owned by the Oley Fire
During this decade, the organization membership grew to
unbelievable numbers. With the growth, became the ability to organize a
The Fire Company began to formulate plans for a newer and larger
In 1948, a new Mack pumper arrived and was placed into service.
The total cost of the truck was $ 18,500.00.
June of 1949 marked the Fire Company granting permission for the
organization of a Ladies' Auxiliary.
At the April 7, 1950 meeting it was noted with sorrow the death
of Fred D. Yoder. Fred was a charter member of the Fire Company and served as
Fire Chief from the Organizations' start in 1897 to his death in March.
During this decade, foam was added to two pieces of equipment
for better and faster service for some types of fires.
In 1951, the Fire Company took a great step forward by
purchasing a Chassis that was built on a tank body. This was a Forerunner of all
tank trucks in Berks County since it carried a water supply directly to the fire
Mel Wentzel and John Delong played a large role in the
completion of the truck. The total cost of the equipment was $ 3,000.00.
In November 1955, the Fire Company moved into its present
quarters at the site of The former Oley High School and Bryans' Garage.
The former Fire Hall is now used and known as the Oley Youth Building.
In 1959, Morysville Body Works was given a contract to mount the
1,100 gallon tank body onto the chassis of the tank truck. The new body
cost was $8,300.00 and was housed in June of 1960.
In 1960, a new motor was installed in the 1935 Ford. A
Hearse was also purchased and converted into an emergency truck. This
truck was then sold in 1963.
A 1963 Ford four wheel drive emergency truck was purchased
in January of that year at a cost of $6,200.00. This truck as well as a
Ford 1,000 gallon tank truck with high pressure, was purchased in 1967 and was
housed during the Zone 5 and 6 Parade which was held in Oley. The 1963
Ford is still in service today known as Brush 5.
This decade brought a large amount of innovation to the Fire
Company. Among this was the installation of the fire phones in the first
and second Fire Chiefs' homes, the mounting of two additional sirens at each end
of town, and the housing of tone alert monitors for the Firemen's' homes to give
faster response for the community.
In August 1970 the Reading Hospital ended it's ambulance
service, which made available two Cadillac ambulances. Both ambulances were
purchased for $8,200. On August 17, 1970, a special meeting was held, and it was
unanimously approved to accept, house and administer one of the ambulances under
a separate committee to be know as the Oley Fire Company Ambulance Committee.
The Ambulance Committee purchased a used 1971 S &S Cadillac
ambulance in 1975 for $10,500. The 1968 ambulance was then sold for $1,800.
More Building renovations were completed with the close of the
decade. A new oil burner was installed and automatic pin setters were installed
in the bowling alleys, at a cost of $25,000. The fire company was converted to local sewer service at a cost
of approx. $ 7,000.00.
In February 1977, a new International Chassis and a Hammerly
Tank body were delivered to the Fire Company from Hammerly Custom Productions.
The total cost of this equipment was $ 43,500.00. At the same time the
1959 tank truck was sold for $ 2,000.00.
At the August 3, 1979 fire company meeting, the township
announced that it had received an official grant from the state of Pennsylvania
for the purchase of a new ambulance. Consequently, in December of 1979 it was
announced that a new 1980 Lexington Ambulance was expected to be delivered in
May or June of 1980.
On October 14, 1981, the Oley Fire Company went fully "on
line" with the Central Dispatch System.
In 1983, a Ford E350 Reading Body Rescue truck was purchased.
The village of Oley celebrated its 250th Anniversary in 1990.
A parade that included participation from Zone 5 and 6 was held on June 2, 1990.
One of the highlights of 1990 was the purchase of a 1990 Ford
Yankee Coach Ambulance from K & S Ambulance sales, Inc. at a cost of $85,000.
This ambulance was placed into service on October 31, 1990
A group named Citizens for Improved Firefighting Equipment was
organized for the purpose of securing funds for a new piece of Fire Apparatus.
Approval was given to proceed with the purchase of a 1991 E-One,
Spartan Chassis, Class A 1,500 g.p.m. pumper with a 1,000 gallon water tank. The
purchase price of this piece of equipment was $ 193,500.00. This Apparatus
was placed into service in May of 1991, replacing the 1948 Mack, which was sold
to a private individual.
Mrs. Jake Scholl notified the Oley Fire Company that monies
received from her husbands memorial fund be forwarded to the new truck fund
On May 16, 1992, a parade and housing was held. The event
celebrated the purchase of the 1990 ambulance and 1991 pumper.
During this decade, many improvements were made to the property
and the Fire Company building.
In November 1993, a committee was formed to investigate the
feasibility of purchasing new fire apparatus.
In June 1994, the 1967 Ford pumper ( formerly 5-1) was involved
in an accident. The vehicle was deemed un-repairable by the insurance
company. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the accident.
On December 8, 1995 the ambulance crew was given approval to
order 1996 Ford E-350 ambulance at a total cost of $98,689 from Glick Fire
Equipment, Inc. The truck crew was also given permission to
purchase a Rescue Truck and Pumper from Glick Fire Equipment Inc. at a total
cost of $ 405,464.00.
February 7, 1996 marked the first official meeting of the 100th
Anniversary and Parade Committee.
The E-350 Ford ambulance was delivered in June 1996. After
purchasing an additional $20,000 of equipment including radios and various
emergency supplies, the ambulance was placed into service on July 25, 1996.
The E-One Rescue Truck arrived in late August and was placed
into service in September of 1996 at which time the Ford E350 Reading Body
Rescue truck was sold to Trevoes Fire Company near Philadelphia, Pa.
The E-One Four wheel drive pumper arrived in early September and
was placed in service in October 1996 replacing the 1967 Ford that was involved
in the accident in June of 1994.
More History of the Oley Fire Company to come......