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History

The Rio Grande Fire Company dates back to November 1927 when concerned residents of Rio Grande met at the Grange Hall about forming a Fire Company. The residents appointed a committee that met with Middle Township Committee and by December 7, 1927 the resolution recognizing the existence of the Fire Company was read into the minutes. The Company provided fire protection for Rio Grande, Wildwood Gardens (Edgewood), Whitesboro, part of Burleigh, Green Creek, and parts of Lower Township.



These Charter Members worked hard over the next few months to find a place for a firehouse and to secure apparatus and equipment. Land was donated behind the Goff property (located in the present day vicinity of Rt.47 and Railroad Ave.). A 24' by 40' firehouse was built by the members. This small two bay firehouse housed the original two apparatus: a Chevy chassis purchased from Monaghan's Garage that carried Chemical Tanks donated by the Philadelphia Fire Department; and a used Childs Pumper that arrived by railroad flat car in April 1928. The firehouse was soon completed and the first meeting in the firehouse was held May 2, 1928.

Members worked hard to raise money and build a good firefighting unit for the rural area of the 1920's and 1930's. The Chevy Chemical Wagon was replaced by a 1935 Ford truck that was built into a pumper. The growing Fire Company purchased the Grange Hall in 1938 and converted part of the first floor into engine bay space. This building was located along Rt. 47 on the property of the present day firehouse.

Many Company members left town in the early 1940's to serve in the Armed Forces during World War II. These members are forever remembered on the Roll of Honor, which still hangs in the firehouse today. In 1943, the Board of Fire Comissioners of Middle Township Fire District #2 was formed to set the taxation rate for fire protection. They were now able to fund the apparatus and equipment purchases that were needed.

In 1949 the Company converted a donated oil truck, a 1939 Indiana into a tanker. This 1600 gallon tanker was the first tanker owned by the Company. The following year, 1950 saw the Company receive its first new piece of apparatus, a 1950 Mack Pumper. This pumper replaced the Childs Pumper and would serve until 1990. For seventeen years it was first out on all calls and would continue to serve many other functions until it was retired.



The Grange Hall had another engine bay added during the 1950's and a kitchen on the second floor was later added over the new engine bay. The Indiana chassis under the tank wagon was replaced by a new International Chassis in 1956. By the late 1950's it was apparent that a new pumper was needed to replace the 1935 Ford. Unable to afford a new pumper, a 1959 Jeep was purchased, a utility body added and member Robert "Ockie" Wisting built it into a pumper, mounting a front mount pump on the truck and building a tank in the body.

Also in the late 1950's the Company purchased a 1930 Ford Model A car. This car which was in excellent shape was turned into a funny car that has entertained people at parades ever since. Many members have worked hard over the years to keep this car running and come up with new skits for it to do at parades. It is most often remembered for smoking the crowd and its' loud "popping".


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