The Upper Makefield Fire Company is the youngest volunteer fire company in Bucks County. It is made up of your neighbors here in Upper Makefield and surrounding areas. We are Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters, 2nd Generation & 3rd Generation Firefighters. We are Doctors, Lawyers, Painters, Accountants, Mechanics, Electricians, and Chemists, just to name a few. We are all willing to drop anything we are doing at a moment’s notice to help our neighbor in their time of need.
In the mid 1960’s the Upper Makefield Business and Professional Men’s Association decided that Upper Makefield Township needed a fire company. At that time the Yardley-Makefield Fire Company, Union Fire Company of Titusville NJ, New Hope Eagle Fire Company, Lingohocken Fire Company and Newtown Fire Association responded to all fire and emergency calls within the township and collected donations from the township residents.
As the area began to grow and change in character from a predominantly rural to more suburban, members of the Business and Professional Men’s Association recognized the need to base firefighting services closer to home.
In 1967, with the financial assistance of several members, a used fire truck was purchased from the Midway Fire Company. Since there was no firehouse, the truck, a 1940 Mack pumper, was housed at Saxton Brothers Excavating on General Hamilton Road. A second truck was secured from the Northampton Township Fire Company. It was a 1946 Hahn Pumper and was housed at McKissic’s Service Center (Currently the building is operated by Skerdlant’s Shell).
During the spring of 1968 the partnership of Kudra & Bailey donated the land on which the firehouse now stands. In less than six months the land was cleared and the firehouse was built.
The group which called itself the Upper Makefield Fire Company forged ahead during that year on two fronts. First a firehouse needed to be built and second firefighters needed to be trained.
The Newtown Fire Association offered their facilities, personnel and equipment to help train the first group of Upper Makefield Fire Company Volunteers, William Geiser, Fire Chief of Willow Grove Naval Air Station volunteered his time as the group’s instructor for the 15 week course.
Each Wednesday night the men would grab a quick dinner and head for Newtown’s firehouse to learn the basics of firefighting. An eclectic group including doctors, teachers, engineers, a barber, insurance agents, carpenters, accountants, electricians, store keepers, plumber, sales representatives, truck drivers, business managers, excavators, farmers, factory workers, architects, auto mechanics, and a used metal handler, 31 in all, mastered skills such as manning hoses, climbing ladders and ventilating buildings.
Among the trainees was Fletcher Weeden, insurance agent and tax collector for the township. Weeden took the instruction from a wheelchair. While unable to fight fires, he helped the department administratively, raising funds and recruiting members.
Before the training class was finished, plans were under way to build a firehouse on Taylorsville Road. Much of the labor was donated by the same group that was attending the firefighter training sessions.
The Saxton Brothers cleared and graded the land. Building materials were bought thanks to a loan from a local bank. Maurice Creighton, Builder, and William Kaye, Plumber, were the principle leaders of the project and donated many hours of their time. Without sufficient funds to hire a contractor, the group as a whole volunteered much of their time to construct the building.
Training complete, two trucks in its possession and with the firehouse built, the new fire company received it’s charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, November 17th, 1968 with 50 Members on the Books.
For the first three years all calls were backed up by the Newtown Fire Association responding simultaneously with Upper Makefield’s fledgling firefighters. From the beginning, Upper Makefield firefighters were equipped with radios for dispatching. Truck drivers would go to the firehouse, while other firefighters would respond to the scene.
In the mid 1970’s the Upper Makefield Fire Company purchased a 1965 Mack open cab pumper from the Bryn-Mawr Fire Company. The truck was dark “Hunter” green in color. At the time, Upper Makefield Fire Company did not have the financial capability to afford to repaint the truck, so it stayed green. A few years later Upper Makefield Fire Company purchased another used fire truck, this time from the Horsham Fire Company, this one was a 1969 Mack pumper with a partially enclosed cab painted white in color. The Fire Company, a few years older now, was a little more financially sound and could afford to paint this truck and the choice was made to match it to the 1965 “Hunter Green” Mack. So from this time forward all trucks in the Upper Makefield Fire Company would be “Hunter Green” in color.
In1982 the first addition was made to the little firehouse. A meeting room was added to the 4 bay brick building. The room was built by the members, in the evenings and on the weekends. The room still stands today as a lounge for all the members to hang out, relax, watch TV and tell stories of the fires & rescues of the past. The room has numerous pictures of past incidents that the company has been involved in and also has one whole wall dedicated to September 11th, 2001. There is also a shelf full of trophies from parades starting in 1967. The room is dedicated to Charter Members Donald & Gerald Saxton ‘Who gave more of themselves, then they themselves know”.
In 1985 the Upper Makefield Fire Company purchased it first ever “New” fire apparatus. A Grumman/Duplex Tele-Squrt with a 55’ boom. The truck serviced Upper Makefield Residents for 20 years until it was sold in 2005.
In 1986 the first major renovation was done to the firehouse. The four drive-thru bays were gone and replaced with five front facing bays. Also added were a fancy meeting room, lounge and offices.
In 1987 a group of the younger members of the fire company felt the need for medical response in Upper Makefield Township. This group of 13 all went out and obtained their state certification as Emergency Medical Technicians. In 1998, after getting experience riding on different ambulance squads, these firefighters presented a program to provide a “Quick Response Unit” to provide medical care until an ambulance arrives. These members would also be sleeping in the firehouse every night so there would be a crew in station to get the truck out quicker. This program worked great for many years and still is inservice but now mostly just during storm conditions or when college is out of session.
In 1988 Station 81 was opened at the Township complex. A single engine station in the maintenance building in the rear of the complex, that originally housed the 1965 Mack (the 1st Engine 81), the 1969 Mack and then the Current Pierce Engine when it was purchased in 1997. In 2004 the Upper Makefield Fire Company had the opportunity to work with the Township and swap buildings and relocate Station 81 to a building closer to Eagle Road and with 2 bays and a lounge and bathrooms.
In 1996 the Upper Makefield Fire Company took delivery of a Pierce Lance Rescue Truck and after significant training, officially went into the Rescue Business. Prior to this arrival of this apparatus and equipment the Upper Makefield Fire Company was dependent on small hand tools and neighboring mutual aid fire companies. Upper Makefield Fire Company felt they could take on the challenge of the training needed to perform and become proficient in all kinds of rescue.
In 1997 the Upper Makefield Fire Company Fire Prevention Committee started a program to bring a fire safety message to children during the holiday season. The “Santa Parade” was born and every year since it has become bigger. Approximately 1000 bags are put together with fire prevention coloring books, fire safety brochures, flyers from local business, pens, and pencils and of course some candy. Donations are collected from all businesses that put their flyers in the bags, so the event becomes self supporting. Upper Makefield Fire Company also holds a canned food collection for a local food pantry on the same day as the parade, which also has gotten bigger each year.
In 2000 the Upper Makefield Fire Company saw a change in the landscape of the Township with the increased construction going on. With this the Upper Makefield Fire Company saw the need for a Swiftwater team and a Marine unit. Training started for a group of 12 dedicated firefighters and paperwork was submitted for a grant to obtain a boat. In 2003, training was completed and the grant had been won and the boat and trailer was in the station, Marine 71 was in-service. At the time we did not know that future would bring 3 major floods and several minor storms where this unit would end up rescuing numerous people. In 2010 a second boat was added, making the Marine unit a 2 boat unit. Training is ongoing for the members of the Swiftwater team and in 2012 a room was dedicated for the gear and equipment due to the total amount of trained members on the team.
In 2005 the Upper Makefield Fire Company purchased a new pumper to replace the 1985 Tele-squrt. The new Pierce CAFS Pumper utilizes a new technology that will be very good for the residents of Upper Makefield Township, especially the ones that live in areas without fire hydrants. The technology ‘CAFS” stands for Compressed Air Foam System and what that does is makes the water that we carry between the pumper and our tanker last that much longer during a fire.
In 2006 the second major renovation was done to the Taylorsville Road firehouse. This time an architect was brought in and with the Township changing so much, the “Red Brick” firehouse looked out of place. So we told the architect, we want something that will look appropriate with the rest of the current construction going on in the Township. We also want at least one drive-thru bay for the marine unit and enough bays to house all of the apparatus. We also stated we wanted a second floor with offices, storage area, physical fitness areas and meeting areas. As it stands today there is a six bay firehouse with the one end bay as a drive-thru. There is a large meeting room, a separate lounge, and bunk room on the 1st floor and offices, conference room, physical fitness room and storage areas on the 2nd floor.
In 2009 the Upper Makefield Fire Company took delivery of a 3000 Gallon Tanker Freightliner Tanker from 4-Guys Fire Apparatus. With the delivery of this apparatus, Tanker 71, the older 1988 Tanker was relocated to Station 81 and is now running as Tanker 81. So as of 2009 Station 81 is running an Engine and a Tanker from that Station.
In 2010 the Upper Makefield Fire Company again looking towards how they can best serve the community started using a new computer program during fire emergencies. This program, called “I am responding”, has a computer monitor in each station that the responding members dial into after a call is dispatched and this helps to make sure that apparatus gets out with as maximum staff as possible. The Chiefs are able to monitor this from their Mobile Data terminals and smart phones and redirect personnel to different stations as needed.
In 2013 members of the Upper Makefield Fire Company along with some very motivated Residents in Upper Makefield Township started a new fundraising initiative. The first Italian Night and Auction was held in February of 2013 at the Washington Crossing Inn. Thanks to numerous donations from area businesses and residents the Fund Raiser was a success and over $10,000 was raised.
In 2013 the Upper Makefield Fire Company entered into an agreement with St’ Mary’s Hospital to provide living space and garage space to house an ambulance. On February 1, 2014 Squad 172 started operations at Station 71 (On Taylorsville Road) under the direction of Chief Chris Reif and Doctor Gary Zimmer. Squad 172 provides 24 hour ALS Coverage to the residents of Upper Makefield Township with a crew of at least 1 Paramedic and 1 EMT on duty at all times.
In January 2015 the Upper Makefield Fire Company entered into an agreement with Rosenbauer USA for the purchase of a Rescue Engine to replace the current Rescue 71. Construction of the new Rescue 71 will be completed in the beginning of 2016. The new Rescue 71 will be equipped with updated state of the art hydraulic rescue tools from Holmatro. The Rescue will also have a Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) in the pump to assist with firefighting efforts. This will be 2nd apparatus to have CAFS technology and upon Rescue 71’s arrival the current Engine 71 (2006 Pierce) will be relocated to Station 81 so that each Firehouse will have a CAFS pumper and a Tanker to serve the residents.
|ALL TIME UMFC FIREHOUSES|
|1||1086 General Hamilton Rd @ Saxton Brothers Excavating
1st Truck kept here until Fire House built – 1940 Mack
From 1967 to 1968
|2||1099 Rt. 532 @ McKissics ARCO Gas Station
2nd Truck kept here until Fire House built – 1946 Hahn
From 1967 to 1968
|3||Station 71 – 1968 Original Fire House Built
2 Double Deep Drive thru Bays to hold up to 5 apparatus
From 1968 to 1986
|4||Station 71 – 1986 Reconstruction
No Drive thru bays – 5 bays across front
From 1986 to 2006
|5||Station 81 – Created in 1988
One bay in the Road Crew Barn
From 1988 to 2003
|6||Station 81 – 2003 Reconstruction of Twp. Bld
2 bays, Lounge & Bathrooms
Currently in use
|7||Station 71 – 2006 Reconstruction
1 Drive thru & 6 bays in front, Large meeting room & 2nd floor
Currently in use
|ALL TIME UMFC APPARATUS LIST|
|1|| 1940 Mack Pumper – Purchased from Midway VFC in 1967
Sold to Thorpe Farms in 1971
|2|| 1946 Hahn Pumper – Purchased from Northampton FC in 1967
Sold as Scrap in 1975
|3|| 1944 Chevy Field Truck – Purchased from Union FC in Titusville NJ in 1968
Returned to Union FC in Titusville NJ in 1984
|4|| 1951 International Tanker – Purchased from Tattersol Oil Co in 1968
Sold as Scrap in 1976
|5|| 1948 Mack Pumper – Purchased from Langhorne FC in 1971
Sold to private collector in Walpole Mass. in 1980
|6|| 1965 Mack Open Cab Pumper – Purchased from Brym Mawr FC in 1975 – 1st Green Truck
Sold to private collector in Newtown in 2004
|7||1954 Ford Harmly TAC Truck – Purchased from Lingohocken FC in 1976
Sold in 1982 – Currently in a museum in Florida
|8|| 1963 Diamond Reo Tanker – Purchased from Bucks Co Oil in 1976
Sold to US Steel FD (Fairless Works) in 1980
|9|| 1968 Kenworth Tanker – Purchased in 1980 from Schmidts Brewery (Cab) & Staley Chemical (Tank)
Sold as Scrap in 1988
|10||1969 Mack Pumper – Purchased from Horsham FD in 1980
Sold to Gaylesville FD Alabama 1998
Resold and Currently in-service at the Mentone FD Alabama
|11||1984 Grumman Tele-Squrt – 1st New Truck ever Purchased by UMFC
Sold to private contractor on the West Coast in 2005
|12||1973 Dodge Power Wagon Brush Truck – Purchased from Newport FC in 1985
Sold to a private owner in 1995
|13||1988 Four Guys Freightliner Tanker – In service as Tanker 71 from 1988-2009
Moved to Station 81 in 2009 and currently running as Tanker 81
|14||1994 Pierce Rescue Pumper – Purchased New as Rescue 71
Currently in service and due to be replaced in 2016
|15||1992 Ford Centurian EMS Responder – Purchased from Central Bucks Ambulance in 1995
Sold to UMT Police Truck Division in 2002 – moved to UMT Public Works
|16||1997 Pierce Pumper – Assigned as Engine 81 from 1997-2016
Due to be moved to Station 71 in 2016 and run as Engine 71
|17||1992 Chevy Blazer – Purchased from Yardley Makefield FD as Car 71 in 2002
1st Chief Officers Car for UMFC – Sold to private owner in 2007
|18||2002 Ford Pick Up w/Utility Body – Purchased New as Utility 71 – Currently still in service|
|19||2003 12’ Zodiac (Grey) – Purchased New as Marine 71 in 2003
Damaged & Replaced by Zodiac in 2006 – Seams didn’t hold up
|20||2004 Chevy Pick Up – Purchased New in 2004 for the Chief
Sold to Private Owner in 2014
|21||2004 Pierce CAFS Pumper – Assigned as Engine 71 from 2004 to 2016
Due to be moved to Station 81 in 2016 and run as Engine 81
|22||2006 12’ Zodiac (Red) – Replacement from Zodiac in 2006
Currently in service as Marine 71
|23||2007 Ford Explorer – Purchased New as Car 71 (Duty Officers Car)
Currently in service as the Deputy Chiefs Car
|24||2009 Four Guys International Tanker – Purchased New
Currently in service as Tanker 71
|25||2007 14’ Zodiac – Purchased from Northampton FC in 2010
Currently in service as Marine 81
|26||2015 Chevy Pick Up – Purchased New for the Chief
Currently in service
|27||2016 Rosenbauer Rescue Pumper – Purchased New – Delivery due in Spring 2016|