Citizens Fire Company
The West Ward or Citizens Fire Company was organized in 1894. Early officers were John Flanagan president; Fred O'Connor, financial secretary; Frank Pfeiffer, vice president; Joseph Mooney, recording secretary; Thomas Flanagan, foreman.
Their first piece of apparatus was a four-wheeled carriage, purchased by borough council from the Phoenix Fire Company of Pottsville. Later, Mr. W. W. Wunder of Reading, built a chemical wagon and hose truck for the company. This was drawn by horses. Next, John Yaissle, of Pottsville, built a combination hose and chemical motor truck, which served until 1932 when a new $5,300.00 Seagraves pumper, chemical and hose truck was purchased. In 1924 a new firehouse was built at a cost of $13,000.00. In 1938 and again in 1954, substantial additions were made until today the plant is one of the largest and finest in the county and state. A fire truck that is a model and marvel of modem fire fighting equipment and technique was delivered to the company.
Citizens Fire Company has been a leader in all civic and social affairs since it came into existence in 1894. Its facilities are always available to any organization or program that will make Palo Alto a better community. Their contributions to the local school over the years have been mentioned in this history. The company has always kept as its primary function the containment of fires, but it has also displayed such a keen interest in local affairs that its impact on this community is imprinted on the lives of its residents.
In September 1966, the Schuylkill County Volunteer Firemen's Association convention was held in Palo Alto. It was sponsored jointly by the east End and Citizens' Fire companies. Michael J. Ferugio, a Palo Alto volunteer fireman, was president of the county association. The highlight of the observance was a huge parade, which drew hundreds of spectators and fire companies from all parts of the county. Former residents and relatives of townspeople came from far and near. Local homeowners, clubs and service organizations, vied with each other in decorating their residences and businesses.
The founding of the Auxiliary of the Citizens Fire Company is vague due to the fact that most of the chartered members are deceased, and original records are not available. Each year, since the early 1930s. The fire company has sponsored a Christmas Party for all local children. The members of the auxiliary have contributed much to the success of this venture by packing and presenting gifts to the youngsters of the town.
It is not too much to state that the growth of the Citizens Fire Company can be attributed in a large measure to the zeal and loyalty of the auxiliary. They have given support, both moral and financial, to every community activity for over half a century.
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