1948, Post War America, Greene Township a small rural farm
community, was struggling to become better. In an effort to
progress forward, a group known as the “East Greene Community
Organization” consisting of husbands and wives, who had been meeting
for several years decided to start a Fire Company. Prior to the
Kuhl Hose Company if there was a fire or other emergency in Greene
Township, companies from Belle Valley, Wattsburg, Stancliff
(Waterford,) or North East were summoned to help. By the time those
Fire Companies arrived there was not much to save due to their
distance and no prompt way
to notify them.
This group of 11 men at a meeting October 31, 1948, signed the
paperwork for a charter and sent it along with $35 of their own
money to Harrisburg. The dedication of the men from the first
meeting continues today in the organization that they built, Kuhl
Those Members who signed the Charter were:
Michael Samokar Jr
Father Francis J Schlindwien
The Community Organization Group’s president was Mike Samokar, and
he continued as the new Fire Company’s President. In past years the
group didn’t meet during the winter months due to poor condition of
the township roads. This didn’t stop the new members of Kuhl Hose
to work hard the next several months. In addition to the Charter,
discussed at the first meeting also included a possible raffle at St
Peter’s hall, and to make sure the word about the Hose Company gets
out to township residents on election day.
Discussion was also held about Jim Hodapp & Willard Gibbons
collecting donations such as chickens door to door for the raffle.
The initial donations collected door to door in the first few
weeks included $160.50 from 40 township residents. Also donated were
Chickens, 3 Ducks, 1 Rabbit, 2 Squash, 1 basket of Carrots, 1 pig,
and a $5 discount on 2 pigs. Some of these donations were made by
the same members of the hose company, who also collected the produce
and livestock and were also more than likely some of the same that
bought the chances at the fund raising events.
During the second meeting the members were notified that the hall
rental at St Peters Church was approved for the 1st fund raising
raffle for Saturday November 6th. Notifications would be posted at
Elections and by going door to door by the soon to be firemen. Now
with less than a week, there was a lot of work to put the raffle
together. Discussion continued about a New Years dance, and it was
decided to sell all but 20 chickens, 10 to raffle off, and 10 to
hold for future raffles/fundraising.
At the 3rd Meeting the amount of $460.75 is listed in the treasury,
with a bill of $3.75 for Chicken feed noted. A tour to Mill
Village, Wattsburg, & the City of Erie to review fire engines was
taken and the firemen from Girard came to discuss firefighting
equipment and conduct training.
Over the next several meetings members discussed and actions were
taken on a possible surplus truck, a building, and both new senior
and junior members. Crown Bottling donated soda for the next
fundraiser and a quote for a new truck was received for $8,379.40.
Mrs. Earl (Mary) Francis was the secretary of the Community
organization and at the time the hose company was made up of only
men, James Maloney took over as Secretary. Mary continued in her
community dedication and went on to help establish the Women’s
Auxiliary with the help of most of the other firemen’s wives.
John Suscheck was elected Fire Chief for 1949. December 3rd, 1948
minutes show that the treasury had a balance of $582.19. The 1st
Dance netted $120.60 with the remainer of the money being from dues,
donations, and other raffles.
At the end of 1948, the members of Kuhl Hose were still waiting for
their charter, discussion about land for the firehouse possibly next
to St Peters Church, and a fire truck from Erie, Wattsburg and even
Fredonia NY continued. Records show 20 active members, 8 junior
members, and several social members to begin the New Year.
In 1949, KDKA TV in Pittsburgh became the 1st on air local TV
station. President Truman was sworn in for his 1st full term
in office, the inauguration was the 1st ever televised nationally.
The threat of a growing communist community, and with the threat of
a conflict in Korea and the Cold War looming, America again was
facing challenges. The Fire Company also faced challenges as it
worked to get on its feet and begin providing valuable services to
Greene Townships residents. Fire Chief Hodapp and newly
elected President Earl Francis lead the new organization in it’s
infancy during the 1st year. Arthur Will was contacted about
purchase of land next to St Peters Church on Kuhl Rd. The Charter
was reported on file in Harrisburg and the members were hopeful they
would receive it soon. A Bazaar was planned for the summer ahead.
For immediate funds, dances were held each week, and there were
Fire Extinguishers door to door as well. With these funds a 1928
Graham Fire Truck was purchased from Wesleyville Hose Company for
$200. Plans were made to equip the truck, and letters were to be
delivered to all township residents along with information about the
extinguisher sale. By-laws were written, plans were made to
hold meetings weekly on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m.
Early on in the year, extinguisher sales were closing in on 500 and
the ladies auxiliary was still forming themselves into an official
group. In March, Kuhl Hose applied to the Erie County Volunteer
Fireman’s Association for membership, and as the new hose company
was not quite ready to handle emergency calls notice was sent to
Belle Valley to go ahead with their fund drive in Greene Township.
Work continued on equipment for the truck and there still was no
official charter. A second fire truck was in the works as well.
April came with some good news; land was donated by Mr. Will for the
#1 firehouse. Prices were being gathered for the 2nd truck, tanks,
hoses, and equipment. The plans for a new building were coming
together fast as the equipment so far has been kept in Mr. Holdup’s
barn and meetings were held at St Peters Church Hall.
The $200 Graham truck wasn’t as biggest success as first thought it
would be. Minutes report that by the time the large hose was full
of water, the 100 gallon tank was empty. The first call for Kuhl
Hose was in April with discouraging results due to the cold weather
and the lack of equipment and water. The firemen also had to push
the fire engine through the mud on Knoyle road to get to a fire only
to be told when they arrived there was no need for the fire
department any longer. A 1939 seven ton cab over engine Dodge truck
was purchased the end of April. The deal included 2 new tires, with
an easy payment plan by the seller.
May was another discouraging month. With little money and lots of
hard work the new truck was being equipped with by the members with
parts fabricated in their own farm workshops. The Charter still had
not arrived and the attorney had not done anything on the land deed
transfer. The Postmaster informed Kuhl Hose that they were not able
to send raffle tickets in the mail, so another door to door delivery
would be needed. The month had little progress and the members
were showing there disappointment and frustration.
July 24th the charter was presented to the members, and it was
decided that an assistant fire chief be elected. Harry Paschak won
the election. The profit for the fire extinguisher sale was
$1,382.70. The deed was transferred on July 20th with quotes from
minutes “THE LAND IS OURS!”
The Bazaar was completed with another $1,647.24, with $400 being
profit. With the income new equipment was purchased. Dances still
brought in a profit each week and at the beginning of October the
balance on hand was $372.01. Mr. Forsberg offered the use of his
barn on Wattsburg Road to store the large truck until the building
could be built and a motion was passed. Discussion also
started about double protection with the opening of a 2nd fire
station in West Greene.
December meetings were set for Sundays so the members could put up
and work on the temporary building on Kuhl Rd. Cardboard was used
to line the walls for insulation, with asbestos board near the stove
and chimney since it would look bad if the firehouse burned down.
So in a little over a year, the Kuhl Hose Company has its charter,
two fire trucks both well equipped.
The company owned a piece of property and a building was in the
works with a total cost of $400 to build. To be notifed of calls,
John Suscheck and Jim Hodapp were received phone calls at their
homes and then their families contacted other firemen to alert them
of the emergency. This alone was a project to undertake as most of
the firemen didn’t have phones.
Early in 1951 laid the plans for a 2nd station in West Greene. But
before the fire station was built or even a location chosen, the
trucks were to be housed on Barton Rd in Geroge Palmers potato
cellar and later in Nick Runsers barn. Several new members from the
West Greene area were applying and a land search in that area was
underway. Meetings began to rotate from St Peters Church in Kuhl
and the West Greene Grange Hall, Hoffman’s Restaurant and Majerik’s
Store. A 1949 Model F6 Ford fire
truck was purchased and a log book was started to keep track of all
The 1st real fund drive was made in 1952, with pledge cards,
calendars and call cards being distributed. 1952 was also the
year the Graham fire engine was sold; the first aid equipment and
litters were purchased for the fire houses and fire trucks.
The Bazaar attracted township residents for a good time of food,
fellowship and fun and not intended to be a way for the firemen to
demonstrate their skills. In 1954 the Bazaar was moved to the
parking lot across from the St Boniface Church on Wattsburg Rd.
Small disasters started, problems with water having to be carried in
milk cans from the church, lots of rain and then the show stopper a
FIRE! The food tent caught fire. The firemen had to try and save
the tent before all the profits were lost. The September meeting
was canceled due to a Barn Fire at the Valimont farm.
In 1955, an International fire truck with a John Bean high pressure
pump was purchased. Fund drive was steadily increasing with $2,345
to put toward the new truck with the remainder borrowed from the 1st
National Bank. The truck was picked up in Lansing, MI by Vern Vogt,
Harley Brumagin, Emil Sell and Harry Puschak.
Also that year the township purchased a resuscitator. Notes report
that they were able to choose which model they wanted to purchase
and wish they hadn’t done that. The resuscitator was so heavy that
by the time the first aiders carried it to the patient they them
selves needed to be resuscitated.
1956 the first FCC license was issued to Kuhl Hose for two-way
radios. Initially they consisted of two mobile units and a
base station portable power speaker. They also bought a siren
control and a monitor tripping device which was used to blow the
whistle at the fire house.
In 1958 the Jane Jordan answering service was used for Emergency
Calls and the Rescue Truck was on standby at the Eriez Speedway on
Sunday evenings during the summer.
1959 brings yet another new piece of apparatus, an FWD fire engine.
The FWD had to be picked up in Clintonville, Wisconsin. Roy Smith,
Wilbur Runser, and Tom Allgeier were sent to pick it up and were
given $125 expense money for the trip. The FWD was returned
home along with $65 change from the expense money.
August 21, 1959 Hawaii was admitted to the union as the 50th State.
So early in 1960 Kuhl Hose received it’s first 50 star flag. The
flag was flown over the capital building and was secured through the
efforts of Paul Valimont.
July 3, 1962 Summit Fire Control went online with Mrs. Salada being
the sole dispatcher. Each active member received a home monitor to
alert them of calls. The 1st call for help over the radio was at
20:15, of course an Ambulance call. In the early days, firemen from
Kuhl Hose and other departments who were dispatched by Summit
Control, took turns manning the base on Mrs. Salada’s days off.
Mrs. Salada who operated Summit Control was referred to as Mother
by all of the firemen she dispatched, and they were her “Boys.” She
was on 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. She was moved to her new home
on Townhall rd in 1973 from
her home on Perry hiway. On most any bad winter day when the “boys”
would respond she could be heard giving some advice “Now take it
easy boys, it’s bad out there.”
A donation of a new inhalator was donated by the West Greene Grange
to be maintained at the #2 firehouse. 1963 a Cadillac
ambulance was purchased for $959.29. The township also gave
permission for the use of the township garage on Old Wattsburg Rd as
the Temporary #3 firehouse until one could be built.
1966 – Another new ambulance was purchased, as well as a new tank
truck went in service. A new flag was received; it was also flown
over the capital after our original was stolen.
1967 another new ambulances was purchased. Also the same year that
#2 firehouse was torn down and the current building was put up.
1968 – April 12th 6 grass fires, and 7 more on April 13th, with 25
additional grass fires in April. Land was also purchased from Mr.
Kaschak for #3 fire house.
1971 October 1971 the building plans for Station #3 were finally
approved. End of year report shows General fund $7,973.07 and a
savings of $30,357.61
1972 – July 5, meeting minutes show Tom Allgeier stated “Lets all go
home and say some prayers so that it stops raining for our upcoming
bazaar.” Official possession of the new #3 was taken October
1, 1972. Apparatus took residence on the 3rd of October at 10 pm.
1974 – 25th year of KUHL HOSE
56 active members – 6 being juniors
$7,400 Bazaar income
3rd ambulance purchased
Advanced First Aid Required for members to go on
Lions Club purchased and installed the emergency
light on Wattsburg Rd
3 fire stations and 7 pieces of apparatus – 3
ambulances – 3 pumpers – 1 tank truck
1976 - Ford Horton Ambulance Purchased
1978 - Ford Van Ambulance Purchased
1980 - Ford Engine - Ford / FMC
1982 - New 4 guys Tanker #7 - 685
1985 - New modular ambulance Squad 4 - 687
New Engine 1992 Pierce - 682
New numbering system adopted - 1992
1994 2 new Horton ambulances – replaced # 4, #6, & #8 ambulance's
The 21st Century
In 1999, a new Pierce Fire Engine was ordered. A 2000 Pierce Pumper
arrived in early spring 2000. The pumper replaced 2 other fire
engines, a 1980 Ford, and a 1978 FMC. This brought the fleet of
apparatus to 2 engines, 2 tankers, and 2 ambulances.
In 2004 a new Pierce tanker was purchased and replaced a 1976
tanker. The tanker was an old milk cartage tank that was on its
second chassis that served Kuhl Hose as a water tanker. The new
tanker brought advancements to rural water movement in Greene
Township and surrounding communities.
2008 – New Horton ambulance 687 replaced 1994 Ford Horton
2008 – New Pierce Tanker 685 replaced the 1982 4 guys
2009 - After various dispatch centers through the years from Summit
Fire Control to Emergycare, dispatching services were taken over by
the new Erie County department of public safety. In order to fully
comply with the county numbering system the firehouse designations
were changed. Station 3 became Station 68, Station 1 was renamed
Station 69 and Station 2 was simply called the Kuhl Hose or Barton
2009 the 60th year 60 years of service to the community. Our small
rural community has progressed a long way but yet stayed very much
the small community it was 60 years ago.