Years ago there was only a field lane in the area of Siegrist Road. A better road was needed so Glen Siegrist’s grandfather donated the ground from his farms for a new road. An old atlas shows that it did not follow exactly the path of the original lane, but was laid out to serve the residents who lived on the nearby farms.
When East Lampeter Township decided to name their roads, they asked Glen’s grandfather if they could use the family’s name for the road since they lived in the area and he had donated the land. The Siegrist family members have always had a strong presence along the road so the name is appropriate. Glen says, “My parents lived there and I was born and raised there and that’s where I expect to stay!”
A coal stove heated the original Firehouse across from the present station. In order to keep the stove fired up during the winter months, someone had to tend to it on a daily basis. This chore fell to the town mailman, Vince Miller, since he passed by every day while on his mail route. Ironically he lived where the present post office is located, so he was not far away.
Dave Haldeman remembers, “Vince would go past while on his route so he visited the firehouse every day. We depended on him. He acted as the spokesperson. When it was time for a new chief, he is the guy who said, ‘Here, this is yours. You’re chief!’”
According to Dan Fisher, anyone who knew Vince never forgot him. He was quite a character who, along with the Brubaker brothers from the Duck Farm, helped keep the Fire Company alive when it was waning. They revived interest and support among community members by planning the first annual Turkey Dinner. Always doing his part, Vince Miller saved the Fire Company by cooking the turkeys for the meal.
When Dan Fisher Sr. joined the Fire Company in 1963, there were no training requirements. He had attended fire meetings as a boy with his dad, Levi “Dutch” Fisher, in the old fire hall across the street from the present one. Ironically they were called “smoke meetings” because the meeting room was blue with tobacco smoke! Always there was chitchat after the business of the evening was finished.
While he was still a child, Dan started helping with local calls. Whenever he saw smoke, he ran to the scene along with farmers and the rest of the neighborhood. It was a bit like freelancing at firefighting.
When Dan was 17 he officially joined the Fire Company, paid his annual dues, and rode to the fires on the equipment. At that time the basic process of joining was paying dues and attending monthly meetings. There was also training available on the county level as evidenced by training certificates that were earned, but not nearly everyone took the training. According to Dan Sr., firefighting was learned through experience.
n the early 1950s there were Fire Company competitions at Green Dragon in Ephrata.
According to Dave Haldeman, there was a starting point and at the sound of a whistle each company moved into the source of the water supply. Then they hooked up their pump and delivered on the target. The quickest company was recognized as the winner.
Bird-in-Hand had practiced for the competition with their old 1936 Diamond T. However, East Petersburg arrived very proud and confident with their brand new Seagrave engine and pump .
When the whistle sounded, Bird-in-Hand started their rotary gear pump. It was the kind that took awhile to start putting out water. Cliff White was holding the hose and waiting. When the engineer shot to full pressure right away, Cliff was not prepared and it knocked him down on his behind, but Bird-in-Hand took the prize! The old Diamond T delivered faster than the new Seagrave engine and pump!