Tag Archives: Flickering Embers

Flickering Embers of the Past: Becoming a Firefighter in the Old Days

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.

The Diamond T won several firemen’s competitions for Bird-in-Hand  while in use from 1936-1960.

Flickering Embers from the Past: A Flat Out Win!

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!