Flickering embers from the past: A Hunting Season Dilemma

In the early 1950s, perhaps in the fall of 1951, there was a cornfield fire at the northeast corner of Old Philadelphia Pike and North Ronks Road.  This is the field beside the present-day site of the Bank of Bird-in-Hand and Bird-in-Hand Farm Supply.

Since it was in the fall and many of the local men were at the mountains for deer hunting season, only three firefighters responded to the call.  When they realized they were just a crew of three, they said, “Everybody else has left town!”

Glen Siegrist remembers driving the Diamond T from the old fire hall down through Bird-in-Hand to the site of the fire.  This engine was purchased in 1936 and was the first closed cab in Lancaster County.  It had a reel on it with a hundred feet of three-quarter inch hose.  To fight the fire, Glen said they pulled the hose off of the reel that was wrapped and sprayed the fire with water until they had it under control.

Bank of Bird-in-Hand, 2018

The Diamond T had a 350-gallon tank that the Fire Company filled from the spring at the Brubaker Duck Farm on Beechdale Road or from the millrace at the Bird-in-Hand Mill.  This mill was also known as Spence’s Mill and later, Nolt’s Mill, located at 2549 Old Philadelphia Pike.  However, whenever a water source was within a thousand feet of a fire, a reverse lay was made and the water in the tank was used until the relay was set up.

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