Midway St. Clair's fire truck returns for anniversary
Midway St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department celebrated its 70th anniversary with the return of an old friend.
On hand for the festivities was the first new fire truck the department purchased — a 1954 FWD lovingly restored by Bob Galambas of Canonsburg.
Galambas, a fellow fireman, agreed to bring back the truck when the Hempfield No. 5 department held an anniversary banquet Saturday at Water Works in South Greensburg.
Galambas researched the history of the truck and found it had been owned by two fire departments, Midway St. Clair and North Strabane.
“That's basically where he found the truck — out in a field in Eighty Four,” said Capt. Shad Elder of Midway St. Clair. “He actually asked us if we'd be interested in purchasing it off of him. It would be neat to have but, realistically, it doesn't make sense.”
The department's fleet now includes a 2005 Freightliner engine, a 1995 Freightliner rescue truck and a 2013 Ford F-350 service truck.
Its roster of 17 volunteers covers a wide territory — from Armbrust to near New Stanton by the former Sony plant, Swede Hill, Fosterville Road and Route 119 — along with assists to other departments.
Perhaps the most significant fire in its history, Elder said, was a 1982 fire that hit the department itself at 1966 Broadway Ave.
Destroyed in the fire were two pumpers and a rescue truck. Chief Tom Barbour unsuccessfully tried to save the burning rescue truck by driving it out of the building, according to news accounts.
The smoke alarm in the building went off at 4:10 a.m. on June 21, 1982, awakening one volunteer at the station who fled the flames, but who suffered smoke inhalation.
The department was able to rebuild. It receives financial support from Hempfield Township supervisors but members still have to raise funds.
They do so through an active social club (with a lively Facebook page that shows great appreciation for Fridays and great cocktail recipes), Lenten fish fries, ticket sales and an annual solicitation.
The department, under Chief Richard Kepple for four years, can always use a few more volunteers, according to Elder.
His wife, Rebecca Elder, planned the anniversary celebration. His grandfather, Alfred Elder, was one of nine founding members. Shad Elder is a third-generation member of the department, where his father, Dave Elder, uncles and cousins are also life members.
“The whole family grew up on the hill so they all trickled down the hill at one time or another,” Elder joked.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Volunteers working to ensure gifts delivered worldwide through Operation Christmas Child
- New Stanton council seeks input on borough community plan
- Hempfield Eagle Scout hopeful reaching for the sky
- Greensburg Salem students revel in hands-on learning
- Proposed Youngwood budget holds line on taxes
- Greensburg Salem Middle School is going green