ShareThis Page

Smith: South Fayette's Oak Ridge Volunteer Fire Department turns 60

| Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, 10:21 a.m.

In January 1956, a small group of residents of the former District 7 in South Fayette attended a meeting to lay the groundwork for the formation of what would become the Oak Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.

Gathering at the former Federal School on Thoms Run Road (now occupied by the Federal Firearms Co.), the 30 residents' district included homes on Battle Ridge Road, Federal, Dutch Hill and Union Avenue Extension leading into Oakdale.

Bridgeville-Oakdale Road (later renamed Oak Ridge Road in recognition of the fire department) also was included and later became the fire company's name.

Temporary officers elected at the meeting were Felix Mazek, president; John Bosi, vice president; Fred Pagliai, recording secretary; John Dulenc, financial secretary; and Louis Reinstadtler, treasurer.

At the Feb. 1956 meeting, the new fire department was christened the Oak Ridge Volunteer Firemen's Association of South Fayette Township and, in May, was chartered by the state and county.

A few months later, the Homeville Volunteer Fire Department of West Mifflin donated a 1927 American LaFrance pumper to the newly organized group.

Line officers were elected in May 1956 with James Hormel becoming the first chief and Dan Meehan, assistant chief. Also at this time, Mr. and Mrs. William Taylor, residents of Oak Ridge Road, offered to lease free of charge a building to house the fire equipment.

The Taylors' offer was gratefully accepted.

In July 1956, the Oak Ridge Ladies Auxiliary was formed.

The only auxiliary in the township, its fundraising efforts included card parties, cake bingos, dances, fish fries and dinners.

The group financed the addition of a well-equipped kitchen and other building improvements, including air conditioning and an acoustic ceiling.

They used to be responsible for all the food purchases and preparation of same for the department's longstanding Monday night bingo.

The Ladies Auxiliary disbanded in 2008 at the same time Oak Ridge discontinued its bingo.

In June 1957, a parcel of land bordering Oak Ridge Road was purchased from Mrs. Henrietta Meyer, a long-time South Fayette resident, and in 1960, construction of a fire hall at Oak Ridge Road began.

The firefighters provided most of the labor, completing the building in 1961. Two additions were constructed in 1977 and 1986.

An electronic sign at the entrance to the VFD complex was erected by B.J. Supan, a 2014 graduate of South Fayette High School and junior firefighter who completed the project as part of his Eagle Scout requirements.

The first new piece of firefighting equipment purchased was a 1960 Ford 750 gallon-per-minute pumper.

Other equipment consists of a 2002 International rescue pumper, a 2003 Ford pickup truck and a 2007 Pierce pumper.

Oak Ridge's social hall is available for rent, as are its tables and chairs.

To volunteer as a firefighter (training is provided) or to make a financial contribution, call 724-693-8880.

Charlotte Smith is a freelance writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 724-693-9441 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.