The Clarence Center
Improvement Company was formed in 1901 to study and discuss
better fire protection. Seven years later in 1908, the first
fire company in the town of Clarence was formed. This stock
company held its first organizational meeting on May 21, 1908
and elected David Weidmen as President, John Schetter as Vice
President, George Schmitt as Secretary, Charles Foote as Treasurer,
Albert Zurbrich and Peter Croops as Auditors and George Herdegen
as Fire Chief.
By forming a stock
company they were able to purchase a number of chemical fire
extinguishers and a hand drawn hose cart. Local businessman
E. W. Eshelman offered the site to the company for the construction
of the first fire hall. A building fund was started and the
first fundraising effort was a Fireman’s picnic which
took place in July of 1908. Fireworks and dancing on the out
door dance platform brought the first picnic to a successful
The building fund
swelled when Wesley Williams, a salt road farmer, gave a large
sum of money to erect the new building which became known
as Williams Hall.
To further assist
the stock company, the Clarence Center Volunteer Fireman’s
Association was officially organized on October 5, 1921. Its
first dance called a Holiday Dance netted $44.13 in profit
with waltzing and cider until 4:00 a.m.
In February of
1922 the Clarence Center Volunteer Fire Association purchased
its first fire truck; a 1922 Reo chemical truck.
At the August 1922
regular monthly meeting the association approved holding the
first Labor Day Picnic. This tradition has continued to this
date with the exception of a short break during World War
ll and a few years break during the mid to late sixties.
On July 8th a motion
was made and seconded that each fireman supplies two chickens
for the Labor Day Picnic.
In July 1928 the
Reo was traded in for a Buffalo truck equipped with a 500
gallon per minute pump at a cost of $5,000.00.
In 1931 the present
day gazebo was built for $396.33.
of the Ladies Auxiliary took place on January 17, 1933. The
purpose of the organization was to assist at picnics, and
other social functions sponsored by the volunteer firemen.
Their slogan was “ever ready to assist.”
In 1934 the Fire
Company Drum Corps was started.
Due to the increased
population in the Town along with the acquisition of more
property and fire fighting equipment by the Volunteer Fireman’s
Association, it became necessary to form a membership corporation.
This was accomplished in May, 1938 when the association was
incorporated as the Clarence Center Volunteer Fire Company
Inc. Serving as Officers then were: President Alvin Riegle,
Vice President Lawrence Reinhard, Secretary Carlton Schaad,
Treasurer Lawrence Hartwick, and Chief Peter Heiman.
Mr Carlton Riegle
who is still on the active rolls today was a charter member
when the department was incorporated.
A Fire Police squad
was organized in the mid 40’s to assist and protect
men and equipment responding to alarms.
In 1948 a KBS-7
International truck was placed in service complete with a
one thousand gallon tank.
In 1951, recognizing
the needs of the community, the Clarence Center Volunteer
Fire Company purchased their first ambulance, a 1951 Chevrolet
at a cost of $4,123.00. The Company established a trained
first aid squad and inaugurated emergency first aid service
for the entire town on June 7, 1951.
In 1952, the Fire
Company built a new three bay truck room for $7,957.00 to
house their equipment and moved out of Williams Hall.
In 1953 the company
purchased an additional 13 acres of land for $6,400 to be
used as a parking lot for Labor Day Picnics.
In 1963 an addition
was built onto the truck room which more than doubled its
size for a cost of $27,600.00.
The annual fund
drive began in 1966 which allowed the Fire Company to purchase
needed supplies not covered in the Town budget.
In 1974 a second
addition was added to the truck room providing a recreation
room and banquet hall / meeting room.
Our most recent
renovation took place in 2001at a cost of 1.8 million which
added much needed office, training and storage space and now
provides the next generation with a state of the art facility
for the protection and benefit of the continually increasing
population of our fire protection district.