History (1940 – 1960)
Progress was put on hold during World War II and a shortage of manpower became a serious problem for the fire company. To alleviate this shortage, the fire company’s by-laws were changed to allow men to join at the age of 16 rather than 18 years of age. The fire alarm system was expanded during the war, with the addition of 5 air-raid sirens around the township. In addition to their use for Civil Defense, these sirens were also used to notify the members of a fire.
The late 1940’s and early 1950’s saw the fire company on an expansion program that not only included apparatus but also included an addition to the firehouse. Another new addition was the start of an Ambulance Corps. On a cold winter day in 1948, a pedestrian was struck by a car on Baltimore Pike near Saxer Avenue. Don Eastman, owner of the Springfield Beverage Distributing Co., rendered aid to the seriously injured person, covering him with newspapers and blankets to keep him warm. Don tried desperately for two hours to get an ambulance for the injured man. No surrounding towns had an ambulance at that time. Finally, an ambulance from Philadelphia was obtained and it took the injured pedestrian (who died enroute) to a Philadelphia hospital. It was at this time that Don decided that Springfield needed its own ambulance. Through the Springfield Betterment Association and Eastman, a door-to-door fund drive was started to purchase an ambulance. After four months, $13,000 had been collected in the drive. They then purchased a brand new fully equipped Cadillac ambulance for $8,700. The balance of the collected funds was put into the organization which they founded, and was to be known as “The Springfield Fire Company Ambulance Corps”, a committee of the fire company.
In 1949, a one-floor addition was made to the existing two-story stone firehouse, to house the new ambulance and additional fire apparatus. The 1940’s also saw the beginning of the Springfield Library, which first occupied space on a mezzanine level of the old stone firehouse. The library grew in size, including the familiar “Book Mobile” that circulated throughout the township. The library eventually took over the entire second floor of the firehouse, after the municipal offices moved to their present 50 Powell Road location in 1954.
During 1950, a 600 GPM 3-Stage Pirsch Pumper was added to the existing equipment, and in 1952 a GMC panel truck was purchased and converted to an Emergency Truck. Due to the building boom of the 50’s additional fire apparatus was needed. In 1954, Springfield took delivery of its first aerial ladder truck, a 75-foot Pirsch, replacing the 1931 Seagrave. In 1957, a 750 GPM 3-Stage Pumper was delivered, to take the place of the aging 1937 Dodge.
To keep up with the times, and to supplement the outside fire alarm system, an electronic home alerting radio system was developed in 1962. This system gradually expanded to assigning pocket radio pagers to active firefighters, so they would be assured of being notified of a fire alarm. Also in the early 60’s electronic air horns were placed around the township, to be used as an outside fire alarm, in place of the air-raid sirens.