History (1960 – 1980)
In 1963, due to increasing need for ambulance service and the desire of the Ambulance Corps to add an additional ambulance and nurses to the organization, the Corps requested to separate from the Fire Company and obtain their own charter. The fire company sold the vacant lot on Saxer Avenue, that they had maintained ownership of since 1920, to the township so they could provide an area for the Ambulance Corps to construct a building. The first ambulance building was constructed in 1963, from Ambulance Corps funds, and turned over to the township to maintain as a township building. The Ambulance Corps used that building until the present complex was constructed in 1981.
The old stone firehouse experienced a major renovation in 1964, following the move of the library to a more modern and spacious building at 70 Powell Road. The entire fire station was remodeled, including new apparatus bay doors to accommodate the newer and larger apparatus. Springfield’s first 1250 GPM Pirsch Pumper was delivered in 1964. The new pumper was housed and the building rededicated following a parade on September 22, 1965.
With the increase of accident-rescue calls, the fire company designed a heavy rescue truck that was purchased by the township. The new Ford-Bruco Rescue Truck was delivered in 1968. It was equipped with specialized rescue tools and a large electric generator with high intensity flood-lights. The official housing was held on September 21, 1968. the body of that truck was eventually re-furbished in 1983. The fire company was responding to one of those accident-rescue calls on October 27, 1969, when the aerial ladder truck was involved in a major accident at Baltimore Pike and Woodland Avenue. This necessitated the aerial ladder truck returning to the factory to have the repairs done by the Peter Pirsch Company.
The fire company celebrated its 50th anniversary with a parade on June 13, 1970. Fire companies came from the tri-state area, and an after parade celebration was held in the Pennsdale Park, off Church Road near the Boeing-Vertol property. The 50th anniversary was again celebrated at the annual dinner dance, which was held at the Alpine Inn of June of that year.
In 1971, a second 1250 GPM Pirsch Pumper was purchased. A large parade and housing was held on September 25th of that year, followed by the annual dinner dance at the Media Fire Co. banquet hall that night, but not before the day’s festivities were interrupted by a rescue call in the parking lot of the A&P; store on Baltimore Pike at Saxer Avenue. In 1976, a Pierce-Dodge mini-pumper was delivered, following construction in Appleton, Wisconsin. Due to a new emphasis on safety, which included changing the original color of fire apparatus, the mini-pumper was painted a chrome yellow color. This was a stark contrast to the traditional maroon color that was Springfield’s trademark since the 1920’s. The experiment proved to be false, however, and the fire company returned to the maroon color when it purchased a Sutphen Aerial Tower in 1978. The new aerial tower replaced the aging 1954 Pirsch Aerial Ladder, which was sold to our neighboring Morton Fire Company. To celebrate the new arrival a traditional parade and housing was held for the new aerial Tower on September 23, 1978.
In 1978, the fire company Planning Committee renewed its efforts, which had begun in 1964, to obtain a new building. The residence at 225 Saxer Avenue was purchased, with the assistance of a loan from the Firemen’s Relief Association. The Ambulance Corps was approached, since their building was located between the old and new property of the fire company. The township was then approached with the plans for a combined fire and ambulance facility, to be built on the Saxer Avenue site. The commissioners requested public approval before they would borrow the needed money to complete the project. Following meetings with every community organization, by the fire and ambulance committee, the approval for a 1.5 million dollar bond issue was placed on the ballot at the election on May 15, 1979. Following a door to door campaign and attendance at the polling places on May 15th, the voters gave their approval by a 2 to 1 margin.
Following the required meetings with an architect, engineer, etc., the township advertised for bids on the fire and ambulance facility.