Throughout early American history, there were many accounts of citizens banding together in their towns to answer the calls of their people. Fleetwood Borough was no different. There was a need for ordinary citizens to respond to fires, suppress the flames and smoke, and save property and life.
In August of 1914, the Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company came in to existence. On Saturday, May 31, 2014 they celebrated their 100 years by hosting a parade and celebration through the streets of Fleetwood. More than 70 fire trucks participated in the event.
A couple of antique fire trucks were located by Fleetwood members and were invited to participate in the parade. A 1942 open cab Mack owned by Dave Watts of Detroit, Michigan and a 1946 Mack owned by Albert Caines Jr. from Olyphant, PA. What was unique about having these two trucks in the parade was that they were both purchased new by Fleetwood and were once their front line firefighting pieces.
John Manmiller, Chief of the department said that when the fire company contacted the owners and told them about the parade, they asked, “When is it?” and then said, “We will be there!”
Chief Manmiller went on to say, “It was so neat to let our retired members know that they (the trucks) were going to be here, the retirees sat at the station until the ‘42 showed up on Friday night. What was even better than the parade was watching those members of yesteryear go for a ride in a truck that was for some the first fire truck they drove when they were members of this department. They had tears in their eyes when they came back. It was great to see them so happy and we were glad that we made it happen.”
In addition to the fire departments that came to the parade, about a dozen community sponsored floats also joined in the parade plus the Fleetwood High School band marched as the Fleetwood residents and visitors cheered and thanked the Fire Company for their years of service. After the parade, the festivities moved to the park where several community groups had set up tents including the Fleetwood Historical Society with a fire company history display. Community groups also pitched in to help with food including the Fleetwood PTA and Fleetwood Rec Board.
At the park, a brief ceremony was held where U.S. Congressman Jim Gerlach, State Senator Judith Schwank, Borough Council President Suzanne Touch, and Mayor Tammy Gore presented Fire Company President Mark Crossley and Fire Company Chief John Manmiller with proclamations for this memorable and historic occasion. (Representative Maloney, who could not make the parade, also stopped by the fire station in person Friday to present a proclamation to the fire company.)
After the speeches, a total of 24 trophies and awards were handed out to the best appearing fire trucks and floats. As each fire truck left the borough, they gave a siren salute to Fleetwood that was hard to miss.
The Fleetwood Fire Department and EMS Division want to thank everyone who participated in making our day special, and also thank our sponsors who made our day easier to put together.