On June 8, 1890, a disastrous fire began at the livery stable located at 7th and Chestnut Streets; twelve buildings were destroyed. Personal buckets and ladders were used to try and extinguish the fire until the nearest fire company could arrive from Sellersville 30 minutes after being called. Less than a month later, on July 4, 1890, a committee appointed by Perkasie Borough Council met to form the Hope Fire Company. On September 8, 1890, the Hope Fire Company met at Groover's Hall (517 Chestnut Street) and adopted a Constitution and By-laws; 32 members were present. On October 2, 1890 Borough Council turned over to the Fire Company a Hand Pumper purchased from Newtown Fire Association, and a hose cart purchased from Philadelphia with 800 feet of hose. One month later the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad presented the Fire Company with a locomotive tire iron for use as a fire alarm. This was installed in a cupola of the Groover building. This tire iron is now in front of Silverdale Fire Company.
On February 8, 1892, the Hope Fire Company changed its name and became known as the Perkasie Fire Company. Two years later, the fire company grew to thirty members and included a Double Deck Hand Pumper and Hose Carriage with 1400 feet of hose and nozzles. The meeting place changed to the second floor of the American Hotel stables (alleyway on 7th Street between Market and Arch Streets). On August 1, 1895, the Perkasie Water Company was formed and the first fire hydrant was installed. The following year, the Fire Company headquarters moved to the Cressman building at 7th and Arch Streets. A fire alarm was installed on the roof, meeting rooms were on the second floor and apparatus were on the first floor. On September 26, 1895 the Borough’s water supply was placed into service and consisted of 1,000,000 gallon reservoir and an 8 inch water main with fire plugs running down Market Street.
In 1900 the Perkasie Light Plant opened and the Fire Company moved its headquarters to the new building. A steam fire whistle replaced the old gong. That same year, a disastrous fire occurred at the Perkasie Park in which 23 cottages were destroyed. Over 1000 feet of hose had to be laid to the nearest fire plug, losses were said to be over $10,000. A new Hook & Ladder truck arrived in December 1903 ($650). The Fire Company purchased a lot at 7th and Arch Streets from J.G. Moyer for the cost of $4000, and contract was let the following year to construct a new firehouse. On October 27, 1907, the recently completed firehouse was dedicated for service to the community.
On January 15, 1919, the company purchased its first motorized piece of equipment -- a Seagraves Triple Combination Pumper. Three months later, that new fire engine pumped 4-1/2 hours continuously when the second and third floors of the J.G. Moyer building burned with a loss of $32,000 to the owner. The following year, a Nash Hose and Chemical truck was added to the equipment of the company. Through the years the following pieces of equipment were purchased as replacements or as additions:
- 1927 – Seagraves 400 GPM Pumper
- 1929 – Ford Chief's Car
- 1945 – First Ambulance purchased by Brunna Butzers
- 1947 – Chevrolet Utility truck purchased to replace Chief's vehicle
- 1948 – Mack 500 GPM Pumper
- 1953 – John Bean High Pressure Fog Pumper on International Chassis
- 1960 – John Bean High Pressure Fog Pumper on International Chassis
- 1970 – Ford Pumper
- 1972 – GMC Stake Body purchased by Ladies Auxiliary
- 1974 – Mack Aerialscope Ladder Truck
- 1974– Mack 1000 GPM Pumper
- 1974– Purchased first Hurst hydraulic rescue tool
- 1974/89 - Mack Aerialscope Ladder truck with equipment
- 1974/95 – Mack 1000 GPM Pumper with equipment
- 1977 – Mack 1000 GPM Pumper
- 1982 – GMC Rescue Truck
- 1989 – Mack Aerialscope Ladder Truck refurbished and upgraded
- 1994 – Ford Crown Victoria Chief's vehicle
- 1996 – Ford Crown Victoria Deputy Chief's
- 1997 – Ford Expedition Chief’s vehicle
- 2000 - Ford Expedition Chief’s vehicle
Apparatus currently in operation includes:
- 1989 – Present Engine 26 - Pierce Lance 2000 GPM Pumper with equipment
- 1990 – Present Utility 26 - Ford F350 Van
- 1997 – Present Rescue 26 - Pierce Quantum 2000 GPM Rescue/Pumper with equipment
- 2000 – Present Tac 76 - Ford F-550 250 GPM TAC vehicle
- 2006 – Present Tower 26 Pierce Dash 2000 GPM, 100 Ft. Ladder Tower with equipment
- 2007 – Present Battalion 26 - Ford Expedition Chief’s vehicle
- 2007 – Present Battalion 76 - Ford Expedition Chief’s vehicle
- 2010 – Present Engine 76 - Pierce Impel Pumper
- 2014 – Present Chief 26 – Ford F150 Chief’s vehicle
- 2014 – Present Deputy 26 – Ford F150 Chief’s vehicle
- 2015 – Arriving in September - Engine 26 - Pierce Impel Pumper
During the period of 1965 to 1969, the company undertook a major facility change. In October 1965, a lease was signed with the Borough for property at Fifth and Arch Streets (present fire house site). The following year, Branch Valley Associates was hired as architect for the new fire station. In 1969, the Fire Company signed a lease with the Borough concerning the new building. The larger station facility is capable of housing eight (8) pieces of apparatus with storage, office, meeting and rest rooms on the lower level. A large dining hall and kitchen is accessible from ground level at the rear of the station. In January 1997, the original overhead doors were replaced with new aluminum and glass doors at a cost of $17,570. The funds for these projects were raised by holding public dinners, private banquets, wedding receptions, annual appeals and the annual carnival.
In 1977, the first female firefighter was entered onto the company's roll, both as a firefighter and ambulance member. Two years later, the Fire Company elected to have the Bucks County Emergency Radio System dispatch the department by answering emergency phone calls at the county court house.
June 26, 1988, a fire tore through downtown Perkasie, aided by wind and burning coal dust, sawdust and old dried out wood; the fire quickly grew and spread. Between 200 and 250 firefighters from companies in Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Lehigh counties were called in to assist. The smoke was so thick, it was impossible to see if it was daytime or nighttime. In the end, The Great Fire of 1988 left 15 businesses, 30 homes and 2 Perkasie Fire Co. trucks (Ladder 26 and Engine 26) in ruins. One of the buildings that was destroyed was the Moyer building that had been shown on the July 1, 1945 Saturday Evening Post cover. The fire was started by two 12-year-olds who lived nearby and who were sentenced to probation, counseling and community service after being acquitted in juvenile court of arson charges, but delinquent for failing to report a dangerous fire, according to published reports at the time. The Mack Engine that was destroyed was in the fire was replaced in 1989, by a 1989 Pierce Lance 2000 GPM Pumper, the Mack Ladder truck was refurbished and placed back into service and served the Perkasie until sold in 2006.
In June 1990, the department hosted the 77th Annual Convention of the Bucks County Firemen's Association with a parade to mark the company's 100th anniversary. The membership classification of Junior Firefighter was established in 1993 for persons between the ages of 16-18 years old interested in joining the Fire Company. In 1995 a committee was organized to formulate specifications to procure a new Rescue truck with multiple hydraulic tools for vehicle extrication involving new titanium/boron materials. With five (5) hydraulic hose reels, numerous types of equipment are pre-connected for ready use. Again, in 2005 a committee was formed to replace an aging Aerialscope Tower Ladder. Through the assistance of Volunteer’s Financial Services, a long range financial plan was developed for replacement of all apparatus. This information was presented to Perkasie Borough Council who endorsed a non-binding referendum to be placed on the November 2005 ballots. The community authorized the Borough to incur debt in support of replacing the 1974 Mack Aerialscope. In October 2006, a new Pierce 100 foot Ladder Tower was received. In 2007, all self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) was replaced with new equipment from MSA. All firefighters are personally fit tested and provided their own individual masks.
Today the Perkasie Fire Company is a vital community asset. It makes fire and rescue services available to the residents of Perkasie Borough, East Rockhill and Hilltown Townships, as well as other communities including Sellersville Borough, Silverdale Borough, and West Rockhill Township. The company has an average response time of three to five minutes. In 2014 the company had it busiest year, responded to 371 calls.
With a compliment of nearly 50 highly trained volunteer firefighters, the members of this organization are committed to providing the community with proud, proficient and professional service on a 24-hour basis. Additionally, the Fire Company has nearly 15 Fire Police Officer who respond to controlling crowds and directing traffic at fire and emergency scenes. They also provide support to the community at events such as parades, Community Day, Fall Fest, car shows, and football games. The Perkasie Fire Company is an active member in the Bucks County Technical Rescue Task Force, the Bucks County Regional Fire Task Force (Southeastern PA Fire Task Force comprised of apparatus from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties). The Company also regularly participated in Operation 6 Save a Life.
In March of 2013, Perkasie Borough Mayor John Hollenbach presented to Perkasie Fire Company No. 1, the gold border decals recognizing the Department as meeting the 100% level in the State Fire Commissioner’s Participating Department Recognition Program. The Perkasie Fire Company was the 56th department in Pennsylvania and one of six fire departments in Bucks County to obtain the highest level of recognition under this program.
The men and women who volunteer their time are also well involved in the Perkasie and Pennridge community, from working with the Perkasie Police Department in the “Toys for Tots” program, assisting in local Veteran Day and Memorial Day celebrations, and are the first to welcome home local members of the military from Overseas Deployments. Perkasie Fire Department has many past and present members who have not only serve the community but also served the Country in all 4 branches of the Armed Forces.This dedicated group of men and women who volunteer their time, energy and money make their community a safer place to live, work, play and visit.