Carl John Vanblad
the earlier years of the fire department the fire bell was rung by (Carl) John
VanBlad. When there was a fire he would go to the fire department
and ring the bell. In 1889, the fire department used a gas powered
whistle and then in 1910, the gas powered whistle went to a compressed
Backus Novelty Works purchased the
whistle for the company. Henry Hamlin donated a new alarm in March
of 1913 and a bell tower was erected. The whistle was taken out when
the bell came into action. The tradition of the testing of the siren
at noon each day has been in effect since 1924. Three years later,
codes came out for all the signaling of fires. Rob VanBlad was known for
years for running the bell.
In the earlier 1900s, all
the streets were still dirt, which made it hard for the hand drawn equipment
to move around on the roads. For this reason, two chemical wagons
were brought to the borough by the borough.
In 1910, Henry Hamlin and
others presented the department with a brass and nickle trimmed steam pumper.
Later that year the pumper was rated as the thing that "saved Main Street."
This was said when D. C. Young General Store went up in flames. During
April 1916, the department members designed a new hose cart.
photo credit: Smethport Fire