PENNSYLVANIA'S 1ST REGIONAL COMBINATION FIRE DEPARTMENT

History of YAUFR   |   Springetts History   |   Grantley History   |    Commissioners

History of York Area United Fire and Rescue

The elected boards of Spring Garden Township and Springettsbury Township often discussed the sharing of resources when it came to the fire service. Each was operating its own department, which mirrored themselves in terms of personnel, equipment, and operations. To have a better understanding of the parties involved, we will review each township.

An Ad-Hoc Committee was created on June 22, 2004, by the Springettsbury Township Board of Supervisors and Spring Garden Township Board of Commissioners. The committee members consisted of Austin Hunt, William Schenck, Zane Sjoberg, Jon Countess, Ellen Freireich, Thomas Englerth, Dave Meckley, Donald Bishop, William Mader, and Todd Langheine. The committee was charged to develop and investigate the economic and service viability of providing a combined Fire Service, within the following parameters:

Provide dependable, effective fire and rescue services to the public.

  • Continuation of those services provided beyond traditional fire and rescue duties.
  • Development of recommended Standard Operating Guidelines.
  • Reducing and/or stabilizing costs while increasing efficiencies in services.
  • Development of a central administrative and operational structure.
  • Shared resources and training programs.
  • Reduction of unnecessary duplication of equipment and services while enhancing cooperative purchasing opportunities.
  • Preservation and enhancement of the volunteer fire service.
  • To determine the process, the committee first reviewed the Township Departments.

Spring Garden Township

Spring Garden Township is located in York County and surrounds York City on three sides with a section of the City separating the Township into two parts. The intersection of Interstate 83 and US Route 30 are adjacent to Spring Garden Township. Spring Garden’s geographic area includes 6.7 square miles. The 2000 U.S. Census reflects a township population of 11,974 representing 4,180 households and 2,963 families. Spring Garden Township is a municipal corporation organized under the Pennsylvania First Class Township Code. The five-member Board of Commissioners is responsible for establishing policies of the Township, as well as other legislative responsibilities. The Township Manager oversees all departments of Spring Garden Township.

Springettsbury Township

Springettsbury Township is centrally located in York County, north and east of York City. It comprises 16.7 square miles of area. Two major traffic arteries traverse Springettsbury, Interstate 83 and U.S. Route 30. The 2000 U.S. Census reflects a population of 23,883 with a population density of 1,474 per square mile and 9,483 housing units. Springettsbury Township has the second largest municipal population in York County, smaller only than York City. According to York County Planning Commission projections, Springettsbury is expected to continue to grow by 9 percent between 2000 and 2010 and an additional 7.1 percent by 2020.

Springettsbury Township is a municipal corporation organized under the Pennsylvania Second Class Township Code. Since 1963, the Township has been governed under the Supervisor - Manager Form of government. The Board of Supervisors includes five members and is responsible for the establishment of the policies of the Township and other legislative responsibilities. A Township Manager, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, is the chief administrative officer of the Township and oversees all departments of the Township.

On March 15, 2005, the first Joint Fire Service (JFS) committee meeting was conducted. With the assistance of both township boards, Manager Greg Maust and Fire Chief Barry Emig from Spring Garden Township, Manager John Holman and Fire Chief Andrew Stern from Springettsbury Township, representatives from the career and volunteer firefighters, and members of the public, work commenced to develop the framework of the regional Department. The committee was assisted throughout the process by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

In 2006, Carroll Buracker and Associates, a professional emergency services consulting firm, were contracted to provide a comprehensive Joint Fire Services Plan. The study was conducted in eight phases to include data collection, interviews, observations and fact finding, analysis of data, comparative analysis, development of alternatives, preparation of the report and oral briefing. The report covered all facets of the charter municipalities and discussed various consolidation methods. The report was the product of participation from all interested parties and could not have been completed without the assistance and grant funding of DCED.

Springetts History

Organization of a fire company in the growing community of Yorkshire was the desire of a number of individuals as early as 1924, but not until Christmas Eve in 1925, when fire destroyed a large residence there, did organization become the concern of practically everyone living in the neighborhood.

At a meeting held in the Yorkshire Elementary School on January 23, 1926 a group of persons gathered to formulate plans to guarantee home owners some kind of fire protection. During this meeting a volunteer fire company was organized. It was named Springetts Fire Company, deriving its name from the township in which it would be located, and officers were elected to direct its activities. They were President, Mr. Oscar Heckert; First Vice President, Mr. Samuel Smith; Second Vice President, Mr. William Richley; Secretary, Mr. Jacob Hay; Treasurer, Mr. Harry Kissinger.

The first firefighting apparatus was built upon a Buick chassis donated by Mr. William Richley, and it was equipped with chemical tanks and 150 feet of one-inch diameter hose. Interest in the Fire Company grew, and the membership did likewise. Monthly meetings were held at the School until July 9, 1926 when the meeting place was changed to the store of Mr. Robert Dietz in Yorkshire. The apparatus, however, was housed in Mr. Leon Burg's Garage.

It was Mr. Mahlon Haines, the primary developer of Yorkshire, whose interest in the construction of a community building, which could also serve as a fire hall and a place to house fire-fighting equipment, who donated a plot of ground to the Fire Company. Consistent with the keen foresight previously exhibited, the governing body of the now prosperous Fire Company decided that the location of the proposed fire hall should be on the main thoroughfare, i.e., U.S. Route 30, which is now Pennsylvania Route 462. Consequently, the plot of ground donated by Mr. Haines was offered as part payment for a larger plot of ground on the southern side of the highway at the western end of Yorkshire. The advantages of this location were very apparent because the fire hall would be nearer to the rapidly growing East York community, an area of Springettsbury Township also in need of fire protection.

In July 1931 the Springetts Fire Company building was completed at a cost of $10,000.00. Mr. Haines was the financial benefactor and advisor to the construction. In the intervening years a Ladies Auxiliary was organized, and it at once became a remarkable success. The records indicate that membership in the organization included Mrs. R. S. Cannon who served as the first President, and Mesdames Elmer Frey, R. S. Frey, Jacob Hay, O. M. Heckert, Harry Peeling, Samuel Smith, Guy Stauffer, Paul Swartz, and Will Swartz, and Misses Elizabeth Herr, Louise Myers, M. J. Smith, and S. R. Smith.

The Buick fire apparatus donated by Mr. Richley in 1926 served the community well, but in 1938 it was decided that a new and more modern piece of apparatus was necessary. As the result of a concentrated effort by every member of the Company, an American La France fire-fighting apparatus was obtained, together with an additional 600 feet of 2 1/2-inch diameter hose. When the new equipment was delivered an elaborate celebration was scheduled to mark the process.

The purchase of the new equipment and the financial obstacles caused by the Great Depression did not permit the Company to reduce its debt below $10,000.00 until August of 1940. At this time Mr. Haines presented a personal gift of $4,000.00 after which a "Debt Reducing Campaign" organized by the members of the fire Company resulted in an additional $1,000.00 collected from Township residents. The war years followed, and growth of the Company and debt reduction remained status quo.

By March, 1947 Springettsbury Township's "building boom" was gaining momentum, and a public meeting which was widely advertised indicated interest in better fire protection. The Trustees of the Company, sensing citizen support, decided to forge ahead. On March 27th a contract was signed to purchase an International truck with a Howe pump at a cost of $7,082.90 and in 1952 an International panel truck was added as rolling stock to be used as a service truck.

The need for more fire protection brought about the need for more and better equipment, and these needs meant a larger place for storage, maintenance, and operation had to be given consideration. At the Company's monthly meeting held in January, 1954, a Building Committee was appointed. Mr. Franklin H. Daron was appointed chairman, and Messrs. Harold Dettinger, Kenneth Hess, A. P. White, and Robert Williams agreed to serve with him.

In October of that same year a proposal was made to reconstitute the Ladies Auxiliary, and on November 11th, 27 women attended a meeting. With the help of ladies from Commonwealth Fire Company of Pleasureville the Auxiliary organized again, and elected Mrs. Norma Jean Kline as President. The Auxiliary's support of the Company has continued unabated since that time.

At the January meeting of 1955, the Fire Chief A. P. White, reported the highest fire loss in his 18 years of service, which was $515,000.00. Another indication that Company relocation and added service was imperative. A $100.00 donation the following August started a Building Fund, and in September, Mr. Harry A. Brown donated a 1941 Cadillac ambulance in the name of Jon. E. Graybill and Company. By March, 1956 the Springetts Ambulance Club was organized, largely because of the efforts of Messrs. John Swan, deceased, and Walter Torney, who still serves this organization presently as its President. By June 1st ambulance service had begun and in 1957 a 1947 Cadillac ambulance was purchased from the Kreutz Creek Ambulance Club. Since that time the Springetts Ambulance Club has continued to up-date its equipment and serves the entire community with distinction. The Club, since November, 1961 is a separate organization operated by a board of directors.

The members of the Fire Company were advised at the November 1956 meeting that the Township Supervisors had arranged to procure a piece of land owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad which is the present site of the Springetts Fire Company. Sometime thereafter a Fund Raising Committee consisting of Messrs. H. Eugene Boll, Chairman, and Glenn O. Kline, H. B. Reisinger, Jr., Luther B. Sowers, and Russell S. C. Wolf, Jr. was appointed. On January 7, 1958 bids were opened for construction of a new building, and contracts totaling $74,975.00 were awarded. One third of the money needed was raised in the community, and the remainder of what was thought to be insurmountable indebtedness was established as a mortgage. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 6th and the first stages of construction began April 9th. In October the original fire hall was sold for $13,600.00, and the move to the new premises took place on Thanksgiving Day. On Sunday, April 26, 1959 a dedication ceremony was held on the premises. Two months earlier, nine applications for positions as paid fire drivers were distributed, and in March, Messrs. William Garland and Donald Snyder were appointed. Today there are seven paid firemen serving the Company. In addition to Mr. Garland they are Charles Myers, Michael Bashian, Ronald Busser, Leon Stough, Jared Auchey, and Gerald Wishard.

As far back as October 4, 1954 the installation of radio equipment in the Fire Company building was suggested, but the cost was declared to be too high and the motion was dropped. However, in August, 1959 approval was given for an ADT alarm system, and ten years later in October the York County Commissioners were given permission to install the equipment necessary to enter the County's communication network. Also, the year 1959 marked the beginning of a resident mascot. For the next 13 years "Dutchess" watched over Company functions, and after her death a replacement never seemed satisfactory.

In January, 1960 an apparatus fund was established, and the following September a functioning Apparatus Committee was appointed. Those who first served on the Committee were Mesrs. Glenn O. Kline, Chairman, Woodrow Landis, Edward Harman, and Walter Torney.

The Company became a member of the Firemen's Association of York County in February, 1961, and in September of that year authorization was given to purchase a Ward La France apparatus for $21,477.00. It was delivered in March, 1962. In August, 1963 approval was given for the purchase of an International Service Truck at $5,045.00, and delivery was made in November.

Investigation was begun in June 1965 regarding an addition to the premises. It was decided that more space was needed for storage and new apparatus. Approval for construction at an estimated cost of $34,000.00 was granted in February, 1967. Construction began in March and was completed in December. The first meeting of the year 1969 included an item of business that gave approval for establishing specifications and seeking bids on a snorkel fire truck and on May 29th a contract for $78,752.00 was signed for purchase of same. The truck was delivered the following year. In September 1971, permission was given to purchase a 1972 Ward La France pumper at an approximate cost of $27,427.00, and it was delivered in June of the following year.

And still more space was needed, so in April, 1974 a bid of $115,000.00 was accepted from C. C. Dietz to construct another addition to the premises. The Springetts Fire Company as seen today resulted from the completion of this work.

Events scheduled in 1976 celebrated 50 years of arduous dedication by individuals who dared to organize, plan, and execute what had become Springetts Fire Company No. 1. The volunteers during this first 50 years are best characterized by Glenn O. Kline, whose concern and devotion to the fire service and this company led to his position as Springettsbury Township Fire Chief. The celebration was a fitting tribute to 50 years of financial solvency, community support, and a consistent record of fire protection that defined Springetts Fire Company No. 1.

In September of 1977 a special meeting was called to discuss replacement of the 1962 Ward La France pumper. After reviewing several bids it was decided to purchase a new pumper from Pierce Fire Apparatus at an approximate cost of $83,000. The new pumper was delivered in February of 1979.

The increasing population and construction of new businesses within Springettsbury Township brought another change to the services provided by Springetts Fire Company. This progress included increases in call volume for the Springetts Ambulance Club and in December of 1978, full time Emergency Medical Technicians were hired to staff an ambulance during peak call times. The volunteers continued to supplement the career staff when there was not full coverage scheduled. Through the years since 1978 staffing has increased to the point where round the clock ambulance service is being provided to Springettsbury Township by career Emergency Medical Technicians.

In March of 1980 it was decided to replace our 1965 Metro International rescue truck with a larger vehicle capable of carrying the increasing amount of specialized rescue equipment that we were acquiring. In January of 1981 the fire company took delivery of a new rescue truck manufactured by Swab Wagon Company at a cost of $65,000. This purchase became an important vehicle in Springetts Fire Company’s ongoing progressive stance in providing fire service to the area.

Springetts Fire Company was proud to host the 75th Annual Convention of the York County Firemen’s Association in August 1987. This diamond jubilee included meetings, a parade through Springettsbury Township, and a party the befitted the Firemen’s Association seventy-fifth anniversary. Also in this year plans were started to remount the aging 1969 Snorkel. These plans included remounting the Snorkel boom and the pump onto a new frame and chassis. The project was bid and Pierce Fire Apparatus completed the upgrade at a cost of approximately $240,000. The newly remounted Snorkel went back into service in early 1988.

In 2007, the plan was approved by the JFS committee and a work plan was developed for the progression of the first consolidated combination Fire Department in Pennsylvania. A Charter Agreement was approved by the Townships, which called for the creation of a Fire Commission, the governing body of the new Department. The commission was comprised of two members from Spring Garden Township Board of Commissioners and two members of the Board of Supervisors from Springettsbury Township. Additionally, there would be one alternate for each township and a citizen-at-large who would serve a two year term, with the choice of selecting the citizen alternating between townships.

The First Fire Commissioners consisted of:

  • William Schenck (Springettsbury Township)
  • Austin Hunt (Spring Garden – Citizen-at-large)
  • Donald Bishop (Springettsbury Township)
  • Holly Gumke (Spring Garden Township)
  • John Fullmer (Spring Garden Township)
  • Nicholas Gurerri (Springettsbury Alternate)
  • Richard Guyer (Spring Garden Alternate)
  • Steve Hovis - Solicitor

On September 18, 2007, the first meeting of the York Area United Fire and Rescue Commission was held in Springettsbury Township. The Solicitor for the Commission Steve Hovis, called for the nomination of officers. The first officers of the Commission were:

  • Chairman – William Schenck
  • Vice Chairman – Austin Hunt
  • Secretary-Treasurer – John Fullmer

Once the framework for the Fire Commission was in place, approval was granted to advertise for the first Fire Chief of the newly formed regional department. After a nationwide search, the committee offered the position to Robert McCoy. Chief McCoy served as the Deputy Fire Chief of Operations for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department in Maryland, which consisted of over 700 career personnel, approximately 1,300 volunteers, 44 fire stations, 93 Engines, 23 Ladder Trucks, 13 Rescue Squads, 41 Ambulances and 12 Advanced Life Support units.

Chief McCoy officially started with the new Department on February 11, 2008, utilizing the previous York Medical Center building, owned by Springettsbury Township, as the first YAUFR Headquarters. Barry Emig, the Fire Chief from Spring Garden Township prior to the consolidation, was now serving as Deputy Fire Chief. On March 10, 2008, the first Administrative Assistant, Ms. Linda Bayman was hired to assist the Fire Chief. Additionally, Ms. Sandy Ratcliffe from Springettsbury Township Finance Department was appointed as the Finance Director for the Department.

On March 18, 2008, the Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief were officially sworn in by Senator Mike Waugh, a long time friend of the fire service, during the Fire Commission meeting. The consolidation was scheduled to begin operations on May 5, 2008, and the management staff continued to address administrative and operational tasks of the original work plan. The effective date established York County Company 89 and the use of individual station numbers of Grantley (13), Victory (15), Springetts (16) and Commonwealth (17) ceased.

On May 5, 2008, the consolidation took effect with a ribbon cutting ceremony conducted at the YAUFR Headquarters. Commission Chairman Schenck served as the Master of Ceremonies and Representative Eugene DePasquale served as the Keynote Speaker to a crowd consisting of representatives from each township, the charter departments, representatives from neighboring departments, members of the business communities and citizens.

The YAUFR Commission and management staff worked throughout the first year continuing to develop the structure of the Department in the areas of consolidating rules and Standard Operating Procedures, volunteer representation and consolidation, labor/management negotiations, capital planning, and many other items necessary to the success of the new Department. The first year also brought change as Holly Gumke moved out of Spring Garden Township and resigned as a Commissioner. She was very instrumental in the building process and her services would be greatly missed. She was replaced by new Spring Garden Commissioner Tom Warman.

In 2009, the Department lost two instrumental members of the design team. In January of 2009, Nick Gurreri stepped down as an alternate to the Fire Commission and was replaced by Springettsbury Township Supervisor George Dvoryak. Additionally, the Department received notification that YAUFR Deputy Fire Chief Barry Emig would be retiring after nearly 40 years of combined volunteer and career service to the citizens of York County. Chief Emig had been instrumental in the consolidation efforts and his contribution to the fire service is greatly appreciated.

The Department strived to enhance the efficiency of the fire service in the charter municipalities while maintaining fiscal responsibility. In June of 2009, York Area United Fire and Rescue sold the first of its excessive apparatus fleet. The Air Truck, formally the Rescue Squad from Springetts Station 16, was sold to Nippenose Valley Volunteer Fire Company in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. Additionally, Truck 15 was advertised for sale as it was a redundant service provided by the Department.

In November of 2009, the Fire Commission, with the assistance of both Spring Garden and Springettsbury approved the purchase of two 2010 Pierce Arrow Pumpers. With the purchase of the newer, more effective pumpers, three pumpers from the existing fleet would be removed from service to reduce the fleet by one unit. The reduction was due to excessive units and would not affect service delivery.

On November 16, 2009, the York Area United Fire and Rescue hired their first Battalion Chief, Daniel Hoff. Battalion Chief Hoff came to the Department from Springettsbury Township where he served as a Fire Captain. Battalion Chief Hoff would be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the fire stations and EMS units.

On April 29, 2010, the York Area United Fire and Rescue Commission and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 2377, signed the first joint contract for the new Department. The development of this collective bargaining agreement was made possible through the dedicated work of professionals on both the labor and management side, who worked for the past three years to integrate the separate municipal agreements. The agreement will help to form the foundation of labor relations for YAUFR and enable YAUFR to continue providing excellent service.

On September 1, 2011, Fire Chief Richard Shank retired from the Manchester Department of Fire Services after a distinguished career as a firefighter and Township Fire Chief. The Manchester Township Board of Supervisors elected to contract management services from YAUFR as they evaluated joining the regional department. The process of sharing management services and resources has allowed the departments to come together under common operational procedures to allow for efficient emergency services delivery.

The York Area United Fire and Rescue is dedicated to the delivery of the finest fire and rescue services to the citizens of the participating townships while maintaining fiscal responsibility. We look forward to more success as we continue to develop into the future.

Grantley History

The first meeting of the proposed fire company for the Grantley, Country Club and Violet Hill districts was held in the Grantley School building at 7:45 p.m., March 26, 1926, with W.W. Van Baman acting as Chairman. The Chairman pointed out the main features which should be followed by the new organization and explained the steps necessary to secure a charter. He then read the proposed charter which he had prepared. At the meeting, the following officers were elected:

  • President: W.C. Throne
  • First Vice President: Francis Farquhar
  • Second Vice President: John Senft
  • Secretary: J.J. Rudisill
  • Asst. Secretary: C.S. Pressel
  • Treasurer: A.H. Geesey
  • Financial Secretary: John A. Lehr

The name "Grantley Fire Company" was proposed by William Strine and unanimously adopted. Two sites were being considered as location for the building, one at the intersection of Grantley & Ludlow, and the other at the intersection of Virginia and Ludlow. It was decided at the meeting that the trustees procure an option from Harry Fritz on for the plot of ground at Virginia and Ludlow which is valued at $1,600.

Commissioners

William Schenck

Fire Commission Chairman, Springettsbury Township

Kathleen Phan

Fire Commission Member, Springettsbury Township

Blanda Nace

Alternate Fire Commission Member, Springettsbury Township


Eric Lehmayer

Fire Commission Member, Spring Garden Township

Michael Thomas

Alternate Fire Commission Member, Spring Garden Township


Austin Hunt

Citizen-at-Large Fire Commission Member, Vice Chairman, Springettsbury Township

Steve Hovis

Solicitor

YAUFR Inaugural Commissioners


Chartered September 6th, 2007

Pictured from left to right:
Don Bishop, George Dvoryak, William Schenck - Chairman, Austin Hunt - Vice Chairman, John Fullmer – Treasurer/Secretary, Thomas Warman and Richard Guyer

YAUFR Township Commissioners