Edinburg Fire

Fire has always been a threat to any town in America. Edinburg is not immune. This photograph shows the downtown area after it had been ravaged by a destructive fire in December of 1895. The configuration destroyed six homes, the Edinburg Sentinel Office, a store, the Hotel Murray, two livery stables, a shoe shop, and 22 outbuildings. Other large fire occurred in 1906 which destroyed two stores and three houses.

To protect themselves, the community organized a volunteer fire company. The first such organization was founded in 1869 and lead by H.H. Riddleberger. This group was little more than an organized bucket brigade since Edinburg lacked a water works. Firemen at the time also specialized in “pulling down” buildings with hooks and axes to prevent the spread of fire.

The fire company was reorganized 1903 after the Chief of the Washington DC fire department reviewed the town’s company and made recommendations to improve services. Based on his advice, the town purchased a chemical wagon, in essence a large fire extinguisher, and arranged for the company to use the Masonic Temple/town hall on Centre Street. The volunteers were also supplied with a hose cart to use water directly from the town’s new hydrant system once it was installed in 1907. A hook and ladder wagon was donated by druggist Frank Dinges in 1912 which greatly expanded the company’s ability to protect the town.

The current Edinburg Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1929. The first chief was Mark B. Getz and Ray Coffman served as President. It purchased a Packard touring car that year and modified it to serve as a fire engine. The company operated in the former town hall building until 1954 when it moved to a station on Main Street. In 1977 a new station was completed on Stoney Creek Blvd. where the company continues to operate from.