"Anybody who needs help, we help"
For over 100 years, the Fairchance Volunteer Fire Department has been providing service to the community. Many of the team fighters have an average of 20 years with the company.
The Fairchance Volunteer Fire Department filed for a charter on a certificate of incorporation on March 15, 1911, with the Honorable Robert C. Umbel, President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County Pennsylvania.
There were fifteen residents’ names as the subscribers on the Firemen’s charter. They were: Emerson W Cooley, H.W. Ward, William O’D Hickle, Ray L Havner, Frank Williams, Minor G Dunaway, Edward G Kaiser, Milton M Darby, Charles Humbert, Ray D Nixon, Warren G Dunaway, David R Sechler, Ewing Humphreys, Guy Deffenbaugh, and Lewis G Walker. Those chosen to be on the Board of Directors, consisting of five members, for the first year were as follows: Frank Williams, Ray L Havner, H.N. Ward, Warren “Dad” Dunaway, and Edward G Kaiser. There were seventeen men who also witnessed that day.
For Forty years, Robert A King was the dispatcher for the Fire Department.
Fire chiefs who served the department included Troy Huber, Rufus Barkley, Buck Shanaberger, Albert Kapalko, Ken Walters, Raymond Swaney, Gerald Swaney, Jim Miller, Ferdinand “Ike’’ Goisse, Keith Goisse, Harry Swaney, Robert Miller Sr., Dan Thompson Sr. and Dan Thompson Jr. The current chief, since 1988, is Raymond C. Eicher.
The department’s property includes a fire station and social hall with two banquet rooms, which were renovated in the fall of 2009, as well as sleeping quarters for the ambulance corps.
FUN FACT: The fire department had a band from the 1930’s until the 1960’s. Tony Chess was the director of this large marching band that played Firemen’s parades, Memorial Day parades and military funerals. Popular in the tri-state area, they won many awards.
FVFD has always been known for their street fairs at first in the Railroad parking lot, several years on Fair St. and then on our new grounds here since 1975 with our community days usually held during the July 4th holiday week with fireworks. They have also hosted many Fayette County Firemen’s Association Conventions and the Western Pennsylvania Firemen’s Association Convention. All of the visiting fire fighters always enjoy coming to the meetings and enjoying a good time of fellowship and fun here at Fairchance.
Our new home here at 31 Pittsburgh St was erected in 1970 with our social hall. The apparatus and fire department operations left the borough building for the last time and began here in 1975.
The fire department has had a wonderful serving ladies auxiliary that helps with fundraising to meet with the needs of the department.
In 1948, the fire department started the ambulance service. The first ambulance was and members were trained in first aid and other life saving techniques. The service continued until the early 1990’s. In November of 2000 a group of firemen decided to restart the Ambulance Service. Two ambulances’ were purchased and on December 21st 2000 we took our first call. The Fairchance EMS took calls through September 1st, 2016 with three advanced life support medic units with emergency medical technicians and paramedics giving quality patient care to those called upon in their time of need. It was with great sadness we had to close. We thank the community for the support given to the ambulance over the years. EMS Southwest is now providing excellent care to our community as we did. They are stationed in our building and most of the Employees are the same Employees that worked for us. So you will continue to see the same people you have for the last 16 years.
The FVFD firefighters have to undergo extensive training, including how to work with chemicals. This training and advances in equipment have made us more successful at fighting fires today.
In the early years, firefighters couldn’t go into a building but stood outside and sprayed the building with water. Today, equipment such as air tanks allow firefighters to go inside buildings to fight the fire.
In addition, the advent of bigger trucks that can hold more water and the availability of water lines in rural areas also contribute to the success of fighting fires. Currently the fire department operates a 1,000 gpm pumper, a 1,250 gpm pumper-tanker, a brush truck and a medium duty rescue/air truck. Check out our Apparatus page for more details on our equipment.
OTHER MEMBERS WHO FOLLOWED THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS……
Donald J Miller…The first youngest member Andrew Fronek
Michael Dragon K.B. Porter
Joseph Lucia Buck Shanaberger
Albert Kapalko Kenneth Hughes
Rufus Barkley Joseph Williams
Kenneth Walters Robert A King – Dispatcher
J Woodrow Cooley Ty Cooley
Joseph Dunham Michael Cooley
William Murphy Edward Byerly
Raymond Swaney C.C. Lewis
George Hovanec Gerald Swaney
Samuel Glisan Michael Brnich Sr.
David Barkley Thomas Lewis
Clifford Radabaugh James Quinn
Ira Grimm Floyd Dils
Albert Cole William Dice
Robert W. Ellsworth Jay S Maust