On January 31 1911, the citizens of Intercourse and vicinity met in N. F. Zooks Furniture Store and organized the Intercourse Fire Company. A general committee of solicitors for funds for the purchase of chemical fire engines and apparatus was elected. The solicitors immediately went to work and by the March meeting the Treasurer reported a $720.80 balance. A site for the building was discussed and proposed that a 16’ x 14’ x 7’ building be built on the south side of the mill, and leased for $1.00 per year.
By the time of the February 24 meeting a decision was made on fire apparatus and an order was given to Sprecher & Ganse, Lancaster Pa. for two 45 gallon Oberchain & Boyer Chemical fire engines at a cost of 486.61. A compliment of ladders was purchased, a 40’, a 20’, and a 16’ from A. M. Rodgers at a contract price of $8.90. Two rubber coats and two pair of rubber boots completed the equipment.
As if in derision to all the preparation, fire struck and destroyed the barn at the home of John Burkey on S. Queen St. before the new apparatus was delivered.
The active firemen of the company for the next ten years were faced with the ruggedness of firemen’s duties as in most cases the engines were transported by manpower. By the time they ran a city block with the engine they were ready for help. However they were rugged volunteers as one record testifies. One of the firemen helping to draw the engine to a fire, fell down and was run over, however he gathered himself together, got up and followed to fight the fire.
On August 9th, 1921 a special meeting was called by the President, H. B. Slack, for the purchase of launching a project for a new building, charter and new fire equipment
By August 23rd, a copy of the charter was ready. A quotation was received from the carpenter, Samuel Futer, of $800.00 for a 16'x30'xl0' block building, with $50.00 extra for asbestos roof. Solicitors turned in $2881.75. On Sept. 6, 1921 the Treasury showed $3709.60. The size of the building was changed to 20'x40' and the project was in motion.
Samuel Futer erected the building on the plot of ground next to the Old Cross Keys tavern owned by Lorenz Futer. A new motorized Olds-mobile unit was purchased, with three chemical tanks and a new era of fire fighting was on with motorized equipment together with the two hand drawn outfits which were to remain in the town
By the time 1924 arrived, the company was gathering information as to better equipment. However it was not until the August meeting of 1934 that due to the unsatisfactory condition of the fire truck a new outfit was considered.
At a special meeting of Sept. 18, 1934 bids were received and J. Harvey Spahr was awarded the contract for a Reo Speed Wagon at the cost of $4000.00 to be equipped with the two old tanks and two extras on the rear bringing the equipment to a four tank-180 gallon chemical unit.
In 1944 the company was faced with the obsolescence of chemical equipment but with the war in progress the possibility of obtaining new equipment was remote. The process of fighting fire with fog was being emphasized and consideration of such equipment was begun. Meetings and discussions with the farmers were so fruitful that a program was embarked upon to purchase a "Bean" high pressure fog unit carrying 400 gallons of water, a portable pump, two ladders, and 500 ft. of one and one half inch hose.
This response from the community justified the move and an International chassis with a Bean high pressure unit was ordered. The Intercourse Fire Co. thus became the pioneer with fog fighting equipment in Lancaster Co.
The increased demands on equipment soon found this unit not large enough for all auxiliary equipment so in 1950 another program was inaugurated. The matter was brought before the community and a fund of $6476.90 was raised to make the necessary changes. By coopera¬tion of the community and the John Bean Co. the old equipment was sold to Muncy Creek Fire Department and new equipment was purchased with a 600 gallon tank, also carrying a portable 500 ft hose and three ladders, on a Reo chassis.
On the morning of September 4, 1953, the first large fire in many years destroyed the feed mill of Clem E. Hoober on the old hotel property at the west end of the town.
This fire brought to the town the stark realization that the water supply to fight a large fire was not immediately available.
A citizens' meeting on Sept. 15, 1953 in the fire hall discussed the water situation. Committees went into action to get the facts on cisterns and a tank unit. Numerous meetings followed with the result that the rural folks became interested and supported the project to such an extent that the tank truck was selected.
A Brockway Chassis was purchased and a 1600 gallon tank mounted on it with pump, auxiliary lighting plant, flood lights, 500 ft. of one and one half inch hose, suction hose, ladders; etc.
In 1954, we built the first tanker in the county. It was an old gas truck with a new water tank, and the story goes that as soon as you got it up to speed, you had to brake as hard as possible because it took two miles to stop it. This original tanker showed the need for taking water to the fire. Since then we have had three new tankers, each capable of carrying more water and each having a larger pump.
A new International engine was purchased in 1970, and was fondly called “Old Bessie” in its later years. In 1989 we purchased our brush truck, and in 1991 we purchased our E-One engine, both of which are still in service.
In 1997 the Intercourse Fire Company purchased one of the first large tankers in Lancaster County. This tanker is set up to both haul water and serve as a nurse tanker, carrying 3,600 gallons of water, with a 1,750 GPM pump.
Over the years the community realized that we needed a new fire station. The old station in the center of town was too small for modern fire equipment and could not be expanded. Several plots of land were looked at and rejected for one reason another. In 1998, Leacock Township offered the fire company a lot on Hollander Road, on the east end of the baseball park. This offer was accepted and a new fire station project was started. In 2001, the Intercourse Fire Company moved into a new 12,500 square foot fire which the fire company designed and built. The new fire station holds 5 pieces of fire equipment, has a large meeting hall, commercial kitchen, company training room, and offices. There is a 120,000 gallon fire water cistern underneath the station, and have parking for 46 vehicles. The meeting room has become well used by the community for dinners, wedding receptions, parties, business meetings, and other activities. In 2002, the Intercourse Fire Company purchased a large used ambulance and converted it into a squad truck. The squad truck is capable of carrying twelve firefighters, their gear, and a lot of safety equipment.