Grround Breaking 5In 1948, Jefferson Township became Jefferson Hills Borough. There were already three volunteer fire companies in Jefferson Hills, but members of Jefferson Civic Association and Volunteer Fire Department decided that a fourth was needed to better serve the community.   Although the organization tagged “Volunteer Fire Department” onto the end of the name, they had no equipment and fought no fires. Their social organization was located in the basement of a building along Route 885.

At the Lotto, a local watering hole along Route 885, Jefferson Hills Borough Councilman, Marshall Fiore, suggested to some of the other members that another fire company was needed and should be established for the safety and protection of the residents of the Route 885 Area. The one and only reason, at the time, was that the Large Fire Company’s fire engine, located on Route 51 in the “Large Area” of Jefferson Hills had an old manual gear shift and was very slow making its way up Payne Hill to the Route 885 Area. This was just not acceptable in protecting the residents. The 885 Area consists of an area of the borough, contiguous to Pennsylvania State Route 885. The housing developments, at the time, included the Beverly Hills Plan, along Wray Drive, Wray Large Rd., Baker, Coal Valley 2, with more development underway.

On July 15, 1959, the 500,000 member United States Steelworkers of America (USWA), called a strike, which lasted for 115 days. Most of the members of Jefferson Civic Association and Volunteer Fire Department were members of the USWA, working in a steel facility. The time off gave them the opportunity to engage in other projects. So, they were able to obtain funding to purchase a small piece of land, and the materials for a fire station.  The members themselves provided the needed labor. By dedication, team effort and cooperation, this original 885 Fire Station was constructed at a cost of just $4,000, located directly on Route 885. The building constructed was relatively small and capable of housing only one fire engine, but adequately served the purpose. Today, it is occupied by Al’s Cone Zone, an ice cream store.

In 1963, a new fire engine was purchase; the very first with an automatic shift transmission from American Fire Apparatus. At the time it was a very novel but forward thinking endeavor; fire companies from far and wide came to see it. Today one would be hard pressed to find a fire engine with a manual transmission, unless an antique. But, this depicts the ingrained philosophy of the organization’s leadership and members.

Thus, Jefferson Civic Association and Volunteer Fire Department gave way to the new Jefferson Volunteer Fire Company Route 885 Area. The founding officers were:

Marshall Fiore, President

James Stokes, Jr., Vice-President

Joseph Polink, Treasurer

Anthony Lotto, Financial Secretary

John Latanzi, Secretary

At the time, fire hydrants were scarce in the area. Attributable to Jefferson Volunteer Fire Company Route 885 Area leadership, fire hydrants were installed, also requiring installation of water lines. This encouraged and made the way for further residential housing development in the area.

Then, with additional efforts and fund raising, on March 5, 1969, there was a ground breaking ceremony commencing the construction of a new fire station. The estimated cost, including the $5,000 for land, was $100,000.  This facility adequately served the residents for 42 years, and today is still home.

In 2002 Large Fire Company, one of the four Jefferson Hills Borough fire companies, located in what is considered the “Large Area” was having financial difficulties, and closed their doors, after serving the residents from 1945. The Jefferson VFC assumed all its responsibilities, adding the fire and rescue services for the residents of the Large Area. This required additional equipment, man power, and training, but Jefferson VFC accommodated the increase and continued serving the residents well. In addition to the increased responsibility, from the 2000 to the 2010 census, Jefferson Hills Borough has grown in population by 3.4% and new home construction by 13%.

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