|The year was 1944 and the City of Hermitage was then a very rural community known as Hickory
Township. Several years before the citizens of Hickory Township had formed an all volunteer fire
department, to provide fire protection to the entire township. However, calls to the Patagonia
district meant a five mile run through the surrounding communities with the possibility of delays due
to railroad crossings and often heavy industrial traffic.
Concern over those possible delays led residents of Patagonia to begin talking of the need for a
volunteer fire department in their own area. And so it was in September of 1944, that they organized
as Hickory Township Volunteer Fire Department Number 2. First fire chief was O. Seiple, assisted
by C. Marshall. Glen Wilson served as President, P.O'Neil as Vice President, James Barker as
Secretary and S. August as Treasurer.
Of course, forming a fire department required capital, and true to the volunteer spirit, a number of
the residents in Patagonia dug deep into their own pockets to finance this new endeavor. In
addition to the first officers noted, some of the well known residents that made up this early
department included: Dominic Albanese, Anthony "Tony" Bogolin, Pete Cabbage, Joe DeJulia,
Howard Ferguson, Mike Grantoski, Albert Kopen, Ernest Kopen, Dominic Maffei, Sam Mistretta,
J.Mihalcin, Joe Noga, Elmer Reiter, George Roman, Marion Russo, Steven Stupensky and William
In May of 1947, the members filed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for incorporation as a
non-profit corporation and in September of that year became Patagonia Volunteer Fire Company and
Relief Association. That Charter is maintained to this day, even though we function and respond to
all calls in the City of Hermitage as a part of the fire protection system.
The first building for the department was an old garage on Marshall Street and on of the first pieces
of fire equipment was a surplus Army half-track - not real efficient at structure fires but a terrific
brush fire unit. The old garage was heated by a wood burning stove and during the winter months
the volunteers would take turns to maintain a fire around the clock.
As the department grew, plans were made for a permanent building and in 1949 construction began
on a $9,000.00 building on Superior Street. Again the volunteers pitched in by donating their labor to
lay block and finish the building. A local company, Sharpsville Steel Fabricators, Inc, of Sharpsville,
Pa. built the first new fire truck purchased by the department, at an approximate cost of $4,000.00 It
was built on a 1950 GMC Model FC 455 chassis with a 197" wheelbase, 800 gallon water tank and a
Darley Model JMS - 300 pump. A fancy piece of equipment at the time, it became something of a
showpiece in the area.
In 1979, Patagonia completed an addition to its building that included a new bay, offices and lounge
area for its members. To replace the aging equipment, a new 1979 Seagraves engine was
purchased. Today, the list of equipment also includes a 1993 Pierce Dash, a 1997 Dodge Brush
Unit, a 1968 Ford van utility unit and a water rescue unit.
While our active membership is less today than in days gone by, our first responders are well
trained, with the majority of them being certified by The Office of the State Firefighters in at least
FireFighter I certifications. Most of our Firefighters hold medical certifications also, ranging from
First Responders through Paramedics.
As we look to the future, the men and women of Patagonia Volunteer Fire Department will continue
to strive for excellence and professionalism in all that they do.
|Picture taken in 1948
|Our current station
|119 Superior Street
Hermitage, Pa 16148