In May of 1895, Borough Council of South Williamsport place an article in the South Williamsport Star asking citizens to organize a fire company to help protect lives and property at the east end of the borough. A meeting was held on May 31, 1895 at the Main Street School Building to complete organization. Officers were elected included William Sweeley, president and Wm. North Robbins, vice president as well as 24 men signed as charter members. In June of that year, the organization agreed upon the name “Citizens Fire Company Number 2” and adopted the constitution and by-laws. The Lycoming County Courthouse notified the fire company on October 10, 1895 that their charter was accepted and recorded by the Court of Common Pleas.
A committee decided to rent a barn from owner John App on Howard Street to run the fire company out of this location until April, 1897 when a new firehouse property was purchased for $675 from John H. Miller on Southern Avenue across from Messiah Lutheran Church. In 1902, a second floor was added and a bell tower built and a hand pulled bell was purchased for $70. By 1908, the members launched a project to again build a new firehouse on the Southern Avenue site. From 1908 to the present, this firehouse serves to be the home of Citizens Fire Company No.2.
Fire apparatus began with a four-wheel hand-drawn hose carriage (now on display at the Lycoming County Historical Society Museum) replaced over the past 100 years with modern pumpers and ambulance. A Quick Response Service was initiated in 1992 to meet the needs of a medical or trauma related emergency. Ambulance service expanded to form a three-fire-company unit in South Williamsport that provided certified EMTs, first responders, drivers and equipment for service to the borough and a large area of Lycoming County.
The Ladies Auxiliary served the fire company in several important capacities, providing hot food and drinks during a fire emergency and the vitalservice of fund raising efforts to meet the financial needs of the organization.
Women entered as volunteer fire fighters in the mid-1980s. One woman’s experience has been positive; no harassment from the male volunteers. Her training was the same and she realized from the beginning that, just like any new trainee, she had to earn the trust of the rest of the crew.
Over the years with the fire company, two unusual experiences were remarkable. Once during a winter fire, she was positioned on the top of the ladder steadying the powerful stream of water. When she was instructed to shift positions and be replaced by a co-worker, she realized she was frozen in place without a way to free herself. Another fire fighter brought the equipment to chip away the ice. Another time, during an extremely hot fire, she had burns on her body inside her fire suit. Her own perspiration actually boiled to the point of causing burns.
From her early firefighting days when she changed from skirts and heels into her protective gear when responding to a fire; until now, as she serves as both fire fighter and emergency medical technician for her South Williamsport company.