By Kaylee Lindenmuth
MAHANOY CITY - "They could've said 'Mahanoy City has four other fire companies, let's just pack it in, it's too big of an obstacle,' but, the crew persevered on, and carried on, and met the challenge," said Chief Dan Markiewicz of the Mahanoy City Fire Department.
On August 24, 2013, firefighters from across northern Schuylkill County battled a blaze at 35 East Mahanoy Avenue in the borough, the firehouse for the Washington Hook and Ladder Company.
The building sustained extensive damage, and the company's 1993 Simon Duplex aerial truck was destroyed.
Today, four years later, the company has a new station, and another aerial truck, a 1997 Emergency One Custom 75-foot Quint, purchased in 2014 from the Southampton Fire Company in Bucks County.
The station, built as an addition to the West End Fire Company's station, features a single truck bay and a common room, featuring a small kitchen, television, and seating.
On Saturday, October 14, members from the "Hookies," from Mahanoy City's other four fire companies, and from out-of-town companies as close as Shenandoah or as far as Cumberland County came out to dedicate the new station and re-house the truck.
A fire truck parade, led by Washington's Ladder 457, through the borough preceded the dedication and housing ceremony.
"There were a lot of complications building this building. We had a lot of battles to fight, and everything else," Mike Matunis, with the Washington Hook and Ladder Company, said in the introduction during the dedication.
Following Matunis was a prayer led by Reverend Fred Crawford.
"On behalf of the Mahanoy City Fire Department, and all of the visiting firefighters here, we would just like to thank and congratulate the Washington Hook and Ladder," Markiewicz said during the dedication. "It was four long years of blood, sweat, tears, a few brick walls, until we got to this point. They could've said 'Mahanoy City has four other fire companies, let's just pack it in, it's too big of an obstacle,' but, the crew persevered on, and carried on, and met the challenge."
"A lot of lesser people would've just walked away and said 'We're done, wash our hands, and let somebody else worry about protecting the community,' but the few, the proud, the Hookies, carried on and perservered, and met the challenge, and overcame it with great success," Markiewicz added.
Markiewicz, who doubles as a photographer, presented a large framed print of the company's truck to members for display in the firehouse.
An open house of the building followed the dedication. On display throughout the building are historical items from the company's history, including the original charter.
Also on display are items from the 2013 fire, including burned helmets and the charred Pennsylvania Emergency Vehicle license plate from the truck lost in the fire.
Firefighters and community members gathered in the station's lone truck bay, where the company served hot dogs, pierogies, and refreshments.