Family and personal relationships bring most volunteers into local fire companies.
Keeping them there and turning them into active firefighters and rescue personnel takes time and dedication. About half of them stay through the years-long process.
Southern End fire companies are working together to make the lengthy training process easier for new recruits.
The annual Bart Township Fire Company sale got off to a slow start on Saturday, March 2. Slick roads left by Friday night’s snow and ice storm meant bidders and spectators did not start showing up until mid-morning.
By 11 a.m., the firefighters had issued just over 1,600 bidding cards for the ongoing auctions. In a good year, that number would have been greater than 2,200.
Above, men examine a carriage before that sale started at noon; right, a woman and a child share a container of french fries.
A lot depends on the weather. A cold, rainy day means fewer people turn out. A warm, clear day will bring bigger crowds, as will a cold clear day.
Organizers for the annual Bart Township Fire Company sales don't want to talk about snow.
The all-volunteer fire company holds two sales in March. The first, set for Saturday, March 2, will focus on items ranging from carriages and farm equipment to sporting goods. The second sale, to be held Saturday, March 15, will include building supplies, lumber, and cabinets. Crafts will be sold on both days.
Members of the Bart Township Fire Company have been rallying around a longtime fellow volunteer who is dealing with terminal cancer.
They check on him daily, have built a ramp to make it easier to get in his home, installed a hospital bed, and gotten him a motorized scooter.
One of the biggest changes for this year's Bart Township Fire Company auction won't be on the sale grounds in the village of Georgetown.
"We will have team parking at more farms," said sale chairman Reuben Petersheim Jr.
Until this year, there have not been enough places near the sale for families to tether their horses.
"We're going to have more farms along the shuttle bus route," Petersheim said. "There will be signs at the end of the driveways where there's team parking."
Fire destroyed a small factory on Dry Wells Rd., Bart Township, shortly after 11 p.m. on Thursday, July 10.
The fire broke out shortly after a line of thunderstorms came through the area.
The building was engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived within minutes of the 11:09 p.m. dispatch.
Firefighters kept the flames from spreading to an adjacent building.
Bart Township firefighters were assisted by volunteers and equipment from Lancaster and Chester counties. They trucked water from fill sites on Wilson Rd. and Heyberger Rd.
Bart Township native Hazel Grace Woerth is celebrating her 105th birthday today.
Mrs. Woerth, was born on her parents' farm on Georgetown Rd. on June 26, 1909.
She attended public schools, graduating from Bart Township High School after she finished the 11th grade.
In a 2009 interview, she said she balanced her education with chores on the farm.
"I loved to hunt the eggs in the hen house," she said in an interview before her 100th birthday. "The important thing was not to break them."
After she married, she and her husband, the late George K. Woerth, lived on his home farm where she continued to help with the chores.
"I helped milk the cows. they put a halter on them so they wouldn't kick me," she said.
The top layer of mud began to thaw late Saturday morning, March 1, but freezing temperatures didn’t keep buyers away from Bart Township Fire Company’s 50th annual sale.
By 11:30 that morning, nearly 2,000 bidders had registered for the sale.
Buyers and spectators crowded the sale grounds behind the fire company’s Furnace Rd. station as auctioneers had several sales going simultaneously. The station’s engine bays were standing room only as quilts went to the highest bidders.
If a mud sale is to live up to its name, there has to be mud.
Municipal crews worked through Monday to uncover potential mud from nearly a foot of snow. The crews trucked loads of snow from the sale grounds behind Bart Township Fire Company's station in Georgetown to make room for the first day of the volunteers' annual sale.
Bart Township Fire Co.,
Sept. 1: 3:28 p.m., medical assist, White Oak Rd. at Georgetown Rd., Paradise Township; three volunteers were in service 15 minutes.
Sept. 2: 2:26 p.m., medical assist, Valley Rd., Bart Township; two volunteers were in service one hour and 37 minutes.
Sept. 3: 7:52 p.m., medical assist, Noble Rd., Bart Township; two volunteers were in service 13 minutes.