Dial 911, and in minutes a firetruck will be braking in front of your house. Never doubt it.
But, it wasn’t always so. When Montgomery was still rural, if a column of smoke announced a fire, neighbors came running to help, although there was little they could do other than drive livestock out of the barn and haul valuables out of a house even when there was a windmill tank full of water and buckets enough to pass it along.
Fire spread with amazing rapidity among a farm’s cluster of frame buildings, and a barn packed to the rafters with combustibles was an inferno waiting to happen.
Two devastating fires in quick succession back in 1939 energized the determination of a handful who had stood helpless in the face of calamity and out of the ashes was born Montgomery Fire Company No.1. With nothing to go on but their own can-do, they recruited a corps of volunteers (Dues $1), raised $300 to buy a secondhand fire truck that could carry 500 gallons of water, bought, begged, and bedeviled together enough blocks, boards, and whatever-it-took to build themselves a firehouse next to the old Belle Mead ball-field. Actually, it was an addition Leroy Higgins allowed them to put on his garage.
Meager beginnings became major accomplishments in the years that followed. Both their fire fighting and their firemen’s fairs were some real humdingers. Just you wait till you see.
Van Harlingen Historical Society (VHHS) has teamed up with firefighters and is planning to mark their 80th anniversary in October by inviting everyone to come hear all about it, as told in picture and personal recollection by none other than Dan Pullen, yarn spinner with the best of them. Don’t be put off by remembering there was standing-room only the last time Dan spoke for VHHS. This time, we will be in the Belle Mead Firehouse on Griggstown Road, and the firemen can roll their engines out to make room for chairs aplenty.
Just let us know you are coming. Everyone is invited to this free event, kids too. Seats and eats for all. ■
Thursday, October 10, 7 pm
Montgomery Fire Co No 1
35 Belle Mead-Griggstown Road
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.