(Adapted and Edited from Goodwill Fire Companies 100th Year Anniversary book)
Note: This is from a history of Goodwill Fire Company in the 100th Anniversary book that was written in 2005. Due to this, there may be things that are excluded or revised. If anybody notices things that are now irrelevant or have changed, please contact us on our Contact Us page. Thank you.
Back in 1905, the Company raised money in much the same manner as today and started off with plans for a July 4th dinner and celebration which was held on the Baptist Church Grounds. One of the committees appointed for this affair was a group to contact the merchants and ask them to close their stores that day. However, the celebration was postponed until August 9th because fire companies from surrounding communities could not participate on Independence Day and an important part of the celebration was a parade and drills in competition with other communities. The fire company’s celebration became a successful event. The celebration is now part of Laceyville Community Day, which includes the Firemen’s Parade.
Also, in the fund raising program in the early years, was an agreement with the Town Baseball Club whereby the Fire Company leased ground for the club to play on. The club put the ground in shape and turned all receipts after expenses to the Fire Company. The Firemen furnished the team with suits, stockings, 6 balls, 6 bats, one glove and a mask. It wasn’t clear whether eight members of the team had to play without gloves or furnished their own, but evidently six balls had to last the whole season. Since the river bridge at that time was a toll bridge, an agreement was reached with the bridge company whereby all foot passengers going to a ball game could cross for 3 cents and the ball club and firemen could cross free of charge.
In 1992 the Good Will Fire Company changed the color of their fire trucks from red to lime yellow. At a baseball game between Wyalusing Volunteer Fire and Good Will Fire wager was on between the two teams. The first team to win the best of three games would carry a color banner of the other company’s truck colors. On this banner, one side was Wyalusing’s color RED—“red is the color of a Real Fire Truck” and on the other side was Good Will’s color LIME YELLOW—“LIME YELLOW—is the color of a Real Fire Truck.”. Still today the fire departments from Laceyville and Wyalusing carry on a good-hearted debate as to what is the ‘proper’ color for a fire truck is.
The Charter for the Good Will Fire Company was accomplished in May of 1908 by Attorney Edward Farr. As far as the records who, this I the same Charter used today in our State 2% Loan or other money funding projects when needed.
In August of 1905, a Chemical Cart was the first piece of equipment ordered. There are no records as to when the Company received the cart. After payment was held up due to the fact that the cart received was not as represented to the Company at the time of purchase, payment was made in the March 1906 meeting. Also acquired in 1906 were 3 fire axes, 2 dozen fire pails and a Hose Cart with a capacity to hold 500 ft. The Chemical Car cost $103.00 and the Hose Cart was $106.64. The following year of 1907, 6 lanterns were purchased for night runs.
The Company purchases their next major piece of equipment in 1917- a Model T Ford truck with a Soda Acid Chemical take mounted on it. But the records show the Company traded this unit off for a stove to the Springville Company.
In 1932, the Company purchased a new Ford Model BB Chassis Engine on which the Sanford Company of Syracuse mounted a Gear Pump and other Fire Equipment. Many changes on the truck to fit other equipment that is needed at the fire scene was done by the members of the Company. A V-8 Engine was later installed on this truck which replaced the original 4-Cylinder engine. In order to be able carry more hose to a fire, A Ford Panel Truck was purchased in 1940. This took an unduly burden off the 1932 Ford Model BB Chassis Engine.
Also in 1932, a bell was mounted on the fire hall for use as a fire signal. Up until that time, a member would run down to the Baptist Church and ring the bell rapidly from a rope on the outside of the church as a fire signal. In 1935, a siren was installed on the roof of the fire company’s building. The siren was wired up so it could be sounded from the telephone exchange or from a call button on the front of the Fire Hall. When dial phones replaced the telephone exchange operators, a push button was installed in the Laceyville Hotel with a phone to take incoming fire calls.
Today communication has changed greatly. The fire calls are reported through a 911-call system connected to the Wyoming County Emergency Communication Center. The calls are dispatched over the airways to different frequencies that activate the tones of the emergency services in the location where help is needed. The members of our Fire Company carry a Motorola pager which activates when the frequency for Station #5 “Good Will Fire” is dispatched for a call. The Line Officers, Fire Police, and Safety Officers also carry handheld radios which are used to communicate to each other and to the trucks responding to the scene of the call. These handheld radios are used the same way as the radios in the trucks. We can communicate within our Company as well as other Companies that we are working with at or around a scene.
The coverage area that the Good Will Fire Company covers is about 80 square miles. With the fire truck Engines and Tankers that the Company has today, traveling to farther areas take anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes. The primary response areas are parts of Bradford County, Wyoming County, and Susquehanna County. Municipalities served by the Good Will Fire Company of Laceyville are parts of Windham Township, Meshoppen Township, and Braintrim Township, Tuscarora Township, Auburn Township and Laceyville Borough.
In the fire of March 16 1941, many fire companies came to the aid of Laceyville (no listing of who came). But there was a write up stating that Vandervort mill pumps “kept the community’s reservoir full of water to supply the hoses throughout the sight after the original 65,000 gallons had been exhausted.” Additional lines of hose were run from the creek west of town.
Another major fire occurred in Laceyville, Christmas Day, December 15th 1962. A mutual aid call was dispatched for help in fighting this fire. The quick response of fire companies from Towanda, Wysox, Rush, Tunkhannock, Wyalusing, Meshoppen, Mehoopany, Lake Carey, and Sugar Run are credited for saving the remaining buildings of the business block of the town. On this day, the Goodwill Fire Company building burnt to the ground losing almost everything. The cause of the fire was believed to have started from the boiler furnace in the basement of the fire hall. Two pieces of firefighting equipment were ruined. The 1948 K-6 International truck was the only one that was saved. The building contained all of the records of the fire company and treasured pictures of its old members and equipment- all of which were lost.
On February 10th, 1908 The Fire Company purchased a lot with a frontage of 33 feet for $550, owned by B. E. Michael. This property lay between his store and the hotel. A contract for a building 33 feet wide 60 feet deep, 2 stories with a basement, finished on the interior with plaster and wains coating and a brick veneer on 3 sides of the exterior. The contract was awarded to Whipple Brothers for the sum of $3,040 on March 23rd 1908. The building was piped for gas which served for lighting until 1922. In 1922, the lighting was changed over to electricity with the contract for the job was given to D.E. Hair for the sum of $117.25.
In order to finance the purchase of the building, the Company borrowed $2,400 from P.H. Brink on a first mortgage, which was paid off in payments ranging from $50 to $100 with interest whenever the money was available. Evidently there was no set time on when the mortgage had to be paid off as payments varied and the mortgage was finally paid off long after Mr. Brink’s death.
As the building neared completion, there were many discussion on whether to rent sections of the hall. Nine months after the completion of the building, the Borough Council rented the meeting room for $60 per year. The Borough also maintained a jail in the basement of the building. The library was moved into the building in the same section that the Baker’s Market occupied earlier in the year.
Basketball was first played on the second floor of the building in the winter of 1909 through 1910. The hall continued to be used for that purpose until the winter of 1930 through 1931 at which time the Laceyville School building was used.
In 1914, what was then the Library Room, the room was rented to the Federal Government for use as a Post Office for the sum of $365 per year. Equipment for the Post Office had to be furnished by the Fire Company for $300 from the Siegfried Post Office. Later that year in December, The Post Office closed. In 1925 the room that was the Post Office was rented to L. L. Ervine who operated a meat market there for several years before selling to Edward Donohue who later sold out to Boyd Baker. In 1952, this room was remodeled to house one of the company’s fire trucks.
On Christmas Day 1962, the Fire Hall burnt to the ground. It was believed to be caused by an explosion of the boiler furnace in the basement of the hall. The new hall plans consisted of a 2-story building- the main floor and a basement. Two small lots of land were bought to extend the building. The building is similar to what it is today except the overhead doors may have been changed. The Laceyville Ambulance used the lower backside to house their two ambulances. The Fire Company used the main floor for their trucks with a meeting room in the back. This area is now used to house the air compressor trailer. Downstairs was set up as a dining room with a kitchen in one end. As the Fire Company purchased bigger and longer trucks, the ambulance was moved upstairs into one bay with one ambulance behind the other.
On February 18th 2004, the Good Will Fire Company purchased the building west of the fire hall from Keith E. Bluhm Sr. and Anne Marie Bluhm for the sum of $73,000.00. The mortgage is held by Laceyville branch of First Liberty Bank & Trust. This building sits on the site where Laceyville Hotel stood until it was destroyed by a fire in 1961.