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2 ENGINE COMPANIES DISBANDED
Thu. Mar 31st 2011
As a result of ACT 47 & the recent arbitration award between the City & the Reading Fire Fighters Local 1803, firefighter staffing will be reduced by 4 firefighters per shift. To facilitate the loss of manpower, 2 engine companies have been slated for closure. The firefighters union remains concerned about the loss of manpower to an already understaffed fire department, but understands the seriousness of the city's fiscal situation.
The resulting loss will reduce coverage in the 18th Ward with 14's district being split between Engines 5 & 3. Engine 1's district will grow larger covering not only the vast downtown, but the south east as well. Both engine companies had mutual aid assignments with Engine 13 running into Mount Penn Borough, and Engine 14 running into Kenhorst Borough.
Engines 13 & 14 will cease to exist as of 800 hours, April 1st.
Firefighters from those companies will be moved to fill vacancies on other apparatus, as well as jumper positions on their respective platoons.
Engine 13, which was the apparatus of the former Union Fire Company, can be traced back to 1898 when the citizens of East Reading formed the company to provide for fire protection. The company was quartered in East Reading on 15th street in June of 1905. "13" ran from the area until 1992, when the city closed the building due to its poor condition.
The engine was then moved into Ladder 2's quarters at 1019 Spruce street where the company continued to provide service to the citizens of East Reading. In 2004, the city closed the former Washington Fire Company building on Spruce street and forced the company to relocate to Engine 1's quarters at 8th & Court streets. In the beginning of 2011, after years of poor roof conditions at the 8th & Court building, a serious mold issue forced both companies out of the station. This move sent Engine 13 to the Plum & Franklin street station, the furthest from their original 15th street home.
Engine Company 13 served for 113 years.
Engine 14, which was the former apparatus of the Oakbrook Fire Company had the distinction of being the youngest company in the department. The company's first rig can be traced back to 1903. The company was quartered in a very small station at 619 Park Ave. The company served residents in the city's 18th ward from this location until October of 2010 with the opening of the new Southwest Fire Station on Lancaster Ave.
Engine Company 14 served for 108 years.
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