The Hooversville Volunteer Fire Department was founded on November 22, 1922,
with Earl C. Ober, President; George P. Laurer, Vice President; Clyde Berkey,
Secretary; C.A. Lohr, Treasurer; and A.C. Berkebile Fire Chief.
The organization had scarcely been formed when one of the worst fires occurred.
The Polish Catholic Church caught fire and burned to the ground. Not only did
the church building burn, but also the rectory, a six room frame building
standing near, caught fire at the corner nearest the church and slowly ate its
way into the building until it lay in ashes. A small stream of water playing on
this structure could easily have saved it, but with no equipment, the men were
helpless. They could do no more than stand idly by and watch the flames do their
want on destruction. This disaster convinced the community of the necessity of
adequate fire fighting equipment. More was needed than willing hands.
The first apparatus, a Howe Pumper, costing $4,500 and carrying $1,000 worth of
hose arrived early in March of 1923. On May 19, 1923, the firemen had their
first experience in fighting fire with modern up-to-date equipment. A double
house in Baker Whitley caught fire and even though the firemen’s efforts did not
save the building, they received valuable experience. This piece of apparatus
was the department’s sole equipment until April of 1932 when they purchased a
Hahn Pumper at a cost of $9,500.
The first fire hall was in what formerly was the First National Bank Building.
This Building was used to house fire equipment from 1924 until 1970. The
building has since been remodeled and is presently used by the Borough of
Hooversville to house the Borough Offices and the Hooversville Police
Since the fire department was founded in 1922 it has had nine (9) Pumpers; a
1923 Howe Pumper, a 1931 Hahn Pumper, a 1947 Ford Pumper, a 1951 Mack Pumper, a
1954 GMC Pumper, a 1973 Mack Pumper, a 1981 Mack Pumper, a 1994 Mack, 3000
Gallon Tanker-Pumper, and a 1989 Spartan Heavy Rescue Pumper. Currently, the
fire department has in active service the 1981 Mack Pumper (Engine 614-2), the
1994 Mack Tanker/Pumper (Tanker 614-4), and the 1989 Spartan Heavy Rescue/Pumper
The fire department tries to maintain the latest emergency and fire fighting
equipment. Some of this equipment includes 2 portable pumps, 2 portable light
plants, Air Packs for each riding position of the two (2) Pumpers. Large
diameter supply hose, K-12 Rescue Saw, Maxi Force Air Bag Rescue System, Hurst
Rescue Cutter and Spreader System, Air Rams, Rescue Struts, 3000 Gallon Porta-Tank,
Heat Gun, a Thermal Imaging Camera, and other Miscellaneous Rescue Tools. All
fire department vehicles, along with the Rescue Squad’s Ambulance, have Multi
Frequency Fire Band Radios. Multi frequency Portable Two-Way Radios are carried
in all the Fire Apparatus, as well as EMS capability.
Since 1970 the fire department has undergone many changes. These include the
moving of the department into a new and modern fire station, the purchasing of
new protective gear, new hose, and nozzles, a new and modern communications
system, air cascade system to fill air bottles, and the buying of two (2) new
1000 Gallon Per Minute Mack Pumpers, in 1994 a new 1500 Gallon Per Minute, 3000
Gallon Mack Pumper-Tanker, and in 2007, a used 1989 Spartan Heavy Rescue w/ a
1500 Gallon Per Minute Pumper and onboard foam capabilities.
On August 27, 1974, a new Siren System was placed into service. This new system
consists of 3-Five Horsepower Federal Sirens, placed at various locations in the
borough. These sirens, for Civil Defense purpose only, can be activated by radio
from Somerset County Control.
On February 1, 1975, a new Two-Way Radio Communications System for the Fire
Station was placed into service. This new system, which cost $2,500, replaced an
older system, which was purchased in 1956. Under this new system, all fire and
ambulance calls were received and dispatched through the Richland Fire Central
Radio Network. In 1976, we were given the designation as Richland Fire Central
Station 14. In July 1982, a paging Encoder was added to the Base Station Two-Way
Radio at the fire hall and was used to activate newly purchased tone activated
pagers. Approximately 20 Pagers were purchased from Motorola C & E for $300 each
and issued to all active fireman.
In January 1977 the Somerset County Commissioners instituted County Wide
Emergency Dispatching and established Somerset County Control. However, it was
not until 1992 with the implementation of 911 in Somerset County, that the
Hooversville Volunteer Fire Department severed its ties with the Richland Fire
Central Radio Network and started receiving alarms through Somerset County 911.
We were then assigned the designation of Somerset County Station 614.
Since the inception of the fire department, our primary goal has been to provide
the best possible service to meets of the public, to maintain the most up to
date equipment possible, and to provide training to meet the ever changing
lifestyles and economic development of our area. While training has always
played a major role in the fire service, it has become more of a priority over
the recent years. With the social, economic, and recreational development of our
area changing, so have the training aspects of the fire service changed as well.
With the completion of a 37 unit multi story Federally Funded Housing Facility,
A Propane Gas Plant, Wind Turbines, Logging and Timbering, Boat Racing and
Fishing on the Stonycreek River and the volume of Coal Truck and School Bus
Traffic we soon came to realize not only the importance of fire training but
also that we would have to become diversified in our training as well. We are
proud to say that many of our Firefighters and Officers are certified in Rope
Rescue Wildland Firefighting, Wilderness Rescue, RIT (Rapid Intervention Team),
Structural Firefighting, Rural Water Movement, Bus Rescue, Firefighter Survival,
Vehicle Rescue Technician, Hazardous Materials Awareness, and Operations Levels,
Firefighter 1, and most currently Swift Water Rescue as well as many other
classes to numerous to mention.
Our Fire Department like many of our Fellow Departments in County have seen our
share of Disasters, in January of 1996 our community like many others
experienced major flooding. A heavy snowstorm blanketed or region followed by an
unusual warming trend accompanied by heavy rains. This pushed the Stonycreek
River rapidly over its banks flooding the lower end of Hooversville with water
running 3 to 5 feet deep. Because the flooding occurred when it did most people
were leaving for work or school and thus evacuation of residents was minimal.
Late in the afternoon of the first day the temperature dropped rapidly and the
rain turned to snow and water levels receded. By midnight 36 of 37 homes
evacuated had power and heat restored and families were able to return. One home
had to be demolished and was later rebuilt. Our Fire Station suffered major
water damage, though quick action by firefighters saved all of our apparatus, we
did loose most of our firefighting gear, training equipment, and a large portion
of department records. We were able to replace our gear within 24 hours through
the cooperation and quick action of a local Fire Equipment Supplier. When they
heard of our problem they immediately came to our aid and had us outfitted in a
very short time. Our loss was substantial and our department had to absorb most
of the cost due to fact the Borough Government had limited coverage on building
There were other disasters in the county where our department was called to
assist. In May and June of 1998 over a three-day period two Tornados touched
down, the first was in Salisbury Borough and the second one was in the village
of Boynton a few miles north of Salisbury. We provided assistance for search and
rescue and aided in cleanup over 4-day period.
On September 11, 2001 our County experienced a disaster that will no doubt stick
in the hearts and minds of many people for a long time to come. On that morning
New York City, Washington DC, and Somerset County Pennsylvania not only
witnessed but also became a part of International Terrorism. Aircraft were being
hijacked and flown into buildings killing and injuring thousands of people. One
of those aircraft, United Flight 93 was flying over Somerset County when the
passengers onboard attempted to regain control of the aircraft. Unfortunately
they were not successful and the plane crashed in an abandoned reclaimed
strip-mine site near Shanksville. Our department was the third of 8 primary Fire
Departments dispatched to that incident. While there was little the responders
could do we managed to secure the scene until the FBI arrived and took over the
On July 24 through July 28, 2002 Somerset County was again thrust into the
National limelight. Nine Coalminers became trapped miles underground in the
Village of Quecreek near Sipesville. Once again our Fire Department was called
upon to render assistance. We provided our Tanker to haul water to cool the
large drilling machines used to drill into the mineshafts to eventually pump
water out and rescue the miners. On the evening of July 28th all nine miners
were successfully rescued.
The Hooversville Volunteer Fire Department is a proud Charter Member of the
Somerset County Firemen’s Association and the Somerset County Ambulance
Currently the Officers of the Hooversville Volunteer Fire Department are as
President, Richard B. Lohr; Vice President, Lisa Wain: Secretary, Elaine A.
Karashowsky; Treasurer, Felicia Lohr; Fire Chief, James A. Karashowsky; 1st
Assistant Chief, Robert Wain Sr.; 2nd Assistant Chief, Mike Shumaker; 3rd
Assistant Chief, Andrew Stevanus; Fire Police Captain, Ed Persuhn; and Truck
Foreman, Adam Rodger.