Realizing the need for better firefighting facilities In the borough, a number of public-spirited citizens of the Second Ward met on February 8, 1908, in the office of W. J. McKelvey, in the same rooms where Squire John W. James now has his office at Blakely Corners. The meeting was called to order by W. J. McKelvey, decided to organize an independent volunteer hose company. An organization was then effected by the election of the following officers: President, Albert Nicholls; Vice-President, Walker Beeby; Recording Secretary, George Reese; Financial Secretary, William A. White; Treasurer, George X. Williams. The president appointed the first committees as follows: By-laws Committee, John Davis, Robert Shaw and Enoch Van Scoten; Membership Committee, Alfred Ward, Walter Cummings, Ernest Magor, John Magor and James Evans. Others elected were: Trustees, M. K. Harnden, Enoch Van Scoten and W. W. Matthews; Foreman, Charles Beeby; First Assistant, George Petch; Second Assistant, Robert G. Shaw. Others present at the first meeting or who joined a short time later were: W. H. Berkheiser, J. B. Cummings, E. J. Barthold, Gus Hoffman, A. W. Fendick, Z. D. Edwards, Dave Smith, Frank Day, Fred White, John Koch, Walter Jones, Elmer Tripp, M. G. Vail, William Seymour, Will Taylor, Edward Brogan, James Kelly, David Jones, and R. J. Lloyd.
Blakely Hose Company No. 2 was the name chosen for the new company, and at once the members began to work to acquire some equipment. The ladies of the borough rallied to their assistance and held a dinner in the empty storeroom at Blakely Corners, now occupied by Houser's Store. From the proceeds of this dinner, and the cash contributions of interested citizens, they were able to purchase hose and a jumper or handcart. With this, they did good work, for willing enthusiasm made up for what was lacking in equipment. Rapidly more members were added to the roll, and soon the people of Blakely found they had a real, dependable body of firemen, whose interest in their organization was earnest and permanent. The charter for the company was received May 22, 1908.
A little later, assisted by the Ladies' Auxiliary, a very successful field fair was held, followed by other social affairs, and in April 1908, they purchased additional hose and a horse-drawn wagon, followed little by little with other needed supplies.
The first hose house was a shed on the property of E. J. Barthold in the rear of West Lackawanna Avenue. Early in October 1908, the Barthold Building, formally occupied by the Y. M. C. A. was leased. They occupied this for several years, and in this hose house, several very successful fairs and other social events took place, which will be remembered with pleasure by many of our townspeople. Here, for instance, were shown the first moving pictures ever run in Blakely Borough. Here, too, in order to show their appreciation of the work done by the ladies in their behalf, the boys entertained the Ladies' Auxiliary at an informal dance, even preparing and serving refreshments, after which, at the request of the company, a large rope being fastened to the new wagon, the members of the Ladies' Auxiliary, about twenty in number, had the pleasure of pulling the new wagon into the hose house for the first time. This building was occupied for several years, until their removal to their present location in the Second Ward Borough Building on West Grant Avenue, early in 1915.
As the years passed, members dropped out and their places were filled by other interested persons, and there is scarcely a man of prominence in Blakely, who has not at some time, been identified with the Blakely Hose Company No. 2. So by diligent and earnest endeavor the company grew and prospered. Many a vigorous campaign for funds was waged by the members, and the borough council was solicited to give some substantial assistance in their efforts to obtain more complete equipment. Their perseverance was rewarded, after many trials and hardships, by the arrival, on September 20, 1920, with a fine new motor-driven truck.
Blakely Hose Company No. 2 made its first appearance in public on Memorial Day, 1908, when nearly all the members turned out to parade with the other organizations of the borough. Their first invitation to visit another fire company was received with the Whitmore Hose Company, of Mayfield, on June 12, 1908. Many other fire companies in the county have exchanged courtesies with our local firemen, and the invitations have always been courteously received and members attended whenever possible.
At some of the hardest fought fires in the Mid-Valley, the members of the Blakely Hose Company No. 2 distinguished themselves for their good work, among the most important being; Blakely Baptist Church, Lackawanna Colliery Shops, Raymond Colliery, Clarke Brothers' Store, the Foundry, the Shapiro fire in Dickson City, the big Lackawanna street fire in Olyphant, and many others too numerous to mention.