Event company

The Reason Pennsylvania’s First African-American Fire Company No Longer Exists

In 1925, the Edgemont Fire Company broke barriers by becoming many “firsts”. The reign of the fire company collapsed just a few years from its 100th anniversary.

EDGEMONT, Pennsylvania – Founded in 1925, the Edgemont Fire Company has become a model for future businesses.

It was the first station in Susquehanna Township and the first African-American fire companies in Pennsylvania.

“It was our pride and our joy, we were very proud,” said Charlene Morris, an Edgemont historian.

Morris, a native of Edgemont, has been researching the town’s history for decades. Over the years, she kept an electronic filing cabinet full of newspaper clippings and photographs; many of them chronicle the legacy of the fire company

However, it no longer exists.

“Like everything for me and the folks at Edgemont, there’s a hurt when it’s gone,” Morris said.

In its heyday, the fire company not only extinguished flames, but held community events such as barbecues, dances and parades. He has become a source of inspiration for younger generations.

“Because they see positive minorities doing things,” said Maurice Titus, a former firefighter who spent 20 years as a machinist.

“[I just loved] helping the community, I knew I was playing a vital role,” he said.

In 2020, at the start of the pandemic, many Edgemont firefighters retired.

Finding new recruits, especially younger ones, has become an uphill battle.

“They don’t have that drive to help their community,” Titus said.

It’s a struggle faced by many volunteer fire companies, not just in Edgemont, but nationwide.

“The interest in this type of career for some young men is gone, it’s not quick money,” Morris said.

Some people in the community believe the Edgemont Fire Company may return one day, others remain uncertain.

“It’s a possibility, but I don’t think there’s anyone in the community that’s willing to bring it back,” Titus said.

The Edgemont Fire Company has since turned into an event space and is used for an after-school program.

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