In 1945 and early 1946 as the young men of Tobyhanna returned from military service and settled back into community life, discussions began about the need for and the possibility of forming a local volunteer fire company. It apparently took a lot of talking to formulate a plan of action. One of the main concerns which seemed to emerge from all the talk was a general reconnection by most of those talking that it took far to long for a fire truck to respond to a call. Local fire protection in those days meant a response from men and equipment from the Tobyhanna Military Reservation or from the Pocono Mt. Volunteer Fire Co. in Mt. Pocono. The possibility of a local volunteer fire company was a topic of conversation among residents as they visited local stores, restaurants and taprooms.
The conversation and speculation led to a meeting of interested men at Kuebler's Mountain House late in 1946. Among those attending were: Lloyd Frutchey, Frank (Fog) Frutchey, James Cadue Sr., John McHale, Douglas West Jr., Frank Hochrine, Joseph Wilton, Jack Wilton, Robert Jacobson, William Marsh, Sherman Marsh, William Tobin, Peter Kuebler, Herbert Kuebler, Peter Frankenfield and John Sax. They decided to pursue efforts to form a volunteer fire company and to schedule monthly meetings to achieve this purpose.
At the next meeting, in January 1947, it was concluded that they could indeed form a company. The township supervisors at the time thought up the idea of the name being "The Coolbaugh Township Volunteer Fire Company" and the name stuck. Lloyd Frutchey, John McHale, Douglas West, Frank Hochrine, Joseph Wilton, Robert Jacobson, William Marsh, William Tobin, and Peter Kuebler were selected as directors and it was decided to continue to hold these early meetings at Kuebler's. At the February meeting in 1947, John McHale was elected chairman of the directors and Douglas West elected chief in spite of the fact that the group had no truck or equipment. James Oakey, TAD fire chief, spoke to the group regarding fire equipment and organization of the company. Donations were solicited from those in attendance for start up money and membership cards were to be printed later. The Coolbaugh Township Supervisors recognized the group and promised to help. They did and still do. A committee was selected to write the by-laws and was comprised of Lloyd Frutchey, Harry Berthalf, James Oakey, Ray Davies and Chauncey Wilton.
Within a few months, the by-laws were written, read three times and subsequently approved and printed after lengthy discussion. Although this ambitious and energetic group wanted a new fire truck, reality set in. They swallowed there pride and accepted an army surplus 1946 Ford front mount pumper from The Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Still committed to buying a new fire truck, the group sent James Oakey and Ray Davies and others to contact manufacturer representatives. They settled on a 1948 REO with a 500 g.p.m. pump and a 500 gallon water tank at a price of $11,500. The fledging company managed a small down payment and placed the order. Challenged to raise the amount due, the group solicited funds door to door, ran raffles and anything else they could think of to raise the money needed.
Now, faced with the delivery of a new truck in 1948, the company had to find a place to house it as they had no firehouse yet! Necessity determined that they would house the new truck in Frank Frutchey's garage beneath his restaurant (in the old school house building on the corner of Main and Mill streets) next to the room which contained the stoker which heated the building. This arrangement, although relatively warm, found ashes from the furnace and grease from the restaurant on the truck leading one wag to observe, "We had the only truck in the county that smelled like a hamburger and was as slippery as a pickle".
The original charter of the Coolbaugh Township Volunteer Fire Company was signed by Judge Arlington Davis on October, 19 1948. However, the first fire to which the company responded with men and equipment was the block fire in Mt. Pocono on February 15 1948. From this rather humble beginning they have continued to respond when needed for over 60 years.
In the intervening years, with the support of the citizens of the Township, the Township Supervisors, and the results of investment of time and energy of its membership, the company has continued to grow and expand. With increasing dedication, training and professionalism, this group of volunteers provide the community with reliable and proficient emergency response and service.
From the modest beginnings of the 1940's, the company today has evolved to include two fire stations.
The stations house the original 1948 REO Engine, a 1983 R-Model Mack Engine/Tanker, a 2006 KME Engine, a 2002 American LaFrance Rescue, a 2002 Freightliner Tanker, a 1999 E-One Tower, a 1999 Freightliner Ladder, a 2006 KME Predator Engine, a 2014 Ford F-350 Super-Duty Traffic Unit, a 2014 Ford Expedition Command Vehicle, a 2015 Polaris brush/rescue UTV, and a 14 foot rope rescue trailer.
The company owns turnout gear to equip 50+ firefighters, over 30 self contained air packs and more than 50 air cylinders.
With ever growing community needs and a high standard of training the company also has a large amount of emergency equipment at their disposal. Tools designed for vehicle extrication, ventilation, portable lighting, ice drilling, brush fires, hazardous materials, rope rescue, water rescue, and much more.
The Coolbaugh Township Volunteer Fire Company has changed quite a bit over the years but, it still strives to exceed the goals that were agreed upon during its early stages - to provide quality service in a safe and timely manner.