Union Fire Company No. 1

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History Overview

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In the fall of 1869, the Oxford Gas and Water Works Company began the building of a reservoir along what is now know as Route 10, on one acre of ground purchased from Samuel Dickey. The source of water was the sawmill pond of John Reed purchased about the same time. The water would be forced from the site to a higher elevation about a mile away, a stream of the West Branch of the Big Elk Creek.

Then it would fall by gravity into town with the aid of a standpipe and would supply water to the Hall building, the tallest structure in the borough. Oxford in 1800This work continued into the next year, the laying of the main into Oxford, the business district, with hydrants located in and around the center of the borough. The reservoir measured 84 square feet at the top, 30 at the bottom, and 18 feet deep. This is on the highest elevation in the area.

Very little interest was shown by the citizens of Oxford, they would not buy stock in the venture. Some even said it would not be a success.As a result, the company sold the water works in April, 1870 to the borough at a cost of about $30,000.

The first running water to be piped into the borough occurred on Thursday, January 20, 1870. The fire hydrants were opened to alleviate the pressure and in just 20 minutes, water gushed forth in the town. The young men in Oxford who had observed all of this began to talk of what use could be made of this event. Finally, the Rev. John Miller Dickey journeyed to Philadelphia to purchase an engine and hose cart from fire companies in the city which had just turned career from volunteer, thus making a lot of equipment available.

The Oxford Fire Company was organized on February 6, 1871, when 21 young men met in the stock room of Showalter and Mathews in the Dickey building, now known as the Peoples Bank of Oxford.

At the second meeting, the name was changed to Union Fire Company No. 1, since some of the equipment was purchased from a company in Philadelphia with the same name.At this meeting, George E. Jones was elected Chief Engineer.

Shortly after this the Burgess and the Town Council purchased a quantity of hose for use of the borough.The hose, being in excellent condition, Broad Street Fireshousewas purchased from Philadelphia's Washington Hose Company at about 1/4 of the original price. Shortly after this, the fire engine, hose cart, and 500 ft. of hose purchased by Rev. Dickey arrived and were turned over to the fledgling fire company. Early in July a hook & ladder truck was added to the equipment of the company. Finally, in September of 1872, John Miller Dickey donated a lot on South Third Street at the mouth of Broad Street to the fire company to build a firehouse.This would be a two-story frame building. The second floor was used for the meetings of the company. Stables were built for the horses in the rear.

In 1880, the company purchased a Silsby Steam Engine from Seneca Falls, NY for $2800. This gave better protection than before.

In 1901, the company moved into a new station on the south side of Market Street where the Oxford Terrace Apartments now stand. This would be their headquarters until they moved across the street in 1921 and purchased the Dickey Mansion for $21,000. This is now their present location.

The company's Fire Police force was founded in February of 1907.

The first motorized fire engine was a 500 gpm South Bend pumper, purchased in 1918 from South Bend, Indiana for $5600. This truck shortly afterward, answered an alarm for the first time out of the borough, in Lower Oxford Township.Market Street Firehouse

In 1921, the company celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a banquet at the Oxford Presbyterian Church.The dinner was served by the ladies of the Research Club and was followed by a show held in the adjacent Gem Theatre.

In 1925, the Oxford Ambulance Division was formed by civic minded residents. The fire company housed their ambulance and supplied personnel to man the equipment. Finances were always a problem and in 1958 the entire operation was turned over to the fire company. To assure this service would continue, an ambulance club was formed in 1964. This has been the major funding for the Ambulance Division of the fire company.

A Ladies Auxiliary to the fire company was formed in 1950 becoming an integral part in the day to day operation of the organization.

In the middle of 1955 the fire company went modern when they installed two way radio communications with a base station and all of the equipment. Mrs. Gladys McMichael, President of the Ladies Auxiliary, presented a check for $200 toward the purchase of the equipment for this project.

In the 1950's, the company sponsored a Drum and Bugle Corps. The cost of music to parade with the Marching Club became expensive and the forming of this group alleviated the problem. The fine showing of the Blue Haze Marching Club and the Blue Haze Drum and Bugle Corps won many prizes and the title of Chester County Champions.

In 1971, the fire company celebrated their 100th Anniversary in September with a week-long gala event, topped by the largest parade ever held in Oxford. Approximately 100 companies from four states helped the local firemen on this grand occasion.

Women were admitted to the company as members in 1976 and have taken their place beside the men ever since.

In the early years of the company's existence, numerous fairs have taken place as fund raisers. In more modern times carnivals have replaced the fairs. In 1919, the first of these was held after World War I. With the exception of one year during the Great Depression and four years of Firehouse in 1929World War II, the 77th annual carnival was held in 2000. These events became a financial bonanza to the local organization. It has been said that the Oxford Firemen's Carnival became a worthy successor to the Oxford Fair held many years ago.The Carnival was discontinued due to the increase in the number of people needed to run a success carnival surpassed the available supply.

Numerous other fund raisers have been introduced: a banquet hall facility was built to house banquets, Sunday breakfasts, weekly bingo, wedding receptions, dances, craft shows, and many other occasions. Today the weekly and special bingos are a vital part of the fund-raising duties of the company.The banquet hall is now operated by a catering service. This change allowed our firefighters and EMS personnel to spend more time training and actually answering emergency calls.

The Union Fire Company No. 1 is the fourth oldest in the county, exceeded only by the three West Chester companies. It also has the largest fire district in the county, comprised of Oxford Borough and the five townships of Upper and Lower Oxford, East and West Nottingham, and Elk, equaling a total of approximately 92 square miles.

The fire company is at or near the top in the amount of emergency equipment for a single company in Chester County. Please visit our Apparatus page to see our equipment.

In September of 1997, the company celebrated its 125th Anniversary with a week-long celebration. Once again a parade capped off the activities.Firehouse in 1940

The next year, a committee was appointed to oversee and a building addition onto the back side of the firehouse.  This project was completed in 1998 and included a sprinkler system for the entire building and an emergency generator.

In 2000, the company purchased the first Thermal Imaging Camera.  Today we are equipped with five cameras.

After a 77 consecutive year run, the annual Carnival was discontinued in 2001.

In 2003, the company was awarded a federal grant for $100,868 to purchase approximately 60 complete sets of turnout gear, consisting of coat, pants, boots, gloves, hoods, and helmets.

In 2005, the company was awarded a second federal grant for $179,541 to replace all 48 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus on the apparatus as well as a new air compressor and cylinder filling stations.

A third federal grant was awarded to the company in 2006 for $90,000 that was used to install a Plymovent vehicle exhaust removal system for the fire and EMS bays in the firehouse.

On December 15, 2008 the Nottingham Station was opened at the intersection of Route 272 and Old Forge Road in the village of Nottingham.  The land was graciously donated to the company by Herrs Foods, Inc.  The Nottingham Station was dedicated on September 26, 2009.

Please continue to check back in this section for updates as we are undertaking a huge project to timeline our company's 140 year history.


  • 05/20/2019: 05/20/19 11:54 MEDICAL-EMOTIONAL DISORDER - B 2107 ENOTT
  • 05/20/2019: 05/20/19 06:25 ACCIDENT-BLS 2107 ENOTT
  • 05/19/2019: 05/19/19 19:28 MEDICAL-FALL / LIFT ASSIST - B 2151 OXFRD
  • 05/18/2019: 05/18/19 01:28 ACCIDENT-BLS 2108 UPROXF
  • 05/17/2019: 05/17/19 22:27 FIRE-BUILDING 2231 FRNKLN
  • 05/17/2019: 05/17/19 18:08 FIRE-BURNING COMPLAINT 2100 OXFRD
  • 05/17/2019: 05/17/19 14:41 ALARM-FIRE 2171 OXFRD
  • 05/15/2019: 05/15/19 16:01 FIRE-ASSIST THE AMBULANCE 2100 OXFRD
  • 05/14/2019: 05/14/19 16:04 FIRE-BUILDING 2163 WNOTT
  • 05/14/2019: 05/14/19 15:13 FIRE-BARN 8900 LTBRTN

2019 Incidents
Fire EMS
Jan 42 200
Feb 42 190
Mar 45 213
Apr 229
Total 129 832

2019 Jobs
Working Fires 1
Pins 0

Municipality Responses
Oxford Borough 10 296
East Nottingham 20 152
West Nottingham 13 95
Upper Oxford 6 60
Lower Oxford 13 127
Elk 4 34
Colerain (EMS) 17
Mutual Aid 18 51
Total 84 832

Past Incidents
Fire EMS
2018 700 2517
2017 608 2322
2016 581 2256
2015 621 2415
2014 632 2144
2013 596 2137
2012 541 2187
2011 572 2240
2010 571 2061
2009 544 1898
2008 601 2059
2007 604 1920
2006 638 1818
2005 635 1832

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Firehouse Solutions
Union Fire Company No. 1
315 Market Street
Oxford, PA 19363
E-mail: Station21@OxfordFire.com
House Phone: 610-932-2411
House Fax: 610-932-9114
EMS Phone: 610-932-8277
EMS Fax: 610-932-5841
EMS Billing: 888-767-4550
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