The Robert Fulton Fire Company (RFFC) is situated on a two acre parcel of land in Wakefield Pennsylvania. This small town is 4 miles north of the Maryland line in Southern Lancaster County. The fire company was named after Robert Fulton who was born in 1765 in a small stone house just north of the fire house. Robert Fulton was an inventor and was most famous for his designing and building of the steam ship which is hand painted on the sides of each piece of equipment the fire company now owns.
The RFFC was the brainstorm of a small group of citizens from Fulton, Little Britain, Drumore, and East Drumore Townships. This group of individuals saw the need for fire protection due to the extended amount of time it took for the closest neighboring company to arrive at the scene of an incident, which in some cases was close to fifteen miles away. This group would meet in a small local garage for eight months pursuing there goals with great help and guidance from men belonging to neighboring fire companies until it received its charter from Lancaster County in August 1956.
The company’s first piece of apparatus was a used 1936 Dodge open cab pumper which was purchased from the Willow Street Fire Company (14 miles north of Wakefield) for $250.00. This engine was housed in another local garage in Wakefield until the existing fire hall was built in 1958 for a total of $30,000.00. The fire hall was then paid off in November of 1962 followed by a small celebration including a covered dish supper, dancing and cards.
The companies second piece of apparatus was a 1941 International five man enclosed cab. This engine held 1000 gallons of water and was purchased from a fire company in Milford Delaware. In 1963 the company bought its first new piece of equipment, a 1963 C850 Ford pumper with a 750 gpm pump and 800 gallons of water. This piece was bought for a total of $17,000.00 and was later sold to a fire company in Alabama for $10,000.00. The 1963 Ford remained in service until it was replaced by the existing 1991 Pierce Dash engine. The RFFC also bought another C Model Ford in 1969. This piece was used as the company’s first tanker since it carried 1250 gallons of water and is still in service today but was relieved of its tanker duties when the RFFC bought its 1984 R Model Mack/Pierce which holds 3000 gallons of water.
The RFFC now has in excess of 140 members under the direction of Chief Philip Smith and President Clifford Holloway III and covers approximately 69 square miles of land making it the second largest first due area next to neighboring Quarryville Fire Company 10 miles to the north, and provides mutual aide to five different counties in two states. Another identity of the RFFC is the Robert Fulton Fire Company Auxiliary. This group of dedicated Ladies and Gentlemen is the savior of the company on the scene of a large job, providing the Fire Fighters with food and drinks. The Auxiliary also serves an all you can eat breakfast at the fire hall every third Saturday of the month and dinners on certain holidays throughout the year.
The RFFC uses the call sign Station 89 and utilizes the 33.720 MHz frequency for fire ground communications and is dispatched on 33.900 MHz through Lancaster County-Wide Communications. The RFFC has seen many changes in its short life span of 50 plus years and is looking forward to many more changes in the future both in house and with its neighboring companies in both Pennsylvania and Maryland.