The Humane Fire Co. No. 1, Pottsville, was originally known as the Pottsville Fire Company. The Humane Fire Company is the oldest fire company in the City of Pottsville with a continuing charter from 1829.
The first piece of apparatus was purchased on January 29, 1830. It was a four wheeled double-decked, hand brake pumping engine. In 1859, the company purchased a Clapp and Jones Steamer and again changed its name, this time, to the Humane Hose and Steam Fire Company. Several years later, the steamer was sold to another company in the Pottsville Fire Department.
In 1870, the Humane Company was presented with a large bell from the William Penn Fire Company of Philadelphia when that fire company became a paid department. The bell was used as a fire alarm in the tower of the old Humane building which is now the present site of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County. The bell was cast in 1857 and now serves as the base of the flagpole in front of the present Humane quarters at Third and Laurel Blvd.
It was shortly after disposing of the old steamer in 1871 that the Humane purchased a 750 GPM Silsby Rotary Steamer. This marked the end of pulling the apparatus by manpower as horses were now used to pull the equipment. About this time, the company responded the freight wagon as well as the steamer in case of a fire.
The Humane Company moved to its present site at Third & Laurel Blvd. in 1889, at that time, the street names were Third and Minersville Streets. When the city of Pottsville built the firemen their new headquarters they used the old station as the City Hall.
It was in 1911 that the company purchased its first motorized apparatus. It was a Knox motor driven combination hose and chemical truck. The company sold the horse draw apparatus in February 1921. This ended the era of the horse drawn apparatus. In the fall of 1921, a Seagrave triple pumper was purchased for $13,000.00 and the old steamer was retired from service. In 1929, the Knox was sold to the Humane Steam Fire Co. of Mahanoy City and a Buffalo combination hose, ladder, and booster truck was purchased.
On August 15, 1939 the company changed its name back to the Humane Fire Co. No. 1, by a charter amendment in the court. In January 1949, an apparatus fund was started and in 1950, the first of the Humane block parties was held to swell the apparatus fund. It was in 1951 that the ladies auxiliary was formally instituted.
In 1953, a new Seagrave 1000 GPM pumper was purchased and the old Seagrave was donated to the Mill Creek Fire Company. The 1953 Seagrave is still in service today, and is one of the oldest in service apparatus in the county. In 1964, the Humane purchased a new 200 GPM Seagrave Special Service Truck. The Buffalo was donated to the Phoenix Park Fire Company in 1965.
In 1967, the Humane became a victim of progress and the building was sold to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pottsville. The authority in turn sold to the Humane the lot adjacent to the old firehouse so that a new firehouse could be built. The deed for the property was acquired and by February 1969 the company was in the process of concluding negotiations to erect a new firehouse. Ground for the new building was broken on April 10, 1969 and the company negotiated a mortgage loan from the Union Bank and Trust Company for $50,000.00 on the property. The work on the new building had advanced so rapidly that the dedication was held on October 18, 1969. On May 7, 1973 the last payment on the mortgage was paid to the Union Bank and Trust Company. The Humane celebrated the event with a banquet on June 16, 1973 featured by the burning of the mortgage, which had been paid for in less than 4 years.
The need for a new fire truck was discussed in the early part of 1978 which cumulated with the appointment of 12 members to comprise an apparatus committee. After numerous meetings and much discussion , a decision was made to purchase a Seagrave 1250 GPM Cab-Over, WB model pumper and on August 30, 1978, a contract was signed for $86,000.00 for future delivery. The new pumper was delivered September 1980 and the mortgage for the pumper was burned at the annual George Washington Banquet on February 23, 1984. In June of 1989, the 1964 Seagrave (Shorty) special service truck was sold to the Harley Davidson Motorcycle plant in York, PA for their industrial fire brigade. On October 19, 1990 a new Pierce fire pumper was delivered. This unit had a Ford F-80 chassis with a two stage 1000 GPM pump and carried 500 gallons of water. The unit was built by Piece Manufacturing Co. for $129,000.00. The Humane kicked off the new millennium with the delivery of Engine 32, a Seagrave custom pumper.