In the spring of 1950, a group of gentlemen had discussed and decided that an organization was needed in Rostraver Township for the sole purpose of controlling fire and helping in cases of emergency.
Robert Scholl, who would come to be the first Company President, led a group of individuals including Harry Thompson, Vice-President, Ellsworth Fisher, Treasurer, and John Porter, Secretary in establishing the Rostraver Central Fire Department.
On June 27, 1950, a charter was granted to the Fire Department. The purpose for incorporation was "To render fire assistance in cases of fires or other emergencies in part of the Township of Rostraver". Rostraver Central was the second organized firefighting unit in the Township. The Rostraver #1 (Webster) VFC was formed one year earlier in 1949. The third township department, Collinsburg VFC, was organized in 1967.
When Rostraver Central was formed in 1950, the Company had assets totaling a mere $450. No one could have predicted that $450 investment would grow to be worth nearly $2 million in equipment and other assets.
In 1950, a used American LaFrance pumper truck that had been decommissioned by the Blaine Hill Fire Department was donated to the newly-formed Rostraver Central Fire Department. The engine was stored in a shed at firefighter Paul Kumas' farm due to a lack of more suitable housing. When a call was received on the fire phone, the firefighters and their wives would call down a phone list to round up as many men as possible. This process proved to be very inefficient and time consuming.
In 1958, a project to secure a parcel of land to build a fire station was undertaken by President Sherman King, original Fire Chief Paul Smith, Secretary Danny Wassilchalk, Treasurer Art Seiple, 1st Assistant Chief Don Larson, and Trustees Ralph Coughenour and Bob Streets. A small engine house was erected on property purchased from the Foster family on Fells Church Road in the Fellsburg section of the Township. This station was renovated in 1976 and a social hall was added. In 2001, an additional truck bay was added and office space was expanded, bringing the station to its current-day configuration.
After retiring the original American LaFrance engine, the company utilized a GMC pumper truck as well as a truck affectionately known as the "Donut Wagon". These pieces of equipment served until the 1962 when a new International pumper was purchased. A second International pumper was acquired in 1970, followed by Howe pumpers in 1974 and 1980. The 1980 Howe was designated as Engine 105-5 until its replacement in 2006 by a new Sutphen rescue/pumper.
In 1990, delivery was taken on a new Pierce Rescue Pumper, state-of-the-art then and now, at a cost of $300,000. A Sutphen 75-foot ladder truck was purchased in August 1998, total cost $550,000. A Ford mini-pumper was acquired in 2000 and utilized until 2003 when the current Ford F-350 squad was purchased. The Ladder Truck was sold in 2007 to Moyock, NC Fire Department, to be replaced by Truck 105, a 100-foot Sutphen SPH-100 Tower Ladder, at a cost of nearly $1,000,000.
On June 27, 2000, the Rostraver Central VFC celebrated its 50th anniversary with an open house and banquet for all past and present members.
The Rostraver Central Fire Department has one of the largest service areas in the Mid-Mon Valley at 34 square miles. Call volume held steady from approximately 100 calls per year in the early 1980s to 150 calls per year in the 1990s. A dramatic increase began in 2000, with 373 calls, reaching an all-time high 467 calls in 2007. With the dramatic residential and commercial growth in Rostraver Township, this number only stands to increase.
Rostraver Central has proudly served our residents and visitors for more than 55 years. Success has only been realized through the cooperation of our Township partners, Rostraver #1 (Webster) and Collinsburg, as well as countless other area departments including North Belle Vernon, Belle Vernon, Smithton, Charleroi, Fayette City, Monessen, West Newton, Donora, and Washington Township. Many of these departments provided primary fire protection to the residents of the township before the three Rostraver companies were incorporated.
We have surpassed many milestones in our history, seeing many changes and innovations in equipment and practices. The technology in use today, such as thermal imaging cameras and the Jaws of Life, will surely be seen as mere basic tools in the future. We can only hope, with the help of our donors and supporters, that the Rostraver Central Fire Department can continue to prosper as it has since its inception.