About Robinson Twp. VFC (Groveton Station #244)
The Robinson Township VFC # 1 is one of three Fire Departments in the township. Incorporated in 1922, Allegheny County assigned the station number 244 in the early 2000s. Robinson Township VFC # 1 primary response area is the Groveton section of the township along the Ohio River, Forest Grove VFD (243) is the truck company and Moon Run VFC (245) is one of 2 rescue companies. Robinson Township operates on Allegheny County West Fire 5.
Often Station 244 is referred to as “Groveton Fire Department”; although, the original charter name and has always been Robinson Township VFC #1.
RTVFC #1 has many components the make up the department. This includes (VRSR Basic) Rescue Company, (VRSR 2A) Swift Water Rescue Team, Robinson ATV Search and Rescue team, and the Ladies Fire Auxiliary. Robinson Township’s Swift water and ATV teams also include members of mutual aid fire departments of Coraopolis VFD, Forest Grove VFD, Neville Island GVFD,
RTVFD # 1 is an asset of the Pennsylvanian Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (PA HART) through PEMA and also the SHACOG Technical Rescue Team.
The current station houses 244 Tanker, 244 Rescue Engine, 244 Special Services (rescue / air) , 244 Squad, 244 UTV, 244 Boat 1 (river boat) and 244 Boats 2-4.
Station 244 is located on the north end of the township where Interstate-79 crosses
PA Route 51 at the Ohio River. This is Exit 64 on I – 79 Coraopolis – McKess Rocks Exit. Robinson Township is mart of the Montour School District.
The department is made up if 22 members, 15 Ladies Axillary, 23 Swiftwater techs. Of the membership 10 are ProBoard certified, 11 PADOH certified Vehicle rescue techs and 3 EMTs. Station 244 is always accepting applications for membership.
The Robinson Twp Fire Company was organized for the community of Groveton in 1922. Organization took two years to complete and the Fire Department was established with 15 members in 1925 At the start Robinson Twp VFC covered all of Robinson from the Ohio River to the border of Collier Township and Carneigie Boro. Dues was $1 per year, Passive Members $2 The By-Laws of Neville Island VFD, with slight alterations, were adopted by the members in February 2, 1925. The first “official” election of officers was held with these officers:
- President – Joseph Miller
- Vice President – A.R. McKee
- Secretary – B. Ross Hornyck
- Treasurer – W.H. Leonard
- Chief -(First)– John Sweterlitsch
- Assistant Chief – John Almasy
Fire companies in the area at the time consisted of just six; namely Ambridge, Sewickley, Coraopolis, Stowe Township, Neville Island and Robinson Twp VFC. Applications for active members were taken from Stowe Township applications. Due to World War II, membership was opened for the first time to auxiliary fireman to replace active members called to service. Pen and pencil sets were presented to each member entering the armed services.
The first fire truck was purchased from Imperial in June 14, 1925 (Chevy) $2,075 and delivered in the August 1925. On Septenber 10, 1928 the firemen voted to form the Robinson Twp VFC Ladies Aux. On Jan 5, 1931 Robinson Twp VFC Relief Association was formed and organized. In November, 1939, a bid was submitted for the purchase of a second fire engine, the American LaFrance from Coraopolis Borough. The truck was purchased in December, 1939. The first squad car was purchased in June, 1940. In March, 1945, action was taken on securing a new American LaFrance ($6,078)engine which is still owned and housed in the current fire station on Hayes Avenue. The first truck, American LaFrance was donated to Forest Grove’s newly organized department in 1947 and in April, 1948, the members donated a bell for the fire truck to Forest Grove. Newer squads, engines and specialty trucks have been purchased throughout the years.
In 1927, land was purchased and immediate plans were made to build a garage for the fire truck. Funds for the project were solicited from the residents of Groveton and with the help of numerous individuals, the garage was built. With the addition of a second engine, an addition to the garage was completed in 1944. In 1945, land was purchased and the garage completed in 1949. The new addition was built in 1977 next door and included large bay doors with concrete block walls. Another addition ways built on to this building in 2001 to accommodate the 2000 American La France Tanker. It included a full kitchen ,Hall and weight room with lounge for all firemen.
Robinson joined the Allegheny County Fireman’s Association in December, 1925. In January, 1945, the Allegheny County Fire Chiefs held their meeting for the first time in the fire hall in Groveton. Two members of the department attended the Western Pennsylvania Fireman’s Convention in 1926.
In February, 1943, the first 16 foot boat was purchased from Dravo Corporation and in April, 1948, 2 aluminum boats with 5 hp motors were purchased for flood/ rescue work. These have also been upgraded through the years into PA’s largest VRSR water team with (7) boats and 22 Swift water technicians.
Through the years, the firemen have held numerous events. In March of 1929, the Boy Scouts were granted use of the fire garage. From 1956 through 1958 the firemen held Saturday movies for the children. Friday night fish fry dinners were started in 1969 and a Country Western show was held in July, 1971 at the Montour High School Stadium. The firemen made an ice skating rink in December, 1964 and a sled ridding track was started at the ball field in August of 1972. A children’s Christmas party was held every year and the firemen protect the children on Halloween nights by patrolling the streets. Memorial Services are held at the Groveton Honor Roll every Memorial Day.
Robinson’s VFC Firemen Club was started in the early 30’s and was enjoyed by many thru out the years. The club held Dances and events that helped the department in fund raising, from spaghetti dinners to fish fries. The Bar closed in 1985 and will be missed by all those who had a drink at the Groveton Firemen’s Club.
Many men and women have volunteered their time and held the interest of the community in their hearts, future fireman will have the same interests. Since this is a volunteer organization, it is wonderful to see how many men and women respond to help in any kind of an emergency.
Learn more about our history by visiting our list of past and present chiefs and enjoy the photo galleries below featuring fire members and engines of our past!