DUPONT —The Dupont Volunteer Fire Hose Company No. 1 formed in May 1915 in Smithville, which would later become Dupont Borough.
Formed in 1915, the town did not become officially known as Dupont Borough until 1917. Charles Tetlack, the hose company’s financial secretary, is not sure why the hose company carried the name Dupont prior to the borough being established.
The hose company will celebrate 100 years with a dinner dance on Saturday, Oct. 3, featuring live music from the Sperazza band, an open buffet, refreshments and more.
The event is open to the public. Tickets are $25 per person and may be purchased at the volunteer hose company.
During the event, lifetime members of the volunteer hose company will be honored, including Frank Drost, who has been part of the company for 68 years; Bill Elko for 63 years; Bernie Zielinski for 64 years; John Lizak for 53 years and Albert Milhalka for 52 years.
The hose company is currently located next to Bobby O’s restaurant on Main Street.
“The original building was down next to a hardware store owned by a gentleman named Arnold Gordon on Main Street,” said Bernie Babonis, hose company president. “It’s right across the street from the VFW and Arnold was actually a member of the volunteer hose company, but he is since deceased.”
In 1916, the current volunteer hose company building was purchased.
“It used to be an old feed store,” Tetlack said of the current location. “They started doing renovations to it and it used to have a big stage and this used to be a basketball court. Dupont High School would play their basketball games here and they also used to do their plays here and their graduation ceremonies.”
The building was almost lost during an electrical fire in 1992.
Tetlack said the trucks were moved out of the building to help fight the fire, but the damage had been done.
“The fire caused a hole in the floor and the heat was so immense that everything on the top floor was melted,” said Tetlack. “While we recovered from the fire, we used Center Fashion as our location and we held our bingos there and various fire departments helped donate equipment to keep us going.”
The Dupont Volunteer Hose Company No. 1 was relocated for a year. During that time, its members came together to repair the damaged building and make it look new again.
Today, the main room has a wooden floor, tables, chairs and a bar as the company also holds a liquor license.
The 100th anniversary dinner dance is not the only event the volunteer hose company holds. An annual breakfast, weekly country western dances on Tuesdays and ballroom dances on Thursdays are also offered. The hall can be rented for parties and gatherings.
Because the Dupont Volunteer Hose Company No. 1 is not borough funded, donations and event proceeds are used to maintain it.
“The people in the town back us up,” said Babonis. “They come to our breakfasts, our fund drives and they help us purchase what we need.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher