Informal and irregular meetings between West Lancaster Fire Company, Millersville Fire Company, Highville Fire Company and Good Will Fire Company of Washington Boro began about seven years ago, in 2004. The intent of the meetings was to find a way for four separate fire companies which protected Manor Township to find a way report activities and needs to Manor Township governmental leaders in a unified and coordinated manner. A consolidation was not anticipated when these meetings were fire scheduled.
After holding talks for about four years and achieving very little, a new approach was sought. In 2008 with the help of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development it was decided to involve a wider cross section of the community in the discussions. A committee was formed to study the feasibility and practicality of merging the four fire companies into one entirely new organization. Because Millersville Fire Company serves Millersville Borough as well as Manor Township, borough representatives were invited to join the effort. This committee was known as the Emergency Services Task Force and included one representative from each fire company, one citizen representative from each of the fire company service areas, two representatives from each municipality and one citizen at large.
To get task force activities started each fire company committed $25,000.00 to an operating fund in order to finance the project and demonstrate commitment to the effort. The task force hired a consultant determine current community assets and needs and to conduct a feasibility study for the consolidation. The study showed that merging the four fire companies would be beneficial to the community as well as the fire companies.
In April of 2010 the study was presented to the elected officials in Millersville Borough and Manor Township for their approval. On July 29, 2010 the members of the four fire companies, in a joint meeting, approved the consolidation. The two municipalities reviewed the study and on September 28, 2010 Millersville officials approved the merger and signed an intergovernmental cooperation agreement. The agreement created Blue Rock Fire District as the governmental agency responsible overseeing fire protection in the two communities.
With the study complete and recommendations delivered to the two municipalities, the Emergency Services Task Force was decommissioned, although a few members agreed to help Blue Rock Fire Rescue complete the remaining tasks needed to finalize the consolidation. The remaining task force members joined the officers and members of the four companies and formed the Implementation Task Force. Glen Hess was elected as acting president to coordinate the efforts of the Implementation task Force and preside over joint meetings of the members of the four companies. The Implementation Task Force was divided into two committees and numerous sub committees to deal with tactical and administrative issues.
Beginning in March 2011, the members of the four companies began holding joint meetings to approve new by-laws, and nominate and elect officers. On July 1, 2011 the bank accounts of the four companies will be consolidated and all business of the four companies will be conducted as Blue Rock fire Rescue. The four companies will continue to exist until an operating agreement between Blue Rock Fire Rescue and the Blue Rock Fire district is completed and title to the assets of the four companies is transferred. The agreement and transfers are scheduled to be complete by January 1, 2012.
The four existing fire stations will remain where they are presently located for the foreseeable future. The West Lancaster fire house will be known as the north house or House 901. The Highville station will be known as the south house or House 903. The Millersville Station will be known as the east house or House 905. And the Washington Boro station will be known as the west house or House 907. Blue Rock Fire Rescue has been designated as Company 90 by Lancaster County Wide Communications.
Blue Rock Fire District is a commission consisting of five members including two representatives from Millersville Borough, two representatives from Manor Township and one representative from Blue Rock Fire Rescue. Duane Hagelgans, a recently retired Lancaster City Bureau of Fire Batallion Chief has been hired as a full time commissioner to coordinate fire service activities and emergency management in the two municipalities and to manage certain administrative tasks for Blue Rock Fire Rescue.
Two new engines, a rescue engine and a brush truck have been places in service. Seven existing pieces of fire apparatus are being sold. All new and remaining apparatus have been lettered with the Blue Rock Fire Rescue name and logo.
The name Blue Rock Fire Rescue was selected from entries submitted by members of the four companies. Blue Rock Road runs through Millersville Borough and Manor Township. The member who proposed the name chose Blue Rock as the basis of the name because is a part of the long history of the two municipalities and the four fire companies.