Area firefighter's cart takes state honors
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Steve Lilick, the assistant fire chief of the Albrightsville Fire Company and his son Nicholas stand parade-ready with the 1860 Wirt & Knox hand-drawn hose cart that he has painstakingly restored over a period of several years.
Steve Lilick, assistant fire chief of the Albrightsville Fire Company, has achieved some notoriety with the Firemen's Association of the State of Pennsylvania in more ways than one.
In addition to being elected to the position of the northeast director for District No. 1 of the Firemen's Association of the State of Pennsylvania, he recently brought home first place honors with his entry in this year's Pennsylvania State Firemen's Parade in King of Prussia.
His entry - a fully restored 1860 Wirt and Knox hand-drawn hose cart - took top honors in its category of "best appearing privately owned hand-drawn apparatus."
The hose cart originally came from the city of Philadelphia, which purchased it in 1860. It was in service until 1910.
After Philadelphia, it was purchased by a fire department in Upper Darby and used until 1968, when it went to auction.
After its sale, it eventually ended up sitting in a farmer's field until 2002 when Lilick purchased it and started the work to restore it to its former glory.
While the cart's metal and tags were still intact, some of the wood in the wheels had rotted away.
Lilick had the wheels rebuilt in the Lancaster area and he had it painted. While it is now complete, he is still adding things to it each year.
He also replaced the hose and nozzles with pieces that are appropriate for when it was new.
Last year Lilick took it to the Pennsylvania State Firemen's Parade in Gettysburg and it took second place in its category.
While next year's Pennsylvania State Firemen's Convention will be in Hanover near Wilkes-Barre, in 2011 the Pennsylvania State Firemen's Convention will be held at Lake Harmony with a parade on Sept. 24, with Lilick and Lake Harmony Fire Chief Ralph Lennon serving as chairpersons.
The convention and its family-oriented parade, which encompasses fire departments from all over the state, will be the first such event of its kind for the area.
According to Lilick, most of the time conventions are basically just for the firemen, but with all the things this area has to offer such as fishing, boating, golfing, shopping, and even casinos, this convention and parade will appeal to the entire family.
Lilick, who is third generation firefighter, has been in the fire service since he was 16 and his son Nicholas, who was the "2007 Pennsylvania State Firemen's Junior Firefighter of the Year," is now the fourth generation.
As northeast director for District No. 1 of the Firemen's Association of the State of Pennsylvania, Lilick works with firefighters in the counties of Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming.
The Firemen's Association aids these firefighters with benefits such as a scholarship fund, training, education and more.