public safety

American LaFrance 700 series ladder truck, acquired in 1951.

Mt. Lebanon Fire Department celebrates its centennial in 2018. In tribute, each month, we’re offering a glimpse of local firefighting through the decades, featuring pictures and information from the municipal archives

The MLFD in the 1950s

Civil defense was a major part of the 1950s. Global tensions had everyone worried about nuclear war. John Hermann, chief of the Mt. Lebanon Civil Defense council, held monthly alerts and conducted drills involving 300-plus participants. The fire department played a major part by installing air raid sirens around town and consulting with businesses and school officials on locations for fallout shelters.

May 1950 the first two-way radios in the South Hills fire service were installed in Mt. Lebanon vehicles.  Fire Chief Ray Goettel recommended letting other South Hills departments use the radio network for free.

July 1950 The Commission purchased  a new American LaFrance ladder truck for $33,500, replacing the department’s 1932 Seagrave model. The 100-foot 700 Series truck went into service in April 1951. 

1955 Chief Goettel started a fire prevention program and essay contest for students. The fire department began visiting schools. The department replaced its 1939 pumper with a new model for $22,150. The 1932 Pirsch Quad City Service truck was still in service and was taken to the public works department, where mechanics basically cut it in half,  shortening the frame to the size of the vintage truck you see today in parades and at fire department events. The Pirsch remained in reserve status into the ’70s. 

August 1956 The career department expanded to nine full-time positions, allowing for 24-hour coverage.


Kevin Abbott has been promoted to deputy
fire chief.

PERSONNEL MOVES Mt. Lebanon Fire Department  Lt. Kevin Abbott has been promoted to deputy chief in charge of fire prevention and life safety education. Abbott, who was hired by Mt. Lebanon in 2000, had previously been a volunteer firefighter in Bethel Park. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy and a Certified Fire Officer by the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Abbott fills the position left when Deputy Chief Kevin Maehling retired in April after 28 years of service. Maehling joined the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department as a volunteer in 1983 and was hired as a career firefighter in 1990. He was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2000.  During his time with the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department, Maehling was assigned to the community outreach, fire prevention and life safety education, and training platoons.


It’s summer—time for a bike hike, and no one loves bicycles like kids. Helmets are mandatory for children under 12 any time they ride a bike. But it makes good common sense for people of all ages to wear helmets, as well. Make sure the kiddos also wear helmets for other wheeled transport, such as skateboards, rollerblades and scooters.

Drivers, please watch out for cyclists. Remember, the law states if you’re a driver overtaking a cyclist traveling in the same direction, you must allow at least four feet of clearance.