Firefighters, family and friends gathered at the Berks County Fire Training Center Thursday evening for a plaque dedication ceremony to honor the late Edward M. “Pop” Squibb, who served as Fire Chief of the Keystone Fire Company No. 1 of Shillington for 31 years.
Squibb not only served as Fire Chief, but also a dedicated fire service instructor, a mentor, and a friend to thousands of firefighters who passed through the doors of the Berks County Fire Training Center and the original fire training site located at the Wernersville State Hospital.
When Edward M. “Pop” Squibb died in December of 2022, the members of the Keystone Fire Company No. 1 of Shillington, Berks County Fireman’s Association, and the Staff of the Berks County Fire Training Center knew this icon in the Berks County Fire Service needed to be remembered.
“Chief Squibb was a mentor to generations of emergency service personnel and knew the value of shaping and developing young firefighters. He not only trained countless firefighters, but also coached and developed many officers and fire chiefs to become leaders that they are today in our community” said Bob Knouse, Fire Chief of the Keystone Fire Company No. 1 of Shillington, during the dedication ceremony.
“For those of us who grew up under Pops leadership, we continue to strive to meet the same high standards that he engrained in us years ago, and work to pass his expectations on to the future of the fire service” said Knouse.
Generations of Berks County Firefighters knew and looked forward to seeing “Pop” during training sessions.
“Ed Squibb was truly like a second father to most of the men and women that came through the Shillington Fire Department. He was a roofer by trade, but he was totally a fireman, and a leader. With his personality, led the organization so that it was destined to succeed” said Dave Bentz, Deputy Chief of the Keystone Fire Company No. 1 of Shillington.
“He lived, ate and breathed the fire service, but he was a family man too. He was a hunter. He was a woodsman and and loved his family. He led by example to show us all how to help their community and how to help other people. That’s what made Ed great guy. We knew when he passed we had to honor him that way and make sure that other people remember that he was here” said Bentz.
With the blessing of the Berks County Commissioners, and diligent work of the Berks County Department of Emergency Services, a plaque honoring Chief Squibb was placed at the entrance of the Berks County Fire Training Center.