Written by: Robert Post
1909–Theodore Martine, Townsend Ackley and Isaac Cornwell sat together and discussed creating a fire department. At this period, the town was called Norwood, made up of mostly farms, barns and farm houses. You get the picture. Sometime later a general meeting followed with 17 men in attendance.
April 5, 1911- A group of 32 men constituted the first Norwood Hook & Ladder Company Meeting. Two committees were formed, one to investigate cost of equipment and the second to decide what area they would cover. Dances and fundraisers were organized to purchase a hook & ladder apparatus at the cost of $257. The company paid $5 to the first farmer who brought a team of horses to pull the hook and ladder to the fire, otherwise it was pulled by the firemen themselves.
The Bell - Originally, the town fire alarm was a metal wagon wheel rim suspended outside of the barn of Isaac Cornwell on the corner of Cornwell and Franklin Avenues. Sometime later a bell was put on top of a tree trunk on Wicks Farm. That bell resides outside of the Historical House on Ocean Ave. ( I love to ring it for guests).
1914- The first building was constructed on the site of the current fire house on Broadway.
1919- The first motorized fire truck was purchased.
1920- The Amsterdam Development and Sales company came and started a building boom with a couple of farms being sold. Roads and homes were being planned for the small community thanks to the addition of the railroad, which would allow residents to commute to Valley Stream and further.
1921- Malverne was created and incorporated.
1922- The name Malverne was added to the fire department logo. That year also saw the first chief and assistant chief. Before chiefs there was only a forman of the company.
1923-Though the village bought a model T Ford pumper for the fire department, it was not until 1923 that they had their first contract with village. This year they also bought two storefronts with walk ups and added doors for hook & Ladder. So as Malverne grew so did the fire department.
1928- Two trucks were purchased by the Village of Malverne and the Malverne Fire Department name was gold leafed on the side of the trucks. With the addition of the trucks also brought a modification to the building to accommodate them.
1936 -By this year the village started paying the fire department. A meeting was held on July 6, 1936, when a volunteer and exempt fireman’s benevolent association of Malverne was formed.
1939- The village bought the building and property from the fire department for $2,000.
1940 -Members of the fire department called Chipmunks started competing in tournaments. There are great movies showing some of these tournaments. The fire department continued to grow so this year they also tore down the old fire department building and erected a new building.
1950's - With the rapid growth of Malverne after WWII, the company saw two new pumps purchased and the addition of two-way radios installed in all trucks. The drill team (Chipmunks) competed in tournaments with speed racing, resulting in injuries, turned to old fashioned events setting the pace with their wins. Then, in 1958 the company saw the installation of electric door openers to the fire house.
1963- New lights and furniture spruced up the old building.
1966- A third pumper and a new alert system for all active members of the department was added.
1973- The first yellow fire truck dubbed “Yellow Bird” debuted.
1976- With the expansion of seven schools, seven houses of worship,Franklin General Hospital and the growing business community, the taxpayers voted to expand the firehouse to include a two story two bay expansion.
1983- The latest and finest state of the art rescue truck was added in time for the 75th anniversary in
Presently the Malverne Fire Department- Norwood Hook & Ladder has grown to be a dedicated, well trained and efficient company. We have come from steel wagons, bells and apparatus pulled by horses or men to a wireless alert system and state of the art equipment.
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