NASSAU HOOK & LADDER COMPANY #1
Written by: Valley Stream Fire Department
Early in the year of 1898 in an area that would become the Village of Valley Stream, residents witnessed the biggest fire they had everseen. The fire originated in a bakery with tons of coal in the basement. It burned for over a month and brought the realization to the residents that a Fire department was badly needed.
A group of men met and organized the Nassau Hook & Ladder Company on June 10, 1898 and filed with the State of New York for incorporation as a non-profit corporation. In August of 1898 they became know as Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. 1 Inc. and held monthly meetings in an old coal yard building on Rockaway Ave.
Money for the first truck was raised by local subscriptions and purchased from the Canarsie Fire Department (Brooklyn) for $150.00. The truck was hand drawn and equipped with ladders and buckets. The vehicle was later converted to horse drawn. After the conversion, at the sound of the fire alarm, the first farmers, businessmen or other individuals with a horse were paid $2.00 to take the truck to and from the fire.
The “bucket brigade” was the first system for putting out fires in the village. The alarm for notifying the firemen was ringing of the school bell on the Brooklyn Avenue School.
In 1899 the men rented an empty store, formerly a feed store, and it became the “truck room.” A large bell was hung near the railroad to sound the alarms.
Early in 1900, a building site was purchased, and a building 28 feet by 50 feet, 2 stories high, was built. This, the present home of Nassau Hook and Ladder Company #1 on South Corona Avenue, was completed in 1901. The first meeting in the new building was held May 11, 1901.
Funds to build the firehouse and maintain the building were raised by the men and their wives by holding fairs, suppers, and cake sales. A mortgage was taken and shares of script were sold to the members at $5.00 per share.
The first officers were called Foreman and Assistant Foreman until 1923, when they were changed to Captain and Lieutenant (as we know them today).
On February 11, 1911, a proposition was voted on and passed by the members to become part of the newly formed Valley Stream Fire Department. On August 12, 1911 the first wardens were elected to the new Fire Council.
September 8, 1917 saw Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. #1 accept their first motorized truck, A Selden. The fire district furnished necessary supplies to run the apparatus for fires only, and Hook & Ladder Co. #1 housed and heated the new rig.
In 1925, a new American LaFrance City Service truck with a 50 foot ladder was accepted by the company. Affectionately named “Old Betsy,” she served until the growth of the Village and the Fire Department necessitated larger and better equipment.
In August of 1927 an inhalator with mask and tank was purchased and carried on the truck. Eight men of the company were appointed and trained as the first Rescue Squad, with one man in charge.
The village continued to grow and the buildings became taller and larger. December 10, 1940 saw the larger 85 foot Seagrave Aerial Truck commissioned to Hook & Ladder Company #1. This tiller type aerial ladder served until 1959.
In 1959 a new 100 foot Seagrave tiller aerial ladder was placed into service. She served faithfully until 1974.
In 1974, after much research, Nassau Hook and Ladder Co. #1 received a Mack 75 foot tower ladder. This apparatus only required a single driver which was much more versatile. The new truck put Valley Stream at the cutting edge in fire protection for its residents.
Today the building houses our latest truck, a 2002 75 foot Spartan/Aerialscope Tower Ladder.
With each new piece of apparatus, the same firehouse has stood and served proudly. With some alterations, the same building on South Corona Avenue has been used as a firehouse since 1901.
Over one hundred years of service has not diminished the human pride at Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. #1. Many Chiefs, Officers, and Firefighters have passed through our hallowed halls. Presently we have 30 active members on our rolls, including four Ex-Chiefs and one current Chief, many father & son teams, numerous third and fourth generation firefighters, and many first time firefighters. The Valley Stream Fire Department has had five of its members make the Supreme Sacrifice, two of whom were
from Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. #1.
We, the members of Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. #1, dedicate ourselves to unselfishly serving the community of Valley Stream for the next
HISTORY OF ENGINE COMPANY #3
Written by: Valley Stream Fire Department
During the 1920's, the Gibson Corporation was developing the south western area of Valley Stream with the construction of one-family homes. By the end of 1928, they had built over 800 new homes. With no fire protection in the immediate area, it became evident that a fire company was a much needed entity. At the suggestion of the residents and the prodding of the Fire Insurance Underwriters, the Board of Fire Commissioners decided to form a volunteer fire company in the Gibson area. To facilitate the organization of this new fire company, Emil Reising a member of Engine Co. No. 1 and Archibald Seaman a member of Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 were assigned to the task of recruiting men in the Gibson area to join this new fire company. Offering the volunteers nothing but the opportunity to help their fellowman, the drive was met with great enthusiasm, and by May 1929, over 50 volunteers had signed up.
While members were being recruited and trained, a new firehouse was being built on Cochran Place and Birch Lane. On July 2, 1929, the firehouse was dedicated and Engine Company #3 became an official fire-fighting unit of the Valley Stream Fire Department. The roster consisted of six officers and 52 men, plus an honorary member (John "Pop" Kane). Emil Raising was the first Captain and Archibald Seaman the first Lieutenant.
The company's first three pieces of apparatus were American LaFrance (1929, 1938, and 1942). In 1946, 1956, 1968 and 1988, the company utilized Mack fire apparatus. Most recently the company placed into service a 2009 Pierce. The 1969 Mack was one of the last open-cab apparatus manufactured by Mack Corporation and is still the property of the Valley Stream Fire Department. It served as a caisson for numerous FDNY firefighter funerals and memorial services immediately after the September 11th tragedy , taking two of them to their final resting place. It served as the Memorial Caisson for Lieutenant Peter Martin, a former member of Engine 343 and a Lieutenant in Rescue 2 of the FDNY killed that fateful day.
On December 6, 1969, a fire engulfed the Cochran Place firehouse. While the building was destroyed, including most of the memorabilia, no-one was seriously inured and the 1959 and 1969 Mack trucks were saved. The company was quartered at the Brooklyn Avenue firehouse while a temporary structure was constructed in the rear yard of the Cochran Place firehouse. In April of 1970, Engine 3 members moved into their temporary home. By July of 1971, a new building was dedicated and Engine Co. No. 3 officially moved into its new beautiful home and some 30 years later, our building and grounds are a proud part of our heritage.
Today, our company has two living ex-chiefs, Charles Parker, 1983, and Frank Dell'Anno, 1987. The company also has seven Honorary Chiefs, Walter Weltner, Richard Lehmann, Thomas Danza, Raymond Martini, Mort Jacobs, Greg Filippi, and George Fulkerson. We also have as a member the most senior female firefighter in the Department, Deborah Bove (daughter of member Richard Stacy) who has served our Company for 25 years.
Engine Company #3 has been blessed over its 80 years of existence with hundreds of dedicated firefighters, always willing to answer the alarm whether they were alerted from an air horn on the roof or a pager on their belt. Whether is was in the middle of the day or the darkest time of night, during a family meal or a family crisis they continue to risk their lives for the residents and business owners of our wonderful community We ask God’s blessing on each and everyone of them as they continue their fight against the ravages of fire.